The Lord began through a work of the heart; He uttered Grace, and stirred my soul to Him. But the expansive part of Christianity, is the item of Sanctification. This is how we separate ourselves: living in a manner worthy of God’s work of salvation.
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ
How is this done? How does the Christian commit his change of heart into a change of lifestyle? The Lord instructs us in this way:
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
God’s Word capitalizes our pursuit of a righteous lifestyle with a focused and renewed mind. It is very possible to have a changed heart and not a changed mind, and this may very well be the issue of the church today. We as the body of Christ love to put our hearts in check, but how many times do we analyze our minds? I am not attempting to belittle, in any way, the importance of a repentant heart, but what I am seeking to enforce is the utilization of a renewed mind.
Now what does a ‘renewal of your mind’ entail? I believe it dwindles down to the areas of our meditation. As Philippians 4 states, what are we focusing and meditating on? Are we simply analyzing our own depraved selfish desires, or are we dwelling in the areas of God, being eternity-minded? The human mind responds to habitual practice. The way to discipline our mind into nourishing itself with wholesome and righteous thought is to meditate on such things night and day. Taking a step back, do we think more of the most relevant sports game, cultural event, or societal issue over the things of God? This could conclude a scary answer. We must feed and discipline our mind with Godly nourishment if we wish to produce ripe fruits of righteousness.
For some, this may seem legalistic. It may even seem like a ‘works-based’ soteriology. This is not the case; if anything, it could seem like a ‘works-based’ sanctification. This also is not the case. In any pursuit of righteousness, we must come to grips that we are not the answer. Humanity is not going to conjure up a cure to its depravity. The answer is found in the text of Philippians 2 and Isaiah 26:
…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.
Our “good works” are worked by our own Father and Lord. We can not attribute them to ourselves anymore than we can our salvation. Nothing in this world is of us. We breathe nothing into being without the hands of God present. And in this we can have peace that God works all things for His good pleasure, and the pleasure of His saints.