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. (2 Corinthians 10:5—NKJV)

One of the most dramatic proofs that a person has become born again is the fact that their thinking changes, seemingly overnight. Things (people, preferences) they used to like before their salvation, they suddenly do not like; and things (people, preferences) that they did not like before, they now embrace. Their conversion comes out in their conversation and in their decision-making. 1 John 1:6–7 explains it this way: “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” When invited by their former close friends to partake of the old ways of thinking and acting, their friends will begin to hear them say, “I’d rather do something different!”

Just as there is no man alive who can live very long without burning something (gasoline, electricity, calories), so there is no Christian who will live very long without recognizing that he does not think like the rest of the world (let alone his unsaved neighbor). It is almost like we use the same language but we do not communicate the same values with that language, because we are now from a different culture (a citizen of heaven), and we certainly interact in a different reality (God is now our Father so we share His nature).

The role of the Holy Spirit in the changed mindset must not be understated. The Holy Spirit immediately begins to conform the new believer’s thinking such that he cannot avoid coming to conclusions he would never have come to on his own. 1 Corinthians 2:12–16 states, in part, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God…. But we have the mind of Christ.” The Holy Spirit informs the new believer utilizing the new nature that has been planted within him (2 Peter 1:4, “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”).

Are there any biblical practices that will aid this work of the Spirit? I believe there are principles of discernment which serve as bumper guards to keep every believer’s thinking running straight and true down the alley of godly obedience.

  • The first practice for arriving at eternally useful conclusions is to discern your relationship to your Creator. 2 Corinthians 5:9–10 reads, “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” Individual Soul Liberty arises from the doctrine of personal accountability to a holy Creator for individual actions. It is this relationship to your Designer that identifies your self-worth, your moral imperatives, fundamental critical thinking, and your long-term consistency.
  • The second is to discern the significance of the battle for your thinking. Your thinking determines your eternal usefulness. Romans 8:6, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
  • The third is to discern God’s rules for thinking. Psalm 119:59, “I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies.”
  • The fourth is to discern your own weaknesses. 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” Assess your limitations and own your sinful tendencies, your pride, anxiousness, predilections, impatience, and stubborn willfulness and guard your thinking against them.
  • The fifth is to discern the difference between facts and opinions, reality and rationalization, truth and philosophy (Philippians 4:8).
  • The sixth is to discern biblical thinking patterns (Colossians 3:1–7).
  • The final is to purposely submit your thinking before your Lord. This is the thrust of 2 Corinthians 10:5.

All the barriers, obstacles, and fortresses that human kind erects to keep God out of his thoughts (Romans 1:18–32) cannot be allowed a place in the mind of the thinking Christian. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Trust and obey.