Praise God, we’re getting into some of the nuts and bolts about how we can get to victory in the fulfillment of God’s command through Jesus to be perfect. Praise God that we have He has given us the Biblical definition of perfection so that we can understand God’s perspective on perfection, not our own. Praise God that He has given us the innate desire to achieve our own perfection or completeness just by the way that He designed us and the world.
Praise God that I’m alive today to write this article. Praise God that He is our best teacher. Praise God that no human can teach us the way God can teach us how to live and how to be. Praise God that His ways have not changed since the beginning. His ways have always been this way, and His ways will always be this way.
Praise God that he gave me this laptop, and this time, and the desire, and the insight, and the understanding that He has given me so that I can write this article. Praise God that He has given me the Holy Spirit, which leads me (and all of us who choose to be led by God) to the full truth. Praise God that He unwinds the mess that I make in my own way, and turns that to His good and for His purposes.
Praise God that I am not in control, I will never be in control, and that God has already won the battle, in my life, and in the world.
How Rejoicing Helps Get Our Mind Right
Today, we’re talking about getting our minds right. The above is just one of the things that I have to do every single day (and often throughout the day) to get my mind right: praise God for everything that he has done, is doing, and will do. The Bible tells us that we are to rejoice in all things.
‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! ‘
Jesus even tells us to rejoice when we’re persecuted:
‘ “You are blessed when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ‘
There are a few reasons why we’re told to rejoice, this topic alone is an article unto itself, so for today, I’m just going to list a few of the benefits that I’ve found when I choose to rejoice as the Bible tells us to.
Benefits of rejoicing
- It helps shift my focus to understanding who is really in control of everything.
- It helps me express my gratitude for the things that God has already done in my life, is doing today, and will do in the future, which creates a heart of gratitude inside of me.
- It helps me be filled with joy, because instead of focusing on things that have not yet come into my life that God is working on fulfilling, I focus on what I do have, and have a newfound appreciation of the “small” blessings that enable my everyday life.
If I don’t do these things, I personally tend to take things that aren’t “small” blessings and make them “small” in my perception and take them for granted. If I allow this perception to take hold over time, it can turn into all sorts of bad things like discontentment, which is the seed that leads to all sorts of wrong places, that none of us want to go.
In this, the biggest benefit to rejoicing in God always is that we can kill the seeds of evil that start as seeds but can grow into trees before they have a chance to grow.
Our Mental Focus Is a Big Factor
You’ll notice that what I’m doing here really is intentionally focusing my mind’s eye on a perspective that God is good and so is everything else in my life.
Jesus talks about this himself in Matthew 6:22-23
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness!
Let’s hop to the interlinear Bible to show the original Greek so we can fully understand what Jesus is saying here.
Firstly, the “eye” that Jesus is using here, is really talking figuratively about your mind’s eye. In looking at the interlinear Bible, we can see that one of the uses of the word ὀφθαλμός “opthalmos” is “mind’s eye.”
According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary, the mind’s eye refers to one’s ability to “conceive imaginary or recollected scenes” in their mind. In other words, one’s mental capacity to perceive something in a particular way, whether or not it is visibly true in the physical sense.
So then, Jesus is saying in Matt 6:22 if my perception is healthy, then my whole body will be full of light. Matthew 6:23 offers the opposite side of this that says, if my mind’s eye is bad (i.e. perceiving unhealthy or evil things), how deep that darkness will be.
Now, there is actually A LOT more going on in this verse, that I promise we will break down fully at a later date, with full definitions and deep dives, but for the purposes of today’s article, we’re going to focus on this simplified version of what Jesus is saying here. That is, that if we focus on things that are good with our mind, we will be full of light. If we focus on how bad things are with our mind, our bodies will be full of darkness.
And so, God is teaching through Jesus that our mind’s own perception is either an ally of our pursuit of perfection or it can be our enemy. If we choose to focus ourselves on the things of God, that are in alignment with God’s word, then God will be able to fill us with the light that leads us into our pursuit of perfection. If we choose to focus ourselves on the things that are not of God or are of this world, that aren’t in alignment with God’s word, then God won’t be able to fill us with the light that leads us on our pursuit of perfection.
We can know that this is true from the testimony we find in 1 John 1: 5-7
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in him. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” and yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth. If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:5-7
We know from previous articles, that if we are to obtain perfection, we must be obedient to God and walk in the leadership (or fellowship) of God’s Holy Spirit. These verses from 1 John tell us that to be in fellowship, we can’t walk in darkness, because God is light and there is absolutely no darkness in him. Therefore, we must focus our mind on things that are in alignment with God’s Truth found in his word, to even pursue the path to perfection.
Breaking Down Our Mind’s “Strongholds”
Now, these perceptions that we have, aren’t just about rejoicing in God. That is step one of getting our mind right. The next step is for us to work diligently with God and through God’s word, to identify the perceptions or ideas (Paul identifies them as strongholds in 2 Corinthians) that we have about ourselves, other people, the things that we bring into our life, etc.
Any ideas that we have are important to check against the word of God to ensure that we don’t have any idea or conception of truth that isn’t in alignment with God. In this, we tear down strongholds of ideas in our minds that are disobedient to God’s own teachings and bring ourselves into alignment with God’s truth.
‘For although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ. ‘
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
This is something that I have to pretty much continually do because my ego loves to tell me I’m right very often. Thank God that He does not let me get too far down this path before He is quick to humble me by bringing me into alignment with His word.
One of the biggest hurdles that I personally faced, was overcoming a “hero” complex. I had a tendency to see myself as the hero of a story. Where I was helping to save [insert good person/business/situation here] from [insert bad situation here]. This “helped” me to temporarily fill my own personal feelings of insufficiency, but in reality, it is a version of temporary self-righteousness that operates with the assumption that I am somehow better than others and I think we can all agree that that’s not a good thing.
Free Tool to Break Down Your Strongholds
I have to check myself on this, and all sorts of other similar ideas, very often. Luckily, God is awesome, and He brought me to a place where my ego left the room long enough, that He could show me how to breakdown these strongholds through a simple little tool idea that He gave me and I also offer to you. You can download the tool for free by clicking here. It should start the download immediately.
It’s just a simple side-by-side excel spreadsheet with instructions. The purpose of the tool is to take a topic or idea or situation that you’re dealing with or story that you tell yourself and put it plainly from your perspective, then compare that against God’s perspective, found in God’s word. I’ve left an example of my “hero complex” one in there for you to see how I went about it. I have my own version that where I read God’s perspective every morning so that I can remind myself of God’s truth and stay in alignment with it.
The whole purpose of this exercise of getting our mind right is to ensure that we’re in alignment with God’s word so that we can “be in the light” so that we can have fellowship with God, and through this, God’s leadership by His word, and the Holy Spirit will lead us on the path to perfection.
This is so vital to our ability to pursue perfection. If we don’t take the steps to break down these strongholds, it can lead to spiritual blindness, which means that we won’t be able to pursue perfection at all.
For those of you who have already asked God into your lives and are following Jesus, the best teacher is the Holy Spirit. Your next best step is to ask God to show you through the Holy Spirit and his word, which areas of your life are leading to your own spiritual blindness.
Ask God to reveal to you your own strongholds. He may reveal many to you. If there are many that are revealed, make a list of them, and then ask God which one He wants you to tackle first. Then, consider using the free tool above to help you dive into these areas and bring them into alignment with God’s Truth found in the word of God.
If you haven’t yet made the decision to follow Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, and begin your own path to perfection yet, that’s okay – today is as good a day as any to get started. Your first step is to say the following prayer and mean it from your heart, and then God can lead start to lead you down your own path to perfection.
“God in heaven, I need you.
I repent of doing things my own way and ask that you would forgive me today.
I believe that your son Jesus died, and he rose from the grave, for the forgiveness of my sins and I ask that you would cover me with the blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of my sins.
Today, I am committing the rest of my life to following your way, that you revealed through your son Jesus. Father please come into my life, renew my spirit, and teach me your ways so that I may walk with you in relationship.
Holy Spirit, please direct the steps of my path and lead me into all truth.
Not only for the promise of eternal salvation, but to bring your Kingdom glory on earth through my life which you have given me.
Thank you Father for creating a way, thank you for your love.
I ask this of you in Jesus’ name – Amen.”
If you prayed that prayer today, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d like to rejoice with you, pray for you, and see if there is anything that I can do to help you on your journey.