[This is a guest post by Bob Mundorff, who is on staff at my church.]
A lot of great points were brought up in the comments of Mark’s blog post a few weeks ago about being “prone to wander”. It seemed that some folks were uncomfortable with Mark’s criticisms.
Understandably so. You can’t argue with the fact that we “feel” prone to wander, as the song says. That is so true. I “feel it” too! And that is the very reason I need to hear and consider what Mark was pointing out last week. See, I have this tendency to elevate my feelings and
experiences as a higher authority than God’s word. “I feel it” – yes, but that doesn’t make it true!
We’re often like a disoriented GPS. Our minds get disoriented from the truth of God’s word with our feelings and experiences. We need to recalibrate our minds, and the best method of doing so is not by singing or telling ourselves what we feel or have experienced, but by singing or preaching to ourselves the truths contained in God’s word and the power of the Gospel.
That’s what Paul meant when he said that you are “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true
righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24). Being renewed in the spirit of our minds means realizing who we have become because of our union with Christ. We realize who we have become and then we be who we have become! If we keep telling ourselves that we’re
prone to wander, we can actually hinder what God is calling us to in this verse and many others.
So when he says in Romans 6:11, “you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus”, it doesn’t mean, “pretend” that you’re dead to sin and alive to God”. It doesn’t even mean, “just keep telling yourself” this. It’s more than the power of positive thinking
or mind over matter. God wants us to renew the way we think about ourselves and our new relationship to sin. The truth of this new thinking is grounded in the concrete reality of who we are in Christ because of the Gospel! For the Christian, the power of sin has been ‘brought to nothing’, not just ‘reduced dramatically’.
The Christian is a new creation. The old man who was enslaved to sin is dead! (2 Cor. 5:17; Romans 6). The implications of the Gospel are so much more than just a future declaration freeing us from the penalty of sin. They reach down into our present day life and deliver us now
from the desires of the flesh (Gal. 1:4, 5:16-17). Does this mean we will no longer sin after conversion? No. But for me, it’s a matter of emphasis.
Am I going to emphasize the power of sin in my life? When I do that, I shrink the Gospel’s power down, making sin’s power unbiblically big. When I do that, it’s easy to live a defeated life. That kills my faith! Rather, I am constantly trying to renew my thinking by emphasizing the power of the Gospel for righteousness and holiness! When you feel “prone to wander”, join me in fighting the good fight of faith with the truth of God’s word.
I’m tired of struggling the miserable struggle of unbelief. Aren’t you?