It’s Not the Same
January 19, 2021
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8, NIV).
His belly was still swollen, but his pain was better. He lay there reviewing his life as I stood at his bedside. “You know I was the first one in my family to graduate from college. I was rising in the insurance business. I had a nice office and they were grooming me to move up the corporate ladder. I really cared about the people I served. You see, I was a minister, too. One day my boss came and told me, ‘We know that you’re looking both ways. There’s the way we think and the way they think. It’s not the same. You’re going to have to choose.’ I didn’t change my convictions, and after a while I resigned.”
“The way we think and the way they think…it’s not the same.”
My patient changed his career path because he understood that he could not think in two ways. As God’s people, this day, we have to choose how we will think and then make life decisions based on the thoughts we have chosen. We cannot think God’s way and the world’s way at the same time. The thoughts we choose should be based on the truth of life, and we should throw out the thoughts that lie.
It’s not easy to think in two ways. To paraphrase Dr. Richard Swenson, “Today, if you are trying to keep one foot in the world and one foot in God’s kingdom, you’re going to develop a serious groin strain.”
God’s thoughts are not the world’s thoughts.
Should I select a very limited number of God’s thoughts that dramatically change the decisions I make in life, the list might look like this:
- I am not alone. I am not limited by my skills, assets and social systems. The God of the universe lives with me and provides power beyond my capabilities.
- Death is not the end. I live in an eternal time frame. After death, I will live again. Everything I now do counts forever.
- It’s not about me. One clear message of the cross is sacrificial service. Just as Christ lived for me, so should I now live for others rather than myself.
- There is a purpose for my life, a purpose that is chosen by the one who created the universe, a purpose that is deeply entwined with His plan to redeem His creation. I will be most fulfilled in life if I live out the purpose He has chosen for me.
Imagine all the decisions in life that flow from these four thoughts. Imagine how my decisions would be different if I thought they were not true, or if I lived like they were not true.
Many other thoughts flow from our faith that should dramatically influence the choices we make. If such thoughts challenge our career path, or challenge a relationship, or challenge our finances, or challenge our pleasures, or add risk to our lives, we must choose. Like my patient above, we must refuse to think two ways.
Let me live consistently trusting Your thoughts, not the thoughts of the world.