The Freedom Papers No. 3: The Apostle Paul – Language of a Godly Leader (part A.1)

ApostlePaul-FreedomPaper

Let This Mind Be In You. 1

It’s All In The Mind

The Apostle Paul said he imitated Christ and for the Believer to do likewise 2. Paul obviously had discovered the key that enabled him to change his Pharisaic way of thinking. We are Gentiles and as such we do not have the same mind-set as Paul. Nevertheless, we must also change our minds.

Stop And Turn Around

The bible word for this is metanoia, often translated ‘repentance’, which is a poor translation because it just has the idea of ‘being sorry’. Metanoia – is something quite different. It means ‘stop and turn around’. It is calling us to change the way we think about ourselves and importantly, about God. It is also to stop thinking the way the world thinks and the way we think about the world.

To be like Jesus we are to stop conforming to the world. Instead, start mirroring Jesus’ teachings in our everyday life. We are to all be of the same mind. How do we cultivate this change of mind? First, we work on ourselves.

Work On Ourselves

It is our responsibility to change the way we think of ourselves. One time I evaded this. I convinced myself I was tired of it. This mindlessness on my part meant I got back into bad-habits. Rather than listening to my ‘self’ and ardently seeking change, I went to sleep. As a result, I began to revert back to the old me.

If we fall into a state of slumber we lose our edge. We stop being watchful. Our speech acts as a snare. Old speech patterns return. We slip back into saying the same old exaggerated boastful or negative scripts from the past.

These old scripts are lies. They’re stories we’ve built up over the years. The only way to get back to telling the truth is to correct ourselves as it comes out of our mouths.

The Accuser

We also listen to our inner voice accusing ourselves. By thinking in a new way, taking note of what God says about us, we form a new identity: a new way of doing and living. This new way of living is the very opposite of the way the world thinks, speaks, acts and lives.

Jesus Set the Standard By His Words And Deeds

Jesus was not like other people. Jesus marched, as the saying goes, to a ‘different drumbeat’. He put His faith in God into words and action. He told people to do likewise, to follow Him.

“Follow Me”

Paul also told His readers to follow him. For Paul to say this he must have ‘tried’ Jesus’ teachings by putting them into action and found they worked

Paul Activated Jesus’ Teachings By Doing Them

Paul taught in word and deed. This was so as to visibly show his followers what Jesus was like. To do this, a particular mind-set of Paul’s was cultivated by him. This is opposite to the world’s way of thinking.

By allowing that mind of Christ to be in us will lead us out of the maze of self-deception. This self-deception is our false self. It has been carefully constructed. We have fashioned it from our past experiences.

These scripts we tell ourselves and others consist of what people have told us and what we’ve told ourselves. Our moth ensnares us. We are the accuser of ourselves and of others.

Believers Are Called To Live In Peace.

Only then, will we find the God-kind-of-peace promised us. Only when we let that mind of Christ be in us instead of the old one we live with now. As Believers in Jesus, we are called to live in peace. How can we find the paths that lead to peace? How can we find this mind that must be in us?

Believers are called to live in peace. To do so it is imperative we change our mind, words, and deeds, so as to find a new way of living. How can we find the paths that lead to peace? We must look to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.

How Can We Change Our Mind?

Where can we find the supreme example of Jesus? Its principles are laid down in the three temptations Jesus faced. He was tempted by His own inner voice. He overcame the accusing voice by the Word of God.

Gaining an understanding of these three temptations will bring about change. I hope to learn more along with you. We must change!

Nothing is accomplished without practice. There is an example given for us and a practice that will change our minds. Its principles are laid down in the three temptations Jesus faced and overcame as described in scripture (Matt 4). As we gain an understanding of these we can then practice a daily minute by minute lifetime of metanoia (change) to bring about this transformation in our personality we so desperately desire.

Exposing Our Identity Lies

This model Jesus has shown is not recognisable by the indicators the world attributes to successful living. Indeed, those indicators the world recognises are the lies we have cultivated about ourselves. We all have spent a lifetime building up a reputation for ourselves.

Now, some reputations attributed to people are inevitable. They are built by their followers. In such a case it’s not dependent upon what is said or not said. It’s a product of a certain way of life that’s noted by others rather than one that’s boasted about.

A reputation is also built by what people tell others about themselves. This is in order to impress others. It is done in an attempt to bolster the original self-lies we say about ourselves.

We want others to believe them. In the finish, all going according to plan, we don’t have to keep telling everyone. If we have done our work sufficiently our press club does this for us.

However, the last word in all this is when people meet up face to face. It is then they can judge for themselves. This we all do.

Jesus Shows Us Another Way.

He shows us how to reinvent ourselves. This time it is believing what God says about us. In His temptation, His temptation consisted of three identity lies that must be believed by Him at that moment or pulled down. 3

Revealing Our False Self-Constructed Identity

I will show here these three self-constructed identity-lies we all cultivate. We will have no trouble recognising them because they are common to us. When these particular temptations come at crucial moments in our lives they reveal who we are. Jesus shows another way, how not to succumb to them. We can begin to tell others a new story about ourselves.

Temptations Common To Us Also Besieged Jesus

The tempting thoughts that besieged Jesus are common to us all. They give us insight into their nature. By upending these common lies, we can gain a new vista. We can stand under them and look up to examine their foundations. Jesus brought forth the right evaluation to destroy their power over Him. We can also.

Stand Under Rather than Over

To stand under rather than over gives us a different kind of perspective of life and of people. Our under-standing these three temptations reveal to ourselves the lies or the unreality we daily live in. If left unchecked, no amount of confessing the Word will change us. We will not see the desired change. We will not be like Jesus. We will instead mirror the world’s image.

The How-to

To understand what I am saying here simply requires us individually to take time out from the daily chatter. It means to listen to our words and take note of them and our thoughts. It requires we consider the underlying motivations that drive us.

Begin to practice this on a daily basis. Firstly, each evening goes back over the day. Examine ourselves. Take note of where we missed the mark. Prayerfully ask God to help us change. Thoughtfully think about how to do it better next time.

This Is Not Self-Improvement

This is rather simply obeying the scripture: “examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith”. Once we do this self-examination we have the opportunity to repent.

Keep Ourselves In The Faith

Allow awareness, mindfulness, and repentance to become our daily practice. We can then increase the exercise by doing it on a moment-by-moment basis. The overall message is to repent, to turn around, in order to bring about change. Change can only happen through our awareness of ourselves and calling upon God’s grace to change us. It is our responsibility to keep ourselves in the faith. True faith shows by how much grace we demonstrate. Dear friends, I confess, I still have a long way to go! But like you, I press on.

We Are All Devils: Accusers Of Our Own Selves And Of Others

This example of Jesus’ facing temptation shows us we can’t stop the temptations from coming. How we deal with them reveals our true selves. Some try to blame shift it, by blaming the ‘devil’. 4

This is nonsense. If we live in a house (our mind) divided against itself, we will disintegrate. Its dualism. It is opposing ourselves.

A Change Of Mind Empowers Us

The three temptations Jesus faced also show us what society has deemed are our basic human needs. However, what we are not told is the emptiness loneliness and envy these reproduce in us. This is where changing our mind empowers us. The power of repentance allows us to take on a new identity already inscribed in us and waiting to be revealed through us in word, deed and living a new kind of life.

It Is Written.

By our changing our mind we turn ourselves around. It’s the type of character building we must undergo in order to add to our faith. This is so as to begin the lifelong journey, to be perfected in the image of Christ. This means to mature.

Mature Christians mirror the image of Christ. It’s not that we shall arrive here in this body, for we are in the world and live in this body of flesh and our mind is continually besieged by our own and others accusations. Nevertheless, we press on.

Next week: The First Temptation of Christ – “Turn stones into bread”: The False Identity Lie: I Am What I Do

 


FOOTNOTES