May 3, 2018 • Life for Leaders
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
In yesterday’s reflection, we saw that our flesh can work against us, leading us deeper into the living death associated with sin and Satan. In particular, our fallen flesh stirs up various desires that lure us away from the good life God intends for us.
If our emotional desires lead us away from God, we might imagine that our thinking can save us. Rationality can seem to be pure, untainted by sin and its corruption. Yet this is not the case according to Ephesians 2:3. According to this verse, we are naturally inclined to gratify the cravings of our flesh, “following its desires and thoughts.” Did you catch that? “And thoughts.” Sin has tarnished not just our feeling but also our thinking. Left to our own devices, we are not able to think rightly.
Yet, the corruption of our capacity for thought does not mean that thinking is itself evil. God created us with the ability to think rationally, carefully, and creatively. Though sin has corrupted the original purity of our intellect, in God’s future we will once again be able to see all things clearly (1 Corinthians 13:11-12). In the meanwhile, we acknowledge the limitations of our intellect and pray that God will help us to discover and discern what is true.
God is doing this very thing through Christ. As we read in Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Through his grace in Jesus Christ, God is at work in us, renewing our minds so that our thoughts might be full of truth and goodness.
The renewal of our minds can make a difference every day in all that we do, including our daily work. As you face difficult challenges in your workplace, God will help you think rightly and wisely about them. The Spirit of God will lead you if you seek God’s guidance and truth. Taking time to pray, even quietly for a few moments in your workplace, can make all the difference.
Something to Think About:
When have you sensed that your own thinking capacity has been tarnished by sin?
In what area(s) of your life are you especially in need of thinking shaped by God and his truth?
Something to Do:
During the next few days of work, set aside a few moments for prayer at the beginning of your workday, in the middle, and at the end. Ask the Lord to guide your thinking in all you do. Then, be attentive to how the Spirit is leading you. At the end of the day, thank God for his presence and guidance.
Gracious God, today I am reminded that my thinking has been influenced by sin. Too often, I have relied on my own ability to figure things out, rather than seeking you and your ways. Forgive me for my arrogance and lack of self-awareness.
Dear Lord, please renew my mind by your Spirit. As I reflect on your Word, teach me your truths. Help me to see things as you see them and to be wise in discernment. May I think truthfully about all things: my work, my family, myself, my calling, my citizenship.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, yes, even the thoughts of my mind, be acceptable to you, O God, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Minds (Romans 12:1–3)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.