His wife wasn’t as attentive, fun, or as sexual as she had been when they first married – at least that’s what he thought. He was a Christian, but he wouldn’t quit thinking about that other woman. He felt horrible about building up the feelings he had for her, but the thoughts of her made him feel like somebody really appreciated him. He deliberately walked by her office several times a day hoping she would stop him. He followed her to lunch if she didn’t ask him to join her straight up. He texted her frequently about meaningless stuff hoping it might start up a good conversation. And he made one bad decision after another. It cost him his marriage, his good relationship with his children, his respect in the workplace, and his self-respect. And that woman? She moved on. Who would be interested in an unfaithful loser like him anyway?
Good thinking is critical for good behavior. Peter told his readers something like this, “Like you would hike up a skirt to give your legs freedom to run, remove anything that would keep your brain from thinking clearly” (1 Peter 1:13).
When Paul wrote that amazingly liberating passage to the Romans, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (8:1) he continued writing to call us to the same determination to avoid sin that he had expressed about himself when he wrote, “I do what I don’t want to do and don’t do what I want.” You can’t read that quickly, but we live that frustration every day!
The way he explained the “want to do it” in Romans 8 is like this: “…those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (8:5).
What is your mind set on? Do you want your way or the Spirit’s way? Do you want disruption to gain the advantage? Do you want division because you usually get your way because of your critical ways? Do you want to start quarrels because you love to win? Or, do you want to experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
Do you want to strike back or forgive quickly? Do you want to go the extra mile or just do the minimum for others? Do you want to be harsh and hypocritical in your judgments or respond more like Jesus? Do you want to take the long stare when the female clerk leans over or do you want to keep your heart in check? Do you want to lie when it benefits you or tell the truth even when it hurts?
We all fail in so many of these areas, but performance isn’t the issue. What do you want? Where do you make your mind go?
A mindset on the things of the Spirit is vital because God looks at your heart. Your mindset is directly tied to your faith.
A mindset on the things of the Spirit is vital because holy, Christ-honoring behavior is only possible for the person who wants to live it.
How does that kind of thinking impact your marriage?
R and JL