follies and nonsense

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pride and prejudice: jane bennet

“With your good sense, to be honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others! Affectation of candour is common enough; – one meets it every where. But to be candid without ostentation or design – to take the good of every body’s character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad – belongs to you alone.“

8

“I would wish not to be hasty in censuring any one; but I always speak what I think.”
“I know you do; and it is that which makes the wonder. With your good sense, to be honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others! Affectation of candour is common enough; – one meets it every where. But to be candid without ostentation or design – to take the good of every body’s character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad – belongs to you alone.”

The Condition of Our Minds

by Joyce Meyer - posted May 13, 2017

…But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.
—1 Corinthians 2:16

I reached the curb in front of the airport, where my friend would pick me up. I was calm and relaxed and thought of the great conversation we would have. To my surprise, she wasn’t there yet. That was odd because she’s the kind of person who is never late for anything. I remained calm and peaceful. I spotted what I thought was her car and took a step forward, but the car went past me, and there was a stranger in it.

Not more than three minutes had passed, but I realized I was anxious and worried. What had happened to her? Had she been in an accident? Did she forget me? From calmness to anxiety in less than three minutes, and nothing had changed—nothing except my mind. Worried thoughts struggled inside me.

I pulled out my cell phone and started to dial, when I heard a car honking, as she pulled up to the curb. My mind shifted once again to calmness, even joyfulness. How quickly my emotions had shifted in that short period of time.

My mind had quickly changed when my circumstances did. Sometimes I find it easy to hear God speak … and to believe without any difficulty. Yet at other times, worry and anxiety push their way into my mind. The Bible says we are to walk by faith and not by sight, but that day at the airport, I was definitely being led by what I saw. When we worry, we are not walking in faith and trusting God.

For a long period of my life, I had a critical, suspicious, and judgmental mind. That may seem normal for many nonbelievers, but I was a Christian. I was going along with the same thinking and mindset that I had known for years. It was normal to me—it was just the way I was. For years, I had no awareness that my wrong thinking was causing any problems.

Because no one had taught me, I didn’t know I could do anything to change my thought life. It simply had not occurred to me. No one had taught me about the proper condition for the believer’s mind. God offers us a new way to think and a new way to live.

God has called us to renew our minds (see Romans 12:2). For most of us, it is an ongoing process. We don’t control our thinking all at one time.

One day I read 1 Corinthians 2:16, where Paul says we have the mind of Christ. What could he have meant? I pondered that verse for days. I concluded that for us to have the mind of Christ doesn’t mean we’re sinless or perfect. It does mean we begin to think the way Christ thinks. If we have His mind, we think on those things that are good and honorable and loving.

I confessed to God how many times my mind had focused on the ugly, the mean, and the harsh.

In 1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul wrote, But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him … because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated. Yes, I thought, that’s exactly how it works. The natural mind—even that of the Christians whose minds are tampered with by Satan—doesn’t grasp what God is doing. Those things seem foolish.

We must remind ourselves that we have Christ’s mind—we have the ability to think loving and caring thoughts. We can defeat Satan’s attacks.

Holy God, I want to live with the mind of Christ. I ask You to enable me to think positive, loving, caring thoughts about myself and about others. Help me to see and think on the good things in life and not the bad. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.


From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional

That brilliant moment when University Challenge is a top trend on twitter. And you realise you have the most amazing readers ever and how did they do that and this is a dream come true and everything is beautiful and nothing hurts and Dan Stevens’ face and you have never felt so loved.

That sad moment when you discover the trend is referring to a bunch of general knowledge nerds from elitist universities intellectually beating the crap out of each other on national TV. And your heart breaks into a million little pieces.

Anyway, so I handed in both my essays today and am NOW FREE! And I’m exhausted but writing Consolation Prize for Monday Madness and I have lots of time! Ask me things! :D

UNDERSTANDING OUR EMOTIONS

Emotions, or feelings, are part of our soulish realm. We are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Our soul is the intangible area between our spirit–the place where God lives–and our physical body. It is made up of our mind, will and emotions–it tells us what we think, what we want and how we feel. Of these three areas of the soul, it’s our feelings that get stirred up the fastest and can lead us into temptation the quickest.

Once our emotions get stirred up, they can quickly deceive our mind. After this happens, the voice of our conscience, which operates out of our spirit, is denied its normal standard of judgment. In other words, our God-given inner voice of insight and understanding becomes drowned out by the cries of our emotions.

In this unstable state, we don’t know God’s will for our lives. We become confused about what we should and shouldn’t do. As a result, we commit to things that God doesn’t want us to commit to, we quit doing things that God wants us to remain a part of, and we say things that damage our relationships.

When we follow our feelings instead of following God’s Spirit, we are living the life of the flesh, and it keeps us out of God’s will. Romans 8:8 says that “those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him” (The Amplified Bible). This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love us. What it does mean is that He is not satisfied with nor will He accept fleshly behavior.

It is imperative that we learn how to walk in the Spirit. When we “walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then [we] will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God)” (Gal. 5:16).

How do we learn to walk in the Spirit? I believe one of the best ways is to understand the differences between the natural man, the carnal man and the spiritual man.

THE NATURAL MAN AND THE CARNAL MAN In 1 Corinthians 2 and 3, the apostle Paul talks about two types of people that are led by their fleshly desires–the natural man and the carnal man. The natural man is the person who is not saved–his spirit is dead and totally devoid of God’s Spirit. He “does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them (of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them) because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated” (1 Cor. 2:14).

Since God is a Spirit and the things about Him are spiritually discerned, the natural man cannot understand anything about God. Why? Because his spirit is dead in sin (see Eph. 2:1).

The carnal man, on the other hand, has experienced new birth in Christ. But although his spirit has been made alive through his faith in Jesus, his life is dominated by the desires of the flesh–the combined cravings of his body and soul. He does what he wants and is aimlessly led around by his feelings.

The carnal man is a people-pleaser who cares more about what people think than about obeying God. This was the case with many of the Corinthians. It is also the way many Christians are living today.

Look at what Paul says: “For you are still [unspiritual, having the nature] of the flesh [under the control of ordinary impulses]. For as long as [there are] envying and jealousy and wrangling and factions among you, are you not unspiritual and of the flesh, behaving yourselves after a human standard and like mere (unchanged) men?” (1 Cor. 3:3). In other words, Paul is saying that these carnal Christians were immature and operating out of their emotions–whatever they felt like saying and whatever they felt like doing, they did.

Carnal Christians are easy to identify. They are usually in strife, discontent, easily offended and lacking peace.

For many years of my early walk with God I had very little peace with myself or others, even though I was a Spirit-filled Christian. If I didn’t get my way, I would argue, pout, throw a fit, have a pity party or not talk to people for weeks at a time. Basically, I acted like a child.

At the time, I had no idea my behavior was wrong or that I was being led by my fleshly desires. I went to church regularly and heard Bible doctrine, but I wasn’t hearing any practical teaching on how to get along with others and exercise self-control over my emotions.

When I finally got fed up with not having peace in my life, I made a decision to do whatever I needed to do to get it. I went to God and asked Him what was wrong, and He responded, “Joyce, you’re shallow. You need to begin living on a deeper level.”

Over time, God made it clear to me that the deeper level I needed to live on was the level of the Spirit. In order for us to truly enjoy the abundant life Jesus died to give us, we need to stop living by what we want, think, and feel and start following the promptings of His Spirit. This is the level that the spiritual man lives on.

THE SPIRITUAL MAN The spiritual man is the mature Christian who follows diligently after the desires of the Spirit. He is not someone who just prays the sinner’s prayer and then never feeds his spirit with the Word. Nor is he someone who keeps God in a “box” and lets Him out only on Sunday mornings.

The spiritual man has a full-time commitment to follow Christ, and he lets the Lord into every area of his life. He walks in integrity, humility and peace. He knows how to get along with others. His life displays the fruit of the Spirit, and he enjoys the favor of God.

First Corinthians 2:15 says, “But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him].” What Paul is saying here is that the spiritual man doesn’t live his life on a whim–impulsively following his fleshly desires for what he wants, thinks and feels. Instead he lives by discernment.

What is the difference between feelings and discernment? Feelings are of the flesh–they are shallow and constantly subject to change. Discernment, on the other hand, is a knowing in the spirit–something that comes from deep inside and is given to us by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus lived His life by discernment. Isaiah 11:2-3 says, “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him…and shall make Him of quick understanding, and His delight shall be in the reverential and obedient fear of the Lord. And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, neither decide by the hearing of His ears.” So Jesus’ discernment was not based on the superficial senses of His flesh–it was the result of a knowing deep within His spirit. And this same gift of discernment is available to you and me.

How does it work? Before the spiritual man does anything, he quickly checks with his spirit to see if the thing he is about to do is OK. If he has peace, he proceeds. But if he is uncomfortable, confused or frustrated, he remains still. For instance, there have been times when I had a strong desire to give a word of correction to one of our employees. But before I opened my mouth, I checked with my spirit to confirm that it was what God wanted. If I felt a peace and a release to do it, I did it.

There have also been situations when I’ve been at the mall getting ready to purchase something, but before I could get to the checkout counter, I sensed an irritation, frustration and pressure in my spirit. In this case, my spirit was not bearing witness with the Holy Spirit that what I wanted to do was of God. So I didn’t buy anything.

You see, every time you and I choose to listen to and follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings, our spirits grow stronger, and a little bit more of our flesh dies. As a result, more and more of God’s power is released in our lives to operate in the fruit of the Spirit. By yielding to the Holy Spirit rather than being controlled by our emotions, we honor God and put ourselves in a position to be radically blessed.

Developing discernment and being led by the Spirit is not something that happens overnight–it is a learning process that takes time. Little by little, one experience after another, God tries, or tests, our hearts, emotions and thinking (see Ps. 7:9, The Amplified Bible).

How does He do it? He allows us to go through difficult situations that stir up our emotions. In this way, you and I are able to see for ourselves how emotionally unstable we can become and how desperately we need His help.

Psalm 94:12-13 says, “Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law, that You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity.” This Scripture lets us know that God allows things in our lives to affect us emotionally so that we can learn how not to be led by our feelings. His ultimate goal is to get us to the point that, no matter what is going on, we remain calm.

Who’s going to keep us calm? We are going to keep ourselves calm. How? By the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us.

All God wants us to do is to get in the habit of running to Him for grace (supernatural inner strength) to exercise self-control over our emotions. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].”

I encourage you to stop bowing down to your feelings–stop depending on and placing more value on how you feel than on the Word of God. Exalt the Word over your feelings–believe what the Bible says.

Instead of saying, “I don’t feel as if God loves me,” “I don’t feel as if I’m forgiven,” or “I don’t feel as if I have a future,” say, “God does love me, and nothing can separate me from His love. He has heard my confession of sin, and He has forgiven me and cleansed me. And God has a positive plan for my future because His Word says so” (see Jer. 29:11; Rom. 8:38-39; 1 John 1:9).

Every time feelings come up to try and steal your righteousness, peace, and joy, find out what the Word of God says, and then open your mouth and speak the Word. Eventually the truth will override and change your feelings.

—  Joyce Meyer