thinking

How to Overcome the Flesh Mindset

Unless you have taken intentional steps to change, the way you presently experience yourself and the world around you was mostly chosen for you, not by you.

Think about that. You inherited a way of interpreting the world. Your brain has been in the process of becoming programmed by factors outside your control from the moment you were born. Your parents, friends, culture, media, and life experiences all played a part in this programming, much of which has undoubtedly been true and beneficial, but much of which has been untrue and unhelpful.

One of the reasons ReKnew was created was to help people take intentional steps to change, to “re-think” how we interpret the world, God, ourselves, and others. As the ReKnew Manifesto states, “ReKnew exists to encourage believers and skeptics alike to re-think things they thought they already knew.”

In all probability most of our thinking has been developed by viewing and experiencing the world as though God was not present. In other words, most of the programming gave us a mind that is “set on the flesh” and conformed to the pattern of this world” (Romans 8:6-7; 12:2). We’ve been conditioned to have a “flesh-mindset” that habitually pushes God out of our awareness moment-by-moment.

What is particularly insidious about the flesh-mindset is that it largely operates without our knowing it. Once a program is installed, it becomes part of your brain’s autopilot. You don’t have to think about the way you experience yourself and the world. It just happens.

For example, you don’t have to think about the meaning of each word you’re reading right now because your brain automatically associates each group of letters with a meaning, according to its programming. The brain uses this same autopilot to give meaning to everything.

To the extent that we remain in bondage to the flesh-mindset, we will not fully experience the forgiveness, new nature, and abundant Life God has given us. We will, to some extent, experience and live our lives as though we were not forgiven, did not have a new nature, and were not given abundant Life. So long as we remain subservient to out brainwashing in the flesh-mindset, the way we experience ourselves and the world will be largely determined by whomever or whatever programmed us.

Regardless of what we believe, it’s our preprogrammed flesh-mindset that determines how we experience the world and how we live moment-by-moment—if we allow it. We believe in God and his Kingdom, but as slaves to our preprogrammed flesh-mindset, most of the moments that comprise our actual life are spent thinking, feeling, and acting as through God and his Kingdom are not real.

The Bible calls this “double-mindedness” (James 1:8). No amount of resolutions, sermons, Bible studies, self-help books, or conferences will rectify this situation if they just provide us with more information. There is only one thing to be done, as James says, and that is to submit ourselves to God—not just intellectually, theoretically, or abstractly, but to do so in the now, in this moment.

We only have the now to submit to God. This is to become single-minded. Whatever else is going on—whether we’re taking a shower, engaging in a discussion, watching television, or reading a blog—we must try to remain conscious, anchored in the present.

When we can experience all of life against the backdrop of God’s ever present love, moment-by-moment, it makes us single-minded. Every moment we remain aware of, and submitted to, God’s presence becomes a Kingdom moment, for it is defined by the reign of God. In these moments we are defined by God rather than whomever or whatever programmed us. In these moments Christ is our actual Lord rather than whomever or whatever programmed us. In these moments we are truly free rather than pathetic slaves who are mindlessly “conformed to the pattern of this world.”

—Adapted from Present Perfect, pages 84-90

Image by Moyan_Brenn via Flickr

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