Have you every heard the phrase, “Time to put on your thinking cap.” Usually, when we hear this we know that something’s coming that will mentally challenge us, and after serving God for eighteen years, I can honestly say the most mentally challenge thing I’ve faced is changing my thinking–of setting my mind on God and allowing Him to transform my mind and thoughts.
Changing our thinking is hard because it involves changing how we see the world and our place in it. Even though I was seventeen when I gave my heart to the Lord, I was pretty set in my ways. I knew what I liked, who I liked, and I saw the world one way. Thankfully, God doesn’t expect us to change overnight. Transformation is a process. The journey through life is … uh, a journey. We won’t arrive until we take our first step into heaven.
This morning I was reading the second chapter of Mark and I realized I’m not the only one who had trouble changing my thinking. During Jesus’ time on earth there was one group that struggled with this the most. Before Jesus came, the job of the religious leaders were to be big know-it-alls. They knew “the keys” to making God happy, and this involved a series of rituals and duties, prayers and public display. And more than any other group, they didn’t want Jesus bucking the system. Their minds were set, and anything different than what they knew to be true was something they opposed with everything in them. Mark 2:18-23 shares Jesus’ response to their concrete thinking:
18 Once when John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting, some people came to Jesus and asked, “Why don’t your disciples fast like John’s disciples and the Pharisees do?”
19 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. They can’t fast while the groom is with them. 20 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
21 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.
22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”
Jesus knew these men needed a new way of thinking. Their old ideas (old wineskins) were rigid and were unable to hold what he was about to do–what he was already doing. He was literally telling them, “Change your thinking, for I’m going to blow your mind!”
Jesus’ statement to these leaders made me stop and think of my life. Are their any areas where my thinking is rigid? Are there any old, concrete thought patterns that need to be blasted out of the water? It’s something I’m prayerfully bringing to God, because more than anything I don’t want my old thinking to keep me from being filled up with as much of Jesus as I can!