I’ve talked a lot here about the mind and the importance of right thinking and right believing. If we don’t line these up with what God says in His Word, everything will be out of whack.
This is certainly emphasized in the Bible. In several places Paul talks about the mind and our thought lives regarding living the Christian life. In Romans 12:2, he urges us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and he reminds the Corinthians that “we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 GNT). To the Philippians he sends the advice to think only on things that are good and worthy of praise, things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable (Philippians 4:8). When asked what people must do to be saved, Jesus Himself confirmed that salvation comes only from believing in the one God has sent (John 6:29).
So, a victorious life in Christ starts between your ears and in your heart, with what you think and believe. The problem is, it doesn’t end there. What happens when we believe God and our lives still suck; when we’re not seeing what we are believing for. Is God a liar?
For all its emphasis on right thinking and faith in God, the Bible also talks a lot about our actions in response to faith.
When Moses and the Hebrew children found themselves caught between the Egyptians and the Red Sea, their leader told them, “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord (Exodus 14:13 KJV). In the next verse, however, God admonishes Moses, telling him to get up and get going! It wasn’t until Moses extended his rod that the waters parted and once parted, the Israelites had to walk across. They were not miraculously transported. God made a way, but they had to move forward, despite their fears and doubts. If they had stood still as Moses initially instructed, waiting for God to come through on His promise of deliverance, it would have been disastrous. Any who survived would have wondered why God had failed them.
Jesus explained in the Sermon on the Mount that you will know a man’s heart by looking at his fruit. Fruit is the visible manifestation of the internal processes of the tree. Jesus is saying that we will know if what someone is thinking and believing is in line with God’s ways by what they do and the good things they produce. Improper thinking produces bad fruit—bad outcomes. “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so can you identify people by their actions (Matthew 7:20 NLT).”
Well, then…what are we to do to receive the things we are believing for?
A clue might be found in Hebrews 11 which is famous for lauding the champions of faith from the Old Testament. It tells us of the things these heroes did because of faith. Noah built an Ark. Sarah carried a baby in her old age. Abraham left his home and later laid his son on the altar as a sacrifice. They obeyed God and looked forward to the things He had promised.
There is so much emphasis on the mind today that we too often forget that the real power in thinking and believing is that it enables our doing. We want to believe that if our faith is right, things will just happen. We’ll be healed, we’ll get the money we need, the depression or the addiction will simply fall away. We have fallen for a false doctrine, a kind of Christian Law of Attraction. In the Bible, when the lame believed they were healed, they got up and walked—one even made up his bed. They didn’t waste time reminding Jesus of their handicap! When we see a promise in the Scripture or ask for something in prayer, let’s just start acting as if it’s already ours. That is true faith!