June 23, 2017
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6
Pursuing what God desires frees our mind, while pursuing what the body desires enslaves it.
Probably the most common response to a failure (from ourselves or others), is the question: “What were you thinking?” I’ve heard it all too often, and said it to myself hundreds of times.
One of those times was back in 5th grade, when my mom signed us boys up for a new sports league happening in our town called soccer. (Yes, I know it has been around for centuries, but our town never seemed to know about it before the 70s.) I had a lot to learn that first year, but found myself playing goalie, fullback, and midfield because of my height and strong leg. It was INCREDIBLE! I enjoyed it far more than football, and picked up the game quickly. Our coach had a basic rule for us on defense: kick that ball out of our zone! Don’t worry about passing or dribbling, just kick it out of there.
Later in the season, we were tied with the number one team in the league, and playing well in the second half. Their best guy was attacking from the right wing, and as center fullback I came up to challenge him. Somehow, I was able to steal the ball from him, and felt the best plan would be to kick it back toward my goalie, so he could boot it out of our side. Well you can see where this is going … instead of listening to the single instruction, I kicked it back toward our goalie, who was not in position to receive it, and the ball went into the net. We lost that game because of that one mistake! And that ended our chance of winning the league.
My coach was quite patient with me … for about 30 seconds. He made a substitution, and got down to my level, and said: What were you thinking? I sheepishly tried to explain what I was doing, and he listened, then coached me well on WHY you don’t ever kick the ball toward your goal. (At least not at that level of soccer anyways.) That was one of many times I discovered that justifying my own thinking can turn out shortsighted, and wrong. Better to listen to a coach!
Paul writes to the Roman Church that our minds can convince us of many wrong things – all of which can lead to big losses. Instead of trying to reason for ourselves what to do, we should listen to the Coach (the Holy Spirit), who has a far better perspective on things. His instructions are for our good, and for the good of the team, and by following them it leads to great wins!
Be careful how much you trust your own reasons for things, especially when they go against your coach, or your authority, or especially God’s Spirit. There’s a good chance they know better than you what is best for the team, and how to avoid painful mistakes. Better that you were acting on obedience than making your own decision and hearing: What were you thinking!?!?