In this message, we learn that changing the way we think can drastically change the way we live.
Hey everybody, good morning. Hey, before we jump in I want to talk to the men real quick. Guys, I want to invite you to come hang out Friday night, both campuses. We’ve got a men’s gathering and basically here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to feed you. We’re going to hang out together. We’re going to worship. And then I’ve got a message, something in my heart, that I want to speak over you, unique impartation. And so it’s going to be a great time. If you’re here and you’re a guy and you’re looking to get connected with some other guys, or you’re connected, bring the guys you’re connected with. We want to create more space around here for us to be able to gather with one another and have unique impartation spoken over our lives. Ladies, we’ve got one coming up for you in October. But guys, this Friday night come and hang out with us. I think you will get connected and I think God has something special that He wants to speak over you.
So if you’re a guy, give me a big “Urgh.” Oh man! Saturday smoked you guys. Do you want to try that again or you just want to leave it where it lies? Let’s try it again. Give me a “Urgh.” Yeah, that’s like football season this year. Okay [Laughs]. If you’ve got your Bibles, Exodus 15 and Romans Chapter 12. We’re in a series called “Take Heart.” Strengthen yourself in the Lord. And we’re talking about, how do we find strength in this life? How do we deal with different situations or circumstances? And we’ve been looking at 1st Samuel Chapter 30 and looking at the life of David, which was probably one of the worst days in David’s entire life in 1st Samuel Chapter 30. And in that moment when life is falling apart, he has a choice to make. Is he going to strengthen himself in the Lord or weaken himself in his circumstances? And I love what it says. “David strengthened himself in the Lord.” You see, to take heart or to find strength in the Lord is a choice you have to make.
No one can make it for you. No one can force you to get there. Victory is something Jesus has provided for you, but you by faith have to reach out and take a hold of it. And what we’re talking about is not like a one-time event. This is a lifestyle. This is not crisis management. This is what it looks like to follow after Jesus. And so we’re kind of in this part of the series where we’re talking the ‘how’. Like, how do we actually strengthen ourselves in the Lord? So here in Exodus 15, let me set it up for you. After 400 years of slavery God has showed up and He is bringing the Israelites out of 400 years of Egyptian slavery. He raises Moses up, brings the 10 plagues, parts the Red Sea. He is leading the people to the promised land, and they’ve been in the desert for all of three days. God three days ago set them free from 400 years of Egyptian slavery. Okay? Pick it with me in Verse 22. “Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went to the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding any water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” Then Moses cried out to the Lord.”
They’ve been in the desert for all of three days. They’re thirsty, they’re weary, and they’re tired. Some of you are here today and you’re thirsty, you’re weary, and you’re tired and you feel like you’re in a desert. And God brings them to this place called Marah. The only problem with Marah was the water was bitter, so they couldn’t drink it. And in that moment that water was a reflection of what was inside their heart. Remember, we said a few weeks ago that circumstances don’t create what’s inside of us? They just reveal what’s already there? It was in this moment God was giving them a mirror to show them what was inside of their hearts. You see, I love the juxtaposition here. It says, “The people grumbled against Moses, but Moses cried out to the Lord.” Weakness is always self-focused. Strength is always Jesus focused. The more you focus on yourself or your circumstances, the weaker you’ll become. The more you focus on Jesus, the stronger you’ll become.
And while Moses was strengthening himself in the Lord, the people were weakening themselves in their circumstances. You see, whatever you look at grows. You stare at your circumstances, you stare at yourself, the problem becomes bigger and bigger. You stare at Jesus, he becomes bigger and bigger. And the paradox to me of this whole thing is you catch this, right? Like, three days ago, only three days ago [Laughs], God set them free from 400 years of slavery. You think that would carry over like for three days at least, right?
I mean, 400 years of slavery! God shows up. He raises up Moses. If that’s not enough, God brings the 10 plagues to show the people his power. [Laughs] If that’s not enough, he parts the Red Sea. They cross on dry ground. If that’s not enough, the Egyptians follow them in and God brings the water over and completely vanquishes and defeats their enemies. If that’s not enough for three days, there’s been a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day that’s been leading them. In fact, right now as they’re grumbling there is a pillar of cloud floating above their heads [Laughs].
I mean, seriously, really at that point they were going to grumble with a pillar of cloud right here! [Laughs] And I read that story and I think, “Boy, that sure sounds a lot like us”, doesn’t it? It goes on. Verse 25 – “Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.” Moses cries out to God. God shows Moses a piece of wood. He picks it up, throws it into the water, and the bitter water becomes sweet. What does the piece of wood represent? Come on, what does the piece of wood represent? We’re learning to look at the Old Testament with prophetic eyes because Jesus is all over the Old Testament. It represents the cross of Jesus. Moses cries out to the Lord. He shows him a piece of wood, representing the cross of Jesus. He throws it into the water. The bitter water becomes sweet. Why? Because Jesus makes bitter things sweet. Jesus always makes bitter things sweet.
He will make the bitterness of your failure, the sweetness of his victory. He makes your bitter sin, the sweetness of his righteousness. He turns your mourning into dancing. He turns your weakness into his strength. Whenever you cry out to God, He will always show you the cross because it’s at the cross where bitter things become sweet. Remember, it’s at the cross where Jesus got what you deserved, so you could get what he deserved. It was where he became sin on your behalf, where you were set free; where the wrath of God was satisfied and the love of God was poured out. It’s at the cross where we take heart and find strength in the Lord. And the moment you lose your wonder of salvation you will always be overwhelmed by the circumstances of this life. The moment you lose wonder of your salvation you will be overwhelmed by the circumstances in this life. That’s the Israelites. I mean, three days ago [Laughs] God set them free from 400 years of slavery – just like you and I getting saved in Jesus. And they’ve already lost the wonder of that salvation. That’s why they’re overwhelmed with their circumstances.
And if your read the rest of the story of the Israelites, they were overwhelmed and weak at all times with every situation that came into their life, because they lost the wonder of salvation. In fact, I could say it to you like this. If you’re underwhelmed with the cross, you will always be overwhelmed with life. If you’re underwhelmed with the cross of Jesus Christ, I promise you, you will always be overwhelmed with this life. I mean, think about it. It was at the cross he resurrected your life. Don’t you think he can resurrect that circumstance? Romans 8:32 – “He who did not spare his own Son, will he not then, in him, give us all things?” It was at the Cross, that’s why He will show you the cross where He gave you Jesus, his best gift. And if He gave you that, will He not then take care of everything else? I mean, we’ve been talking a lot about David in this series, looking at how David strengthened himself in the Lord. But David later on his life, he kind of forgets this principle and he kind of messes up pretty big. He weakens himself. Remember the story of David and Bathsheba? He takes another man’s wife, sleeps with her. She gets pregnant. He has him killed. It goes from bad to worse.
And as David is confronted with his sin, it’s exposed and he is processing it out with the Lord. In Psalm 51:12, talking about that incident, David says “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” In other words, David acknowledges he lost the wonder of salvation. So he became overwhelmed with the circumstances in this life. God will always show you the cross, because it’s at the cross your bitter things become sweet. And what’s amazing to me in the story with the Israelites is they’ve been set free, but they’re still thinking like slaves. They’re free. Their identity has changed, but they’re still thinking like slaves. And their mind is full of bondage and defeat and despair. The slave thinking has stayed with them from Egypt. Their identity has changed, but their thinking hasn’t changed. And so they need a new way of thinking for a new way of living. Their thinking now needs to match their new identity, and the same is true with you and I.
If we’re ever going to strengthen ourselves in the Lord, we need to renew our mind. We need a new way of thinking for a new way of living. We need our thinking to now match our identity, because in Jesus you have been set free and yet way too many of us still think with a slave mentality. And how do we do it? He will show you the cross where bitter things become sweet. Now, flip over with me to Romans Chapter 12. Are you with me so far?
Romans Chapter 12 – let me show you in the New Testament how Paul says it. Romans Chapter 12 Verse 1 – “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy,” – okay, pause. Therefore – in other words, Paul says everything I’ve said up till this point, 11 chapters. What has he been saying for 11 chapters? For 11 chapters he has talked about who Jesus is, what Jesus did, and what that now means for you. In other words, for 11 chapters he has talked about the cross. He says, “I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy.” In other words Paul says, “Look to the cross where bitter thoughts become sweet.”
“To offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” Okay, pause. He says, “Don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world.” In other words, don’t let the world mould you and imprint you and shape you. Don’t let the world determine the way you think. In fact, if you think about the world for a moment, when a circumstance or a hard situation comes into their life, how do they respond? How do they start thinking? They’re full of stress and anxiety and fear and worry and doubt and rebellion. The world thinks they’re self-made, they’re self-reliant, self-dependent; that they’ve got to make it happen. Paul says, “Don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world. Don’t think the way that the world thinks any longer.” The only problem with that is, if you’ve lived in this world for even one day some of your thinking has been conformed to the pattern of this world. Right? Unless you’re an alien and you just kind of dropped into service today – look at the person next to you; I’m not so sure sometimes. Right?
The only question is this. How much of your thinking has been conformed to the pattern of this world? He goes on to say, “But be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.” He says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” You see, we change by changing our thinking. You don’t change by trying harder, becoming more religious, doing this or that. You change by changing your thinking. Be transformed by the renewing of your minds. In fact, that word ‘renew’ in the original language, it literally means ‘to renovate’ or remodel. What Paul is saying is, “You need to renovate and remodel your entire thinking process. You need an upgrade. You need an overhaul on how you process this life.” In fact, I was thinking about this. I remember back to when I was in college and the Internet was just starting to become like big for everybody. And do you remember the days when you had to like shut down everything in your house and plug in to the phone line and to sign up?
It was like, “Beep, bop, shhh, crrr.” Do you remember that? Come on. I just lost all the students. They’re like, “No! What is this.” “Why are you making noises man? What is that?” You remember that, right? And now you could pull out your phone right now, press a button, and you’re instantly connected to everything around you. And if you were hanging out with somebody and you were at their house and they’re like, “Yeah, let’s go online.” And it “beep, bop, shhh, crr,” you’d be like, “Bro! Man, let me bring you up to speed.” And you pull out your phone and you’re like, “In fact, you can have this thing man. [Laughs] There is a better way of doing this.” There is a whole lot more available to you. That’s like the thinking of this world versus the thinking of the Kingdom of God. We need an upgrade process. Just don’t go back to what was. There’s a way better way of doing this. You say, “What does that mean?” It means to start thinking in alignment with what God has said instead of what the world has said. That we’re transformed by the renewing of your mind. That word ‘transformed’ is the same word that’s used when Jesus is transfigured. It’s the same word for transfigured. Do you remember that?
Jesus, Peter, James and John go up on a mountain. God lifts him up and says, “Jesus was transfigured.” In other words, He absorbed the glory of heaven and the glory of heaven radiated and reflected out of him. So when he says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”, what he’s saying is you need to absorb the wisdom of heaven into your mind that irradiates and reflects out from you. You see, the will of God is not like a hieroglyphic puzzle that we need to decode. It just means start agreeing with God. See what He sees. Believe what He says. Receive what He gives. The Israelites allowed their physical eyes to determine their spiritual minds instead of allowing their spiritual minds to determine what their physical eyes saw. That’s what’s happening in this story. He says, “Don’t be conformed to the pattern of this world. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to prove the will of God to the world around you.” In other words, a renewed mind releases the will of God to the world around it.
And I love that he says that it’s our job to prove the will of God. It’s your job to prove the will of God to the world around you, to put it on display, to represent it. So heaven would come to earth through your thinking in your life, so the world would know how good the will of God really is. Paul says, “You’re a different person. You need to now start thinking differently.” But you and I, we know that because we live in this world and live in this life our minds, our thinking has been programmed by life. Right? Your thinking has been programmed by this life. In fact, maybe the best example I can give you is, every day when you wake up and you either go to work or school or you take your kids to school you don’t even think about it; you just get in your car and there is a loop or a track that you take every single day. Would you agree with that? I mean, you don’t even think about it, right? You just get in your car. You start it. You’ve got the radio blasting. You’re texting – which, don’t text and drive, man. Bad idea. But you’re driving down and you don’t even think about it. Nine out of ten times unless something is happening, there is a loop, a track, a route that you will always take. Subconsciously you just do it. Same is true with our thinking.
When things happen in this life there is a loop, a track, a path that your brain naturally takes to process information. And unfortunately, it has been conformed by the pattern of this world. Like, when something happens – a relationship falls apart, you lose your job, you have a health crisis – we all have a loop in our minds that we instantly jump on and start to take. We don’t even think about it. We don’t even choose it. We just get on it and start taking it, because it’s been conformed in our minds. And it looks different for different ones of us. Like some of us, we have the condemnation loop. Something happens, we get on the condemnation loop and our thought process starts going, “See, it’s my fault again. It’s always me. I mean, I always mess up. I’m no good.” And these thoughts of shame start welling up. Some of us, we take the fear loop. If something happens, we just instantly have fear thoughts. “What about this? What if this happens? And what if they do that? I don’t know about this. What if we lose everything? What if we don’t have money for this?’ And the fear loop starts happening.
Some of us has the rejection loop. Something happens and it’s like, “See, nobody wants me. They didn’t ask me again. They left me out. Nobody invited me to homecoming or whatever it is.” We just get in this rejection loop. Some of us, it’s the judgment loop, right? Something happens and we start criticizing. “I can’t believe they did that. Can you believe they acted like that?” And you start criticizing and condemning everybody. There’s these loops that we take that have been programmed into our minds by this life. And we don’t even choose it. We just get on it and it starts going, and it’s a spiral down. Like, I’ve told you before that my loop is – I believe that nobody wants me for me. They want me for what I can do for them. So when things happen in my life, that’s the loop that I unintentionally get on because I’ve been conformed to the pattern of this world somewhere in my thinking and I start going on that loop. The question is, what’s your loop? What’s the programmed way of thinking that you can’t seem to get out of? Where do you feel like the hamster in a wheel? And at the end of all that thinking you always regret that you thought that way, and it brings you down and you hate it.
Do you have the loop of defeat or despair, anxiety, depression, religion? I mean, what is the loop that you get on? Often those loops are created out of self protection. But we’re conformed to the pattern of this world. You think about like this. It’s like a computer, right? Computer has a program and a code, and the computer will always run the program. That’s all it can do; it is run the program. And if you wanted to do something different, you’ve got to deprogram it before you can reprogram it to do something else. That’s why when you sit at your computer and you’re like, “Why won’t it do this?”
You know what I’m talking about? Oh, come on! Don’t act like you’ve got your computer all figured out [Laughs]. Like, “I just wanted to open this file. Why won’t it do that? I just want to delete this thing or move this thing. I mean, I just moved this here. This is not that big [Laughs].” I mean, I get angry sometimes with technology.
I actually prefer, “Beep, bop, shhh, crrr.” It seemed to work a little better back then. But you can get mad all day long, but it can’t do it. Why? Because it’s been programmed to do something else.
Same is true with your mind. Your mind has been programmed by the pattern of this world. And until you deprogram it and reprogram it with something else it will run that same loop over and over and over and over and over and over again for the rest of your life. You need a new loop written by the Holy Spirit of the Living God in agreement with what God has said instead of in agreement with what this world is saying. You need to break that old loop and start a new track going in a different direction. 2nd Corinthians 10:5 says, “So we bring captive every thought to the obedience of Christ.” In other words, we want to bring our thoughts in alignment with what Jesus has already done. It doesn’t mean like, “Oh, shame on you. You had a bad thought.” No, no. It means, bring your thoughts into alignment with what Jesus has already done. The obedience of Christ – how Christ obeyed; what he did for us, on our behalf. So my question for you today is, whatever is happening in your life, are your thoughts in alignment with what Jesus has already done?
The Israelites in our story, their thoughts were not. [Laughs] God set them free from 400 years of slavery and they’re freaking out over getting a drink. Like, really? God is not going to give you a drink? He just Pharaoh and the Egyptians, the most powerful people in the world, and he’s not going to give you a drink? Really? Out of alignment with what God has already done. Think how much defeat you live in, in your own life, because your thoughts are on this loop that’s out of alignment with what Jesus has already done. And you know what’s crazy? It’s you get on your loop that’s conformed to the pattern of this world, and the people you love in this life, they have a loop that’s conformed to the pattern of this world. And when those two loops come together, “Poof!” [Laughs] Right, Carol?
It’s not that you’re not trying in the relationship. It’s not that you don’t want it to work. It’s that you both have conformed patterns to this world, a thinking to the pattern of this world.
And those loops come together and it’s like a train wreck. You crash, you implode, because you’re both thinking out of alignment with the kingdom of God. And it brings chaos and destruction in our relationships. Romans 5:19 – let me explain it to you like this. It says, “Through the disobedience of one man many were made sinners.” So through the disobedience of one man, Adam, many were made sinners. An identity statement. “But through the obedience of one man, Jesus, many were made righteous.” Okay? “Through the disobedience of one man, Adam, many were made sinners.” So we all start in this prison of sin. That’s out identity. It’s who we are. We didn’t choose it. It chose us because of what Adam did. It’s not because you sin that you’re a sinner. It’s because you are a sinner that you sin. Does that make sense? It’s not because you sin that you’re a sinner. It’s because you are a sinner that you sin in your former way of life. I mean, it’s a prison. It’s all you can do. It’s all you know.
And by ourselves there’s no way out of this, but “through the obedience of one man, Jesus, many were made righteous.” Because of what Jesus did on our behalf, he became sinned that we could become his righteousness. And we’ve now been brought over here and we have a new identity, and we’re in this prison of righteousness. There’s nothing a sinner can do to become righteous, and nothing a righteous person can do to become a sinner. It’s through faith in Jesus that we come over here, and this is now our new identity following him. Our problem is our identity has changed but our thinking has not. Our identity has changed, but we still think over here. Why? Because this is what we grew up with. This is all we know. We’ve been conformed to the pattern of this world. We believe that we’re a sinner in some way, shape or form. So we still think over here even though that’s who we knew we are, just like the Israelites. And the reality is, if you’re here and you still believe you’re a sinner – you think like a sinner; you think you are a sinner – then you will always sin by faith.
You will sin by faith, because that’s who you believe you are. But if you now believe that I’m the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, then you will live righteously by faith. If you believe you’re defeated, then by faith you will always live in defeat. But if you believe you’re victorious, then by faith you will walk out your life in a victorious way. See, our thinking has to match our identity. It has to catch up to who we now are. This is why I spent so much time trying to help you understand your identity, because when you know who you are by faith you will just live that way. Some of us, we’re still sitting here and I can even sense, because we’re just messing this up. We’re like, “Wait a second. I’ve been told my whole life that I’m a sinner. Now I just kind of need to hang my head and just barely make it. If I can just – okay, thank you Jesus. That’s enough for today.” Biblically speaking, if you’re a follower of Jesus, you can’t even call yourself a sinner anymore. To do that would be to dishonor the cross. Because what has more power? Adam’s failure or Jesus’ victory?
Then why do we live over here and, by faith, believe we’re sinners so then we sin by faith? “I’m just saved by grace, man. Just a sinner, making it through life.” No, you’re not. Come on! Come on, I’ve been trying so hard this year to get you to get this [Laughs]. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, and when you believe that by faith you will live righteously. Who you are determines what you do. A better way of saving it is, who you believe you are determines what you do. That’s why Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Whoever you believe you are, by faith you will live that way. You believe you’re victorious? You will, by faith, walk in victory. You believe you’re defeated? By faith, you will walk in defeat. In fact, let me ask you this. What was the main message that Jesus came to preach? Did you ever think about it? If you had to sum up one big idea, what was the message that Jesus came to preach? One message – Matthew 4:17 – “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This is Jesus’ main message.
Now we hear that though being conformed to the pattern of this world. So we hear the word ‘repent’ and we bring all our church baggage into it. We think it means “feel really bad” and “woe is me” and “come to the altar call”, and “try harder and do better.” And then we think, “kingdom of heaven is at hand” – well, we think Jesus came to say, “Feel really bad. You’re lucky I showed up.”
“And God now has a good plan for your life.” Or, “Here’s a ticket to heaven.” Or, “You can become a good person.” That’s not what it means. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repent – that word literally means in the original language ‘to change your mindset’. That’s what repent means. Change your thinking. Change your mindset. So Jesus shows up and he says, “Repent. Hey guys, change your mind. Don’t be conformed to the thinking of this world anymore, because your identity is about to change. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Repent. Change your thinking, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
In other words, a higher reality, a superior kingdom has come where bitter things become sweet. The rule and reign of God has showed up. Heaven has come to this earth. Repent. Change your thinking for the kingdom of God has arrived. Bring your thinking into alignment with who you now are in the kingdom. That was his message. Change your mind. A new reality has come. Israelites, you’ve been set free; start thinking like free people. “Valley Creek Church, you’ve been set free; start thinking like free people”, he says, “in alignment with the kingdom.” See, we allow the experiences of this life to determine what we believe about God instead of allowing who God is to determine what we believe about His life. I mean, you know what I love about David? It’s David thought like a king long before he was a king. He thought like a king years before he was a king. God anointed him and said, “You’re going to be the next king of Israel.” It’s over 10 years before that becomes reality, but he thought like a king.
Long before 1st Samuel 30, he had royal thinking. You’re going to read it in his life. Twice he has the opportunity to kill Saul. Both times he won’t do it. Why? Because he fought with honor. He said, “Far be it for me to raise my hand against the Lord’s anointed.” In other words, it’s a king way of thinking; not a follower’s way of thinking. David was always generous. He’d win plunder and treasure and victories and he’d always give it away to everyone around him. Why? Because that’s a king’s way of thinking, a spirit of generosity. David always expected victory wherever he went. That’s how a king things, not how a subject thinks. David knew that his role was to empower and raise up other people. That’s a king’s way of thinking. David had a kingly mindset even when the circumstances weren’t very kingly. And I think we need a royal mindset change. Jesus says, “You are now part of the kingdom of God as follower of Jesus.” And the king is your Father. You’re part of the royal family.
You need to stop thinking like the kingdom of darkness and start thinking like a royal family even when your circumstances don’t feel very royal. In fact, maybe the best example I can give you is the story of David and Goliath. Remember the story? I love this story. This is one of the ones that we love to teach kids in church, because it’s just like this great story. [Laughs] The Israelites and the Philistines line up for battle, and the Philistines have this guy called Goliath. He is a 9-foot tall giant. And for 40 days Goliath would walk out of front lines and he looked at the Israelites and he would taunt them. He’d say, “Hey, one of you come over here. One on one, let’s fight. Whoever wins, the other nation will serve and become subjects to the winning nation.” For 40 days Goliath, this giant, comes out and taunts the people of God and for 40 days the people of God – it literally says they quake in fear and tremble and hide in their tents every time Goliath arrives. Now, behind the scenes over here David is a shepherd boy. Remember, he’s just a kid. And one day his dad says to David, “David, I need you to take these supplies to your brothers who are in the battle lines on the frontline. Go and serve them. Go and give them some fresh supplies.”
So David says okay and he takes the stuff to come and serve his brothers. Let me press pause right there. The fastest way to your destiny is through serving other people. We think the fastest way to our destiny is to self-promote or get other people to serve us. Fastest way to your destiny in the kingdom of God is to serve other people. David came to serve his brothers, and in serving his brothers he found his destiny. Okay? So he comes and he serves his brothers, takes care of them, and he says, “Guys, what’s going on?” Everybody starts talking about Goliath. “Oh, Goliath. Goliath, Goliath, Goliath.” You read the story. “Goliath, Goliath, Goliath.” That’s all they say, “Goliath. This 9-foot tall giant, Goliath” And David, he’s just kind of sitting there and he listens to all of it. And what’s fascinating to me is when you read the story David never once refers to him as Goliath. He refers to him as an uncircumcised Philistine.
Okay? Just stay with me. Never once does he call him Goliath. He calls him an uncircumcised Philistine. What does that mean? It means David referred to him as a defeated, powerless enemy of God. An uncircumcised Philistine, which means you’re not part of the covenant people. You’re an enemy against my God, which means you’re already defeated and powerless enemy of my God. He refuses to call him Goliath, which means he refuses to come into agreement with him. He refuses to acknowledge him as a giant. He refuses to validate his identity. He refuses to allow his physical eyes to determine what he thinks. Instead he allows what he thinks determine what his physical eyes see. He doesn’t see the way the world sees. He sees what God sees. The Philistines saw Goliath as their victor, as their strong champion, their strength. Saul and the Israelites saw Goliath as an undefeatable giant. David saw him as an uncircumcised Philistine, a defeated, powerless enemy of God. And so David says, “I’ll fight him. Why are you all hiding in your tents for, man? Let’s just go and kill the guy. He’s already defeated.”
“Well, you go then, David.” He says, “Okay, I will.” [Laughs]
And he walks out. Goliath taunts him. David looks at Goliath and he says, “You come at me with a sword and a spear, but I come at you with the Lord, my God. The battle belongs to the Lord.”
And he picks up a little stone – boom – takes down Goliath. You want to slay giants? Stop calling them giants. You want to slay a giant in your life? Stop coming into agreement with him? Stop acknowledging that it’s a giant. Stop empowering it and validating its identity according to the world’s pattern. Don’t let your physical eyes determine what you think. Let what you think with a renewed mind determine what you see. Some of you have got some circumstances that feel like giants in your life. You’ve got this relational problems. It feels like a giant. These things, they just are overwhelming you. [Laughs] Listen; you just need to walk up to it and call it an uncircumcised Philistine.
Don’t ever say that to anyone, ever.
Walk into your boss tomorrow and be like, “Hey, my pastor told me to call you an uncircumcised Philistine.” He did not tell you to do that. He said, “Think it. Don’t say it.” Alright? It’s amazing. He refuses to validate. Jesus says, “All authority on heaven and earth belongs to me.” If Jesus has all authority, that means Satan has none. If Jesus has all authority, your circumstance has none. If Jesus has all authority, your relationship problem has none. If Jesus has all authority, that health thing has none. In fact, if you look at what Jesus did for three years, what was he doing? He was trying to just change the way the disciples thought. So he says, “The kingdom of heaven is like…” “Hey guys, I need to teach you how to think from heaven to earth instead of from earth to heaven.” The last will be first. The least will the greatest. If you want to live, you’ve got to die. He was trying to change the way they thought as they were conformed to the pattern of this world, just like you and I.
The disciples had loops in their minds that they naturally got on. Like John, his loop was the loop of anger. He was known as the Son of Thunder. Some of you are the son or daughter of thunder. Anything that happens in your life, you jump on the loop of anger. That’s your natural response and you hate it that you act that way, but you can’t help it when you’re in the midst of it. In fact, at one time the Samaritans didn’t want Jesus to come into the town. John rises up. He gets on his track of thinking and says, “Jesus, you want us to call fire down from heaven and smoke those guys?” Jesus says, “No, no. John, John – “
“We need a new way of thinking buddy, because I didn’t come to condemn the world but to save the world. It’s time for a fork in the road and the way you think. Instead of going this way, let’s start thinking this way.” “Oh, okay Jesus.” How about Thomas? Thomas’s loop was doubt. He was the skeptic. Anything that happened he questioned it. He didn’t want to believe that it was true. So he says, “I won’t believe that Jesus is resurrected till I put my hand in his sides and touch his hands.”
Now Jesus shows and he says, “Thomas, it’s time to change that loop, because blessed are those who believe even though they don’t see it. The kingdom of heaven is by walking by faith, not by sight. You have to change the way you think.” “Oh, okay Jesus.” How about Peter? We know Peter. Peter thought in a very earthly way. Back when Jesus talked about going to the cross, Peter said to Jesus, “Far be it from me, Lord, I will never allow this happen.” And Jesus looks at him – in Matthew 16:23 – he says, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” In other words, “Peter, your thinking is still conformed to the pattern of this world. You have not absorbed the wisdom of heaven. It is not radiating yet out of your thought process. You are thinking according to the way man thinks, not according to the way that God thinks. And I refuse to come into agreement with that thought pattern, Peter.”
So the question for you is this. Like, where in your life are you thinking according to the way that man thinks as opposed to the way that God thinks? Like, are your thoughts in alignment with what Jesus has already done; finished work of the cross? You see, what we need to strengthen ourselves in the Lord is to renew our minds, to clean out the stains that have been placed there by life; to erase the loops. And the good news is, the loop is written in pencil and it actually is erasable, even though you think, “Man, for 50 years I’ve thought the same way.” I know, but Jesus says you have the mind of Christ and he will transform you by the renewing of your mind. That loop can be erased and you say, “Yeah, but how?” I’ll show you the cross where bitter thoughts become sweet. You say, “That’s it?” Yeah, that’s it. I’ll show you the cross where bitter thoughts become sweet, where you understand that my identity was moved over to here. And now all I need to do is start believing that this is who I really am, and then I will start living and thinking according to who I now am.
And I know some of you are like, “Yeah, but how do I look to the cross? Like, what does that mean?” Well, for those of you super, super practical people, here’s just a simple test. You need to engage the scriptures. So how do I do it? Engage with the scriptures. That book is the manual for a renewed mind. It’s the manual for a new way of thinking. So the computer has to be deprogrammed and then reprogrammed. Our problem is that sometimes we try to deprogram without reprogramming. You’ve got to get rid of the ungodly beliefs, but you’ve got to replace them with godly beliefs. Where is that going to come from? Engaging the scriptures on your own. Then you need to hear the word of God taught over you by faith. That’s why you’re are church, not just like to win points with God. You’ve already got all the points you need with God because of Jesus. You’re here because as the word of God is taught over you by faith, which is what I’m doing right now, faith comes by hearing – hearing by the word of God. Literally, right now as you’re hearing the word of God, and we just did that Goliath story – it’s washing something out of your mind and the opportunity for a new loop to be written.
You’ve got to hear the word of God taught over you by faith. Third thing I would say to you is, you need to change the atmosphere of your life with worship music. You need to fill the atmospheres of your life with worship music. I mean, we need to start listening to the anthems of heaven instead of the anthems of this world. It’s the anthems of this world that probably program our mind to media and music more than anything else. I mean, come on, you really need the anthems of this world talking about booties and money all the time washing over you? I said ‘booties’ in church, I did. It’s okay. Some of you, a song just kicked in your mind and you’re like, “Hey, ah ah!”
Don’t ever dance like this, by the way. Do you want the anthems of heaven washing over your mind or the anthems of this world? I want the anthems of heaven – faith, hope, and love – washing over my mind because Satan uses the media of this world to continue to conform your mind to the pattern of this world. It’s in all that stuff that gets – you’d be shocked if you just stopped and started actually listening to the lyrics of the songs that you sing. And you’re like, “Man, I would never want anyone to say that to me. I would never want to behave that way, and I would never want my kids to think like that.” And yet we sing it without even thinking about it. Why? Because it’s a loop in our brain that just keeps getting reinforced as we sing it. As so if you’re here and you say, “Well, I don’t know worship music. I don’t have it”, as soon as service is over go to the Resource Center right out here. You can have a worship CD for free; our Beyond CD that our guys wrote our songs. Just have it. Just say, “John said we could have it.” Just play it. Play it in your house, in your car where you go, because it will start washing over your mind. The anthems of heaven – it will change something inside of you. And the last thing is this. You’ve got to talk about it with other people. You actually got to engage other people with the loops in your mind. Confess your sins to each other, that you may be healed.
There’s something about just talking to with other people saying, “Here’s the way I think and I know it’s wrong and it takes me down this dark place, and I need freedom.” That’s why God gives us other people. Some of you, you are mortified that I’d like just very easily share it and said, “Hey yeah, one of my loops is I believe that people don’t want me for me. They want me for what I can do for them.” Do you understand how freeing it is for me to just declare it? Because what I do is I bring it out of the darkness into the light, and it loses power over my life.
You should never be afraid or ashamed to share the things you struggle with, because Satan wins when you keep it in the dark. The moment it comes into the light, power just – shoop – it just evaporates from the thing. And the loop starts changing. You need people in your life that love you to say, “Bro, I think you’re thinking a loop that’s going in the wrong direction. I want to challenge your thought process, because this is who God is and this is what the kingdom of heaven is like. Let’s change that thinking and start going this way.” You’ve got to renew your mind. See, we want strength in ourselves in the Lord to be crisis management. “I have a bad day. What do I do right now for this 30 seconds for everything to change?” That’s not how it works.
It’s a process. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Change your thinking because the rule and reign of God has just showed up in your life. Bring your thinking into alignment with who now Jesus says you are. Don’t let what you see in this life determine what you think. Let your renewed mind thinking determine what your eyes see. Okay? So you close your eyes with me. And let me just ask you; what’s the Holy Spirit saying to you? What’s he whispering in this moment?
My thought would be there’s probably a lot of us where he is showing us a loop that is conformed to the pattern of this world. A thinking process that just takes over and leads us into dark places or in the defeat. I think the Holy Spirit is inviting you to change the track. He is inviting you to write a new loop that’s in alignment with the finished work of Jesus. I think the Lord is really working on us in our church in this season of our journey together, but He is really trying to help us understand our identity, because if you are sitting here right now and you still would label yourself a sinner as a follower of Jesus then you will just continue to sin by faith.
Remember, all we have to do is believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved. Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. Believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and your identity changes. You leave the prison of sin and you come to a prison of righteousness that you can never get out of, no matter how hard you try. You are now righteous in Christ Jesus. In fact, if you keep labeling yourself as sinner, it’s dishonoring to the finished work of Jesus. And so right now what we need to do is say, “I’m going to bring my thinking in alignment with who I now am.” Be transformed by the renewing of your minds. Maybe in your own way right now you can just invite the Holy Spirit to have your mind absorb the wisdom of heaven, that it would radiate out and reflect out from who you are, that you would then start thinking in alignment with who He is and what He has done.
Holy Spirit, come, erase our old loops and give us new loops, and show us who you are. And by faith, lead us into the kingdom of heaven. Thank you Lord, that you renew our minds, that we have the mind of Christ, the Bible says. May that be activated in our thinking today. In fact, Holy Spirit, I just pray that you would activate the mind of Christ in every person in this room, that we would start thinking the way that Jesus thinks according to the kingdom of heaven instead of the kingdom of this world. Thank you, Lord, for who you are and what you’re doing in this place. We worship you today as we take heart and strengthen ourselves in you, where bitter things become sweet.