Do you ever have those moments when the Lord leads you to a Scripture (one you’ve read several times before) to reveal something in your heart and it’s not what you expected? This happened to me awhile ago as I was searching for a Bible passage to encourage me before I started my day.
Reading in Romans, along with a devotional by John Piper, I found encouragement. But not the feel-good kind. More of the “This is you and it’s not pretty” kind. It was humbling, to say the least, but I’m going to share it with you because I know it’s something we all struggle with.
I often have a secular mindset.
What I mean by this is that my sinful nature causes my mind to gravitate toward the false belief that life revolves around the basic rights, needs and expectations of mankind. It means that I naturally assume that everything is (and should be) about me. Basically, I have a self-centered mindset. And so do you!
This is the mindset we are all born with and what the apostle Paul calls it “the mind that is set on the flesh” (Romans 8:6-7). Because we were born with this sinful nature, we often don’t even realize that we have the secular mindset of self-centeredness until it collides with a godly mindset. This is the mindset we are confronted with when we read the Bible.
A biblical mindset is radically different in that it begins with and is centered on God. I really like how John Piper described it in his article, Did Christ Die for Us or for God?
“The biblical mindset is not simply one that includes God somewhere in the universe and says that the Bible is true. The biblical mindset begins with a radically different starting point; namely, God. God is the basic given reality in the universe. He was there before we were in existence — or before anything was in existence. He is simply the most absolute reality.
“And so the biblical mindset starts with the assumption that God is the center of reality. All thinking starts with the assumption that God has basic rights as the Creator of all things. He has goals that fit with his nature and perfect character. Then the biblical mindset moves out from this center and interprets the world, with God and his rights and goals as the measure of all things.”
Looking through God-centered lenses will change the way we see everything, even the message of the gospel. We begin to realize that Christ’s work on the cross was not merely to save us, but–most importantly–to vindicate the glory of God and His righteousness. We start to view sin for what it really is: failing to love God and His glory more than anything else. We begin to comprehend our own wretchedness. As this happens, we slowly trade our self-centered mindset for a God-centered mindset. As Christians living in a selfie-loving world, we are called to something higher.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2
The beautiful thing is, as our mind becomes transformed, we begin to live in awe of the grace the Lord shows us through His gift of salvation and are then motivated to live for His glory.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” -Hebrews 12:1-3 (my emphasis)
When we allow a biblical mindset to take over our secular mindset, we find joy in the exaltation of God instead of ourselves. This is my hope and prayer for each one of us. May we turn away from our self-centered mindset, fix our eyes on Christ and focus our hearts on the Creator. He alone deserves all honor, praise and glory.