How to Think, Feel, and Act Like God
“Have the same mindset of Christ Jesus.”
See Philippians 2:5
The short answer to the title of this devotional is: be yourself. That is, if you are a Christian. For too many years, I was led by my flesh and unrenewed mindsets rather than being led by the real me–my perfect spirit.
The problem with doing this is that my flesh and old stinking thinking doesn’t always match up with God in me–or me. Like strands of thread in a single piece of fabric, God and I have been one since I believed in Jesus as a young boy. So me–a perfect, heaven-ready spirit–and God, we always want the same thing! However, my flesh, as well as the parts of my mindsets which are not yet spiritually matured, these things want the very opposite of what God and I want (see Romans 7:5,6, 8:9, 12:2, Galatians 5:13-25, 1 Corinthians 13:11).
Our souls are trained to do whatever our flesh or spirit trains them to do. Our flesh is our physical bodies, our spirit is God and us together (see Colossians 3:3, 1 Corinthians 6:19). This is why the false teaching of “All of God and none of me” is so incorrect. The correct version of the gospel is “All of God and all of me, together!” You got a new “me”–a spirit–from the very moment you first heard the gospel with faith! (See Romans 6:6, Galatians 3:2). Living by our spirits is now the correct way to live and train our souls. Paul tried to explain this to the Christians in Galatia when he said:
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other” (See Galatians 5:16:17).
If we are walking by our flesh, our flesh will train our souls. If we are walking by our true identity–a spiritually perfect child of God (Colossians 1:22, Ephesians 1:5, John 1:12)–then our souls will be trained by the authentic us!
Let me be clear about what your soul is. It is your mind, free will, and emotions–all three ebb and flow. Your soul is constantly changing as a human being who resides on planet earth. Your spirit isn’t changing, but your soul is. Let’s also be clear about something else: your mind, free will, and emotions don’t define you, but they can describe your flesh at any moment in time. To determine this, all we need to do is ask ourselves, “Am I walking by the flesh or by the Spirit?”
Let me also be clear about your flesh. There is nothing wrong with your flesh, God likes your flesh. Your flesh was His idea! However, it is but a tool for your spirit! It is a costume made up of matter for your non-matter, supernatural self to be in on this earth. You are hitching a ride in your flesh for 70, 80, or 100 years. Although there is nothing bad about your flesh, it has a parasite in it called sin which we inherited from Adam (see Romans 5:12, 7:17-20). But–as you walk by your true spiritual identity rather than by your flesh–which harbors sin–you will be putting to death sin each day! (See Romans 6:12).
God wants us to choose to think, feel, and act like Him. This happens when Christians simply be themselves! All we gotta do is wake up each day and say, “Good morning, God. I sure do love you. Help me to be who you’ve already made me to be, in my spirit. Help me to walk this out! I’m ready! I’m available! Let’s go!”
God knows that if we do this–just be ourselves–we can fulfill our individual purposes for being New Creations in Christ, as well as our corporate purposes–with other people! (See 2 Corinthian 5:17, Romans 11:29, Hebrews 10:24,25).
However, there is a big problem that constantly tries to pop up in our lives! This problem is what caused Adam to eat the fruit, David to sleep with Bathsheba, and Judas to betray Jesus. This problem comes from the sin in our flesh and from the areas of our decrepit mindsets. Some people never overcome it–both Christians and non-believers the like: pride.
As Christians, pride prevents us from being ourselves. It puts a halt to fully living out and enjoying who God has created us to be! Pride does not come from our spirits! The Christian spirit is pride-free! We are on the same level as God because of our faith in Jesus–and God is not prideful! (See Romans 5:1, Galatians 5:22,23, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
Pride keeps us from thinking, feeling, and acting like…Jesus. “But Matt, I can’t help what I think or feel!” Okay, I’ll give you that, I understand what you are saying. But as a believer you can control how you act. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit that grows in our lives when we are walking by the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22,23). The seed of self-control is in you because God’s Spirit is in you!
So if you will water that seed and let it grow, you can begin to control how you outwardly express your true character. Soon enough, your thoughts and feelings will catch up a lot more often!
Your Christ-like actions–which is simply spiritual fruit growth–are not contingent on your feelings or thoughts. Godly feelings and thoughts gradually sprout up and out with your fruit as you walk out your true identity: God’s child (see Galatians 3:26). For proof of this, just look to the Cross. How did Jesus feel as He carried that thing up the hill? What was He thinking? We don’t know, but we saw His actions.
He overrode His flesh’s desires–which was not to be tortured and killed. Therefore, His self-controlled thoughts of not running away, but pushing through, not only overrode His flesh but also His feelings! There is no way He felt like doing what He did! The agony in His mind and emotions poured out in the Garden of Gethsemane! (See Luke 22:39-44). However, His choices produced a harvest of free salvation for all who would believe! How did this happen? With self-controlled action! We can do the same because His Spirit lives in us! (See Romans 8:9, Philippians 4:13).
Paul advises the Romans to “be transformed by the renewing of your minds” (see Romans 12:2). This is a process! This takes time! The key word in this verse is “renewing.” Renewing means gradually. So having our lives transformed by the renewing of our minds is a process that will not end until we die or Jesus comes back. Paul tells the Christians in Philippi not to become discouraged during this process:
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day Jesus Christ returns” (see Philippians 1:6).
So today, my friends, know this: You won’t be complete in thought, feelings, or actions until you shed this fleshy shell! Therefore, be easy on yourself, be yourself, and enjoy each day of God’s love, mercy, and grace!
A prayer for you: God, today I want to thank you for the passion and enthusiasm you’ve placed in my spirit. I know it’s you who is spurring me on, so thank you! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who have accepted Christ as their Savior, but don’t know who they really are in their spirits–reveal their true identity! Once they understand that they are spiritually perfect like you, only then will their thoughts, feelings, and actions begin to match up organically! I ask these things in Christ’s awesome name. Amen.
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