Charles Stanley - A Clear Mind
Are you one of those persons who's just sorta satisfied getting by in life? Maybe you're a little passive and you sort of accept things as they are and whatever is handed to you is what you accept in life. Or, are you one of those persons who really strives to do your best at everything you do in life in every area of your life? Deep down inside of you, you have this insatiable hunger to know what God would have you do with your life. You have this passion of self-discovery. You wanna know what you could possibly do, what the possibilities are, what your potential is in life.
In other words, you're just not satisfied being where you are, doing what you're doing and simply sitting on the highway side of life and just letting things go by. You wanna see something happen in your life. You want to achieve something, you wanna accomplish something. There's somebody you want to become. You have a desire deep down inside of you to discover what your real potential is in life and then to seek to fulfill that potential in becoming the person God wants you to be, doing the things that God wants you to do, reaching the goals that God would have you reach in your life.
Well, that's what I wanna talk about in this message and this is the second message in our series entitled "How To Reach Your Full Potential". And the first message dealt with the issue of "A Clean Heart". Without a clean heart, you'll never reach your potential in life no matter who you are and what you do or how hard you may try. The title of this message is different. This has to do with a clean, listen, not only a clean heart, but "A Clear Mind". A clean heart, yes, but a very clear mind... how you think. And I want you to turn if you will to First Corinthians, chapter two. The Apostle Paul is comparing the spiritual life from that which is not spiritual, comparing the Christian to the non-Christian.
In fact, he calls the non-Christian "the natural man". And those of us who are believers, we're spiritually minded people. And so he's talking about how we understand through the work of the Holy Spirit. Then he says in verse fourteen, "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; because they are foolishness to him, he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised". That is, a person who does not have the Holy Spirit naturally does not understand spiritual things.
Now sometimes we'll think they do but they don't. Then he says, "But he who is spiritual appraises understands all things, as the Spirit gives him guidance yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct him"? Of course no one. Then he says, "But we have the mind of Christ". Now most people don't believe that. Listen to what he says. "We have the mind of Christ". Now, when you think about that, what an awesome statement that is, that we have the capacity to think the way the Lord Jesus Christ thinks. We have the way to think, listen, not only the way He used to think but the way He thinks now. And when I look at that passage and see what that means, it certainly means that you and I have the capacity to view things as the Lord Jesus Christ views them. To see things as He sees them not necessarily as the world sees them.
And when you think about it you realize that God has to give us that capacity. He has to grant us the capacity to think the way He thinks. He says we have the mind of Christ. That is, the Holy Spirit indwelling you, enables you to think the way God thinks. To see things from His perspective, to perceive things as they really are. To see them not as the world sees them, but to see them just the way He sees them. Now to say we have the mind of Christ doesn't mean that we are omniscient, we don't know all things. We don't know everything perfectly. But giving us the mind of Christ He's given us the capacity to think the way our Lord thinks.
So when you think in terms of your mind, how you think, what grabs your attention, what influences you. The way you think, listen, the way you think is the result of what you allow into your mind and what you've allowed into your mind has governed where you are at this point in your life. In other words, you don't like where you are? You don't have to stay there. You wanna change that? God gives you the capacity, listen, to discover what He wants to do in your life. Because a clear mind can discern the will of God, can discern the mind of God, if you really and truly want that for your life. So think about it for a moment.
Here's this awesome mind that you have. And God has given you this ability and capacity to think the way He wants you to think. To think about the way He wants you to think about your future, your life, what He has in mind, where He wants you to go, what He wants you to do. Now what have you been doing with that mind all these years? Have you been ignoring the God who created it? Have you been making decisions on your own? Have you decided that you're gonna live your life the way you wanna live it? Or has it ever occurred to you that the best life, the best life you can possibly live is the life that the Living God who created you, who is a God of goodness and love and mercy and kindness.
This God created the best pattern and the best plan possible for you. If you will line up with His will and think the way He thinks, you will follow His will, follow His course and achieve and become and accomplish. And you're going to enjoy life. You're gonna see things happen in your life that you never dreamed would happen because you've lined up with the will of God and now you're thinking the way the Living God thinks. Well, what about it? Is that what you want in life? Or have you chosen not to think that way? Well, when I think about what this mind is like and what we can possibly do, what we can achieve, what we have to ask is this. How can we acquire a clear mind? How can I do that?
So I wanna do two things. I wanna talk about how to acquire a clear mind. Then I wanna talk about how to maintain it. Now maintaining it is a big challenge, but acquiring, you can have a clear mind. You can think the way God thinks. You say, Well, how does that come about? This is the way it comes about. It comes about by a personal, listen carefully, by a personal relationship with God whose mind is perfectly clear. The Bible says that "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all". That is, He is absolute purity. That He dwells in unapproachable light. Which means is that the purity of God and the holiness of God, the absolute clear clarity of the mind of God, that He is such a person that His holiness and His absolute purity and perfection is such that we could not even approach Him.
When the Bible speaks in unapproachable light doesn't mean some light like a light bulb or even the sun. But it is the holiness and the purity and the righteousness of God. That is, that's who He is. And so when you and I place our trust in Him as our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ and His death at Calvary, what happens? Something happens. When we do that, the Bible says that we are born again. What does it mean "born again"? Well the very idea speaks about something new. And that is when we're born again the Bible says we're forgiven of our sins. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and, listen to this, we have a new nature. "Old things are passed away now the things have become new".
And what happens when the Holy Spirit comes to indwell you, when you're saved, that Spirit of God comes within your life in order to do what? To enable you to become the person God wants you to be, achieve the things God wants you to achieve in life, to be fruitful and productive. That is, to reach your potential in life, that's what He's up to. And to do so in a way that'll bring honor and glory to God. So you say, "How do we acquire this? How do we acquire this clear mind"? Placing our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, developing a relationship with God, our sins are forgiven. We have a new nature, we have a new beginning and God begins a new start in your life and mine.
Old thing, listen, all of our sins are forgiven, we're justified, declared no longer guilty. We are reconciled, brought into a right relationship with Him, welcomed into His family. Our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. We're sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise unto the day of redemption. We are from that moment on the eternal sons of God. Now the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us to do what? To live through us the life of Christ.
Now think about this. If it is the will and purpose and plan of God that the Holy Spirit live through us the life of Christ, then we have the mind of Christ because we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us and what is He gonna do? He's going to express, listen, He's going to express God's will in us. He's going to express God's will through us. He's going to live out through us the kind of life that our Lord Jesus Christ would live if He were in your family, in this time in life, in your circumstance. He's going to live that out through us. So, when you think about how to acquire it, it is a gift from God. It is a gift that He gives us.
For example, he speaks of the mind of the Spirit in Romans chapter eight, the mind of the Spirit. What is the mind of the Spirit? It's a clear mind. And you remember what Paul said in Philippians in that second chapter he said, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus". Well, what is that? Have this attitude in you. Let this mind be in you. Well, if we couldn't have it He wouldn't have said it. He said, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus". Well, what was the mind of Christ when He was... what He was speaking about? And Jesus was talking about the fact that He came to let in His life as a servant. What was the mind of Christ about Himself? He says, "I didn't come to be served but to serve and to give My life a ransom for many".
Jesus's mind was the mind of a servant. That is, that was His focus. He came to serve mankind. He says He was the Son of Man. He came to lay down His life, to give His life a ransom for that you and I may be saved. Well, that's the way He thought and that is exactly what He did. No matter who you are, if you've trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, when you were born again, He gave you, listen, He forgave your sins, transformed you, gave you a new nature. He indwelt you by the Holy Spirit. Now you have been gifted with the capacity to think with a clear mind the way God thinks about the circumstances of your life and what's going on around you.
Now notice I said the capacity. The capacity is God's gift. Now that becoming a reality in your life, thinking the way God thinks, thinking His thoughts, perceiving things as God sees them, listen, that is our responsibility. The capacity to do so is a gift from God. The actuality of that is my responsibility. I have to make choices. To make choices as to what comes into my mind and what does not. To make choices of confession, repentance of sin or not. So, you have the capacity. The question is, what will you do with it? What will you do with this capacity that God has given you to think right about your life? Because remember what we said. Wrong thinking is not gonna get you where God wants you to go. Right thinking will but wrong thinking is gonna do what? It's like a roadblock. You're not gonna get there.
You say, "Well now, I know some people who are very famous in life and they've done so and so and so and so". Yes, you know what? You probably have. But they've missed their potential. I was thinking this week, thinking about this message. Thinking about people that I know their names, I don't know a whole lot about 'em but it's very evident that they are very capable and very skilled people in so many ways. And then I looked to see what they have invested their skills and their talents and their abilities and their gifts in, things that corrupt human nature. Things that corrupt our society. Things that would tear us down and pull us away from God and destroy young people before it even reached the age, listen, of becoming adults. All of these people who are very, very skilled, what have they done? They have allowed their minds to be so corrupted with evil.
These gifts that God have given, has given them they have turned to those things that listen, that will gratify them, but also oftentimes motivated by greed. Oh there are lots of people out there who have gifts and talents. But what you have to ask is this, where have they placed them? What are, what are they engineering them for? Something that brings them pleasure or brings them wealth at the expense of other people? We're talking about a clear mind, we're talking about the reason God created you. And if all of these people with these gifts and abilities and talents would turn those things to say, "God, how can I turn my gifts and my talents? How can I think Your thoughts"?
Listen. We could turn this globe into paradise to some degree, at least, if all the people with all the gifts and talents and skills out there would turn all of that for God's purpose and for His plan. My, my, my what an awesome change it'd be. But you know what, when the mind gets corrupted, what happens? There are a lot of people out there, and I may be talking to somebody. Man, you've got it. Ma'am, you have it when it comes to all the skills and abilities and talents for your particular area. And as far as you're concerned you're sitting on the top of the world. Lots of prestige, prominence, and all the rest. What does God think about you? Have you turned that for the purposes of God or for personal gain in your life? Are other people suffering and hurting, lives being messed up, fouled up, corrupted by what you're producing? Or is your life invested in such a way that people who hear you, see you, watch you, whatever you're producing in life as a result of what you're producing, what you're manufacturing.
What you're providing. Is that contributing to people's welfare, to their good? Is it enabling them to become the persons God wants 'em to be and achieving the things that God wants 'em to achieve in life? My friend, don't be misled by the fact that just because people have skills and abilities and talents and you think, "Well, they've certainly reached their potential". Until a person invests their life in the will and purpose and plan of God, in such a way to bring Him glory and honor and live, listen, live lined up with the will of God, they do not reach their potential no matter what.
Because many, listen, many of those people are living, listen, they're living in the scum of life. They may have wealth and live in a palatial home, but they're living down there in the scum, spiritually speaking. They are dragging God's given talents and abilities and capacities, listen, for destruction and corruption, not for the up-building of society and up-building of people around them. That's what happens. When a person, for example, who becomes a Christian and you don't maintain a clear mind, not only can you hurt yourself but you can hurt other people. And that is oftentimes the thing that we forget about.
Now, let me just give you about four illustrations here. For example, let's say that you do have a clear mind as best you know and I'm gonna talk about in a moment how to keep it maintained. We're talking about the challenge now. Let's say for example that you come to a situation in life and you feel very depressed. All of a sudden you just get depressed. The clear mind, listen. When a person feels that way, a clear mind would immediately say, "I wanna think about the goodness of God". I could let myself get, "Well you know, things are bad and things are looking bad and mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mm". But then I can think about the goodness of God. A clear mind, listen, a clear mind chooses what he or she thinks. You have that, the capacity to have a clear mind's there. You must maintain it by thinking rightly.
And therefore you get to feeling all depressed and down, think about the goodness of God. A person for example faces a situation and you feel defeat coming on. Then what do you do? You think about the greatness of God. God, You're great enough, powerful enough to see me through this. You can enable me to achieve and to accomplish in this situation. You can turn this for my good. That's what you said in Romans eight, twenty-eight. You're gonna turn everything for my good. So what happens? Things begin to change. Let's say for example that you come into a situation where things look very, very dark. So what do you think about? You think about the closeness of God. "Father, You said You'd never leave me nor forsake me. I may not be able to see my way clear at this point, but I know You're gonna be walking. You're gonna be walking right ahead of me. You're gonna be walking with me. Never leave me nor forsake me. I don't have to be worried about stumbling because I have You".
What are you doing? You're thinking clearly. You're not thinking darkness, you're not thinking depression, you're not thinking defeat. You're thinking the way God wants you to think. Then for example, you just find yourself in a hopeless situation. Do you give into hopelessness and say, "Well you know, I might as well throw up the towel, it's all over". And just walk away. Or do you think about what? The faithfulness of God. The faithfulness of God. Listen, you are never hopeless as long as you have God. You're never hopeless, but you don't have Him without His Son. And when you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you and God become one, you can think the way our Lord thinks.
And you see, Jesus went to the cross. Was He hopeless? No, He was not hopeless. Was He depressed? No, He was not depressed? Was He troubled in His heart? Yes, because they were gonna drive spikes through His hands. His best friends, His disciples, He knew they were gonna leave Him. He was human, but what? He knew exactly what He was gonna face. And what was troubling His heart was that He was gonna have to be separated from the Father. Crucifixion was inevitable, He knew that. He was gonna be separated from the Father. He was gonna bear our sin-debt in His life on that cross which would separate Him from the Father for a season of time. And nobody knows how long that was, whether it was moments or minutes, hours, it makes not, that doesn't make any difference.
The issue is this. He suffered the penalty. Listen, He suffered the penalty for our sins so that we would not have to. He had a very clear mind. He knew exactly where He was going and what He was up to in life. You and I can think rightly no matter what we have to face in life. We think God's thoughts. We have the capacity, we have the mind of Christ. Now either that's true or it's untrue. If that part of the scripture's untrue, what about the rest of it? We have the mind of Christ. Jesus says, Paul said, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus". Thinking in terms of a servant. Now, you say, "Okay, so I agree that it's a challenge. How do I maintain a clear mind if I've got ten thousand thoughts passing my mind every day"?
And three and a half million of them in any given year, how am I gonna keep a clear mind? All right, I wanna tell you how. Here's how you can do it. Well, first of all the Bible says we are to renew our mind. Bringing it back to Truth. Now think about this. It's easy for anyone of us to walk out on any given day of our life in society, wherever we're going, whether it's shopping or whether it's in church, or whatever it may be and your mind drift. It can drift into all kind of thoughts. That's why you should be careful who you're with, where you go, the kind of friends you have, the kind of people you fellowship with. Because they're gonna influence you to some degree, or you're gonna influence them one.
And so what happens? Our minds can drift. If they drift, listen. We live in a worldly system. And all the system of the world is ungodly thinking. That doesn't mean everybody thinks ungodly, but there's, there is a core in this world's system in which we live that's ungodly. And if we don't, listen, if we are not careful. And you see, we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us. And it, listen, it's His job and His responsibility to do what? To bring to our attention when thoughts come our way that don't belong to us. And we're to renew our mind. Let's say some thought comes your way and all of a sudden you grab that thought, Spirit of God convicts you, "That's not who you are". And what? You turn it off, turn it out! You say, "Well, I don't know that I can do that".
You have the capacity to do it, that's a gift of God. Whether you choose to do it or not is something else. Now think about this. Thoughts that come into our mind, there are many of those thoughts don't belong there. Let me give you an example. Let's remind you who you are. Remember what we said who you are as a person? Child of the living God and all those descriptions we gave. Then listen, impure thoughts, they don't belong to you. They don't belong to any of us. Greedy thoughts, they don't belong to us. Selfish thoughts, don't belong to us. Critical thoughts, don't belong to us. Demeaning thoughts, demeaning thoughts don't belong to us. In other words, we could go through a whole list of things that don't belong to us.
So what you have to say is this. When one of those thoughts comes to your mind, remember, here's what you say: "That's not who I am. Cut it off! That's not who I am". Remember who you are. Child of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of living a godly life, bringing Him honor and glory, whether it's in your vocation, in your family, in every single aspect of your life. That's who you are. You and I represent the Lord Jesus Christ here on this earth. We're ambassadors for Him. Wherever you're living. There are some thoughts that don't belong to us. And so what happens? You say, "Well then, how do I maintain this"? You shut it down. It's like turning off the faucet. It doesn't belong, that's not who you are. Ungodly thinking doesn't fit who you and I are.
So what do we do? When it comes, we turn it off. Renewing your mind. When he says don't let the world pour you into its mold. He says because that, for example, that's not who you are. So we have to be continually on guard, that our minds don't drift into that. The second thing I would say is this. You remember the message we preached on spiritual warfare, on putting on the armor of God and talking about satanic attacks. We talked about putting on the armor of God. And so what happens? When I put it on, I think about it in this way: Put on the helmet of salvation. Put on the helmet first, why? 'Cause that guards my thinking. Very important. And this is why I say to you over and over again, before you get up in the morning, what do you do? You put on the helmet of salvation.
"God, I want you to guard my thinking today. I wanna think clearly, I wanna think the way You think". And so we put it on. Then for a course, he says in Colossians three, the first couple of verses. "Set your mind on things above, where Christ is seated at the Father's right hand. Set your mind upon the Lord". For example, you get up in the morning, there are lots of thoughts gonna go through your mind. But if you start the day off saying, "Lord, I yield my life to You today. I want You to live Your life in me, through me. I wanna be the person You want me to be today. I want to achieve the things You want me to achieve".
You've set your mind on God to begin with. Or, one of the best things you can do and I've said it over and over again is at least find a few verses of scripture when you get up in the morning and get your mind thinking godly thoughts to begin with. Set your mind on things above. Here's what that means. While I live with my feet on this earth, and I have to travel around in the system in which you and I live, my feet may be down here but my spirit and my soul, my mind, my heart can be set on things above. If I'm gonna keep a clear mind, I've gotta keep the Lord constantly before me.
And here's what He says. What did Paul see? Says, "Praying always". Somebody says, "You can't pray always". You may not lip it always, but you can be thinking from God's perspective about everything that comes up. He says set your mind on things above where God, the Lord Jesus Christ, holy things, righteous things. Then of course, he says in Philippians 4:8 we're to dwell on good things and he talks about purity and all the rest in verse eight. He says, "Set your mind, think about these things".
So now think about this. You have the privilege and the choice and the capacity to think good thoughts or evil thoughts. You can do that. It's a choice you make. If you're going to have a clear mind, you must make choices. And what you do, you choose to think on what? Things that are good. And then continually remind yourself that you have the mind of Christ. Which says some things don't fit who we are. Now I want you to listen carefully. Watch this. So, let's say some thought comes into your mind that you know doesn't fit who you are, here's what you say: "That doesn't fit who I am. Cut it off".
So, let's get this in our thinking for a moment. A thought comes into your mind, and you know it's not the right kind of thought so what are you gonna say? Well, you're in sad shape. What you're gonna say is, "That doesn't fit who I am". Let's say it together. That doesn't fit who I am. That doesn't fit who I am. You know what? You have the power and the capacity to turn off all wrong thinking in your life because God gave you the capacity to think, listen, think clearly. Those thoughts don't belong to who you are. And you know what? They will confuse, clutter, absolutely corrupt your thinking if you don't deal with them.
Now think about this. Think about the awesome adventure you're on today. Here you are at this point in your life and you don't know what the future holds. God has this potential of what you can become, what you can accomplish, what you can achieve, what you can do in life. And now He's saying to you, "If you could just see what I see, you wouldn't even think about doing anything but obeying Me".
Think about it. If you and I could see what God has in store for us, we wouldn't even think about doing anything other than what's the will of God for our life. You have the potential. You have the possibilities. You have the capabilities. The issue is this. Do you care enough about yourself? And do you love God enough? To keep your heart clean and your mind clear so that you can reach your potential in life, bringing Him honor and glory, and impacting the people around you, everybody around you, in a way, listen, that will point them to Jesus Christ, your Savior, your Lord, your life. And their hope of eternal life to become their life.
And Father, how grateful we are You didn't just create us and tell us to do the best we can. But You're with us every single moment, every second. Enabling us, encouraging us, pointing us on to something better. Challenging us to give our best because You have the best plan for us for all eternity. It's my prayer the Holy Spirit etch this message into every single heart, every soul, every spirit that hears it. And that not a single one who hears it will ever be satisfied with less than our best for Your honor and glory, in Jesus's name, amen.