Cultivating a Kingdom Mindset
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
It was just a comment that someone heard and told me, about a person who had left our church and made some unfounded accusations about me and the church. Before I had a chance to catch my breath, my mind was off and running, imagining myself being sued in a court of law, being attacked by a scrupulous lawyer, being pressed by news reporters who wanted to do a smear campaign against me for the national media. The truth was that all of it was ridiculous and I was reminded again just what a battlefield our mind can be.
The Bible is so clear about the importance of having Spirit directed thinking. If we do, we’re told that we will be filled with life and peace. On the other hand, if we allow carnal thinking to take control it will produce death. More and more, I am convinced that every day one of my number one priorities must be to develop a kingdom mindset. It is my choice to think with the mind of Christ, and set my perspective to be in agreement with things, as they are in heaven from God’s point of view. I can choose to see people, circumstances, and even myself from God’s point of view. I can choose to “bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”[i]
I need to be intentional about this. I’ve found that developing a kingdom mindset is like learning a foreign language. I can’t just read about it, hear it, or wish that I knew it. I must study it and repeat the language over and over until one day it sticks. It’s the same with the truth of who I am in Christ and God’s perspective on the world that is revealed in scripture. When I think of how many times I’ve allowed my mind, my imagination, my memory to think and believe lies, I can’t be surprised if it takes a lot of rethinking and reimagining to reprogram it to think the truth.
The exciting thing is that as I pursue this process, I find that God not only helps me get new perspective but He glorious redeems my mind for kingdom victory and purposes. For example, just as my imagination can be used to create fear and dread, under the control of the Holy Spirit it can be an amazing tool to create, faith, victory, and plans to fulfill God’s destiny. I can imagine what a future can be like based on the promises of God and the fact that I am God’s child living with His righteousness. I can imagine the Father holding me and telling me all the things He says in His word about how He loves me and wants to bless my life. I can choose to rethink every negative scenario that comes into my life.
Here are a few great practices for establishing a kingdom mindset in your life today.
1. Intentionally use your memory to help you recount and be thankful for how God has been good to you. It is sad but true that our mind much more easily recalls the negative things. Someone said, “The negative sticks to our minds like Velcro, while the positive tends to land on Teflon”.[ii] For the positive to stick with us, we need to build a platform for it. I find it can take me 10 minutes or more of focus on the positive things God has done before I feel any warm emotions at all, whereas, I can feel bad about a negative memory in seconds.
2. Intentionally choose to put on the lenses of love in deciding how you are going to see the people in your life today. I like to take Philippians 4:8 and say I choose to think “whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely. If there is anything virtuous or praiseworthy I will think on these things”.[iii] Sometimes if I’m having a hard time with a person, I will ask God to give me a picture in my imagination of that person in Jesus’ arms, with Jesus telling them what He wants for them.
3. Use your imagination to imagine the perfect outcome you believe the promises of God would give you reason to hope for, in whatever you are going for in life. Besides the hope this brings, it is also often something that allows God to reveal pathways and options towards reaching that outcome. As Steven Covey said, it is always wise to start with an end in mind.[iv]
4. Choose your declarations. It is simply a fact, that your mind is going to tell you numerous things throughout the day. No doubt some of those things will be fiery darts that Satan will shoot to tempt, discourage, and defeat you. Before your mind has the chance to tell you what to think, you should tell it what God wants you to think. I would recommend at least 10 declarations a day that you speak out loud, the way, I believe Jesus spoke scriptures out loud when Satan tempted him. The tongue is a rudder the Bible says. You can set the course of your thoughts, attitudes, and emotions by speaking. I encourage you to make them highly personal. If you are a person likely to be tempted with impure thoughts, you could say, “I am a person who hates dirty thoughts, I love to think of the opposite sex in ways that honor, give dignity, and respect towards them”.
Create optimism by declaring that you expect God’s promises to be fulfilled. “Today, I expect goodness and mercy to show up in my life at every turn. I expect favor with God and man in everything I attempt to do.” Remember God promises you a “helmet of salvation” that gives the Holy Spirit the right to complete rule over your mind, and protects your mind from the thoughts of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
[i] 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)
[ii] Rick Hanson, Ph.D.
[iii] Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
[iv] Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People