Further Study: Reformation: Thinking New Thoughts

“Many profess to be on the Lord’s side, but they are not; the weight of all their future_studyactions is on Satan’s side. By what means shall we determine whose side we are on? Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Upon whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies? If we are on the Lord’s side, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. We have no friendship with the world; we have consecrated all that we have and are to Him. We long to bear His image, breathe His spirit, do His will, and please Him in all things.” -Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p 262.

“It is the privilege of every soul to be a living channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Savior’s love. All heaven is waiting for channels through which can be poured the holy oil to be a joy and blessing to human hearts.”-Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 419.

Discussion Questions:

  • What terms does Paul use to describe the high calling of God’s people? 2 Cor. 5:18-206:17-18. What do these images mean in practical terms? How do our lives show that this is talking about us?
  • If we are honest, we can read and claim all the Bible promises we want, but unless we make a conscious choice at the moment of temptation to set our minds on the things that we should, we will succumb to temptation. What principles or practices have you found helpful in controlling your thoughts when tempted?
  • What would you respond to someone who says that, “Yes, my thoughts are not always what they should be, but my actions and lifestyle are above reproach”?
  • Along with the wonderful spiritual and doctrinal truths that we have been given as Seventh-day Adventists, we have the health message, as well. How can we learn to better integrate these principles into our lives and into our outreach and witness? What role should the health message have in revival and reformation?


Further Study: Reformation: Thinking New Thoughts — 7 Comments

  1. God protects us night. Day trust Him always even when you may sin because none is perfect. That's why we have Jesus Christ dead to myself alive in Christ Jesus. I love you Jesus. God knows our hearts : ) santita jeffrey adopted McNear

  2. By what means shall we determine whose side we are on? Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Upon whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies?
    to answer these question is just to trust and obey. if we trust and obey THE LORD we are on his side. if we do otherwise then we are on the other side. i hope and pray that we will be on GODS side

  3. Thoughts can be under the Holy Spirit's control. When a thought enters, I can decide whether I want to think about it or not. The choice is mine, but the power to choose rightly comes from God. I pray that He will help me choose rightly today.

    Now, for those stubborn thoughts that seem so hard to get out of the mind, my only help comes from God. Still, the secret lies in turning on the light. When the light is on, the darkness disappears. Choosing good things to think about automatically pushes out the other thoughts that are not good. Thank God for this easy solution! God always answers the prayer for help immediately and will help me think on things that are good and full of light!

  4. Most universities offer a PhD program where the mandate is that the research student who undertakes this program should contribute something new to the body of knowledge in a particular field. A typical PhD program consists of reading a great number of past research papers in the general area of interest, developing a proposal for a new idea, carrying out the appropriate research, publishing and testing the idea with researchers in the same area, and finally writing a thesis to convince the examiners that you have done something useful and know what you have done.

    The key idea is that a research student develops a new idea, but that can only happen when the student understands and can critically evaluate the old ideas. I have a PhD in Computer Science and in my case I took an idea that another person had developed (recovery in persistent systems using directed dependency graphs) and extended it to do something else (concurrency control for transactions in persistent systems). For me, the success of my research depended on me understanding the idea that the previous researcher had developed and seizing the opportunity that it provided to extend its functionality and to do the combination of tasks more efficiently.

    I apologize for all the jargon in the previous paragraph but I wanted to illustrate an important idea related to this lesson. We have been encouraged to think new thoughts in our process of revival. That is a great idea but in order to reach the full potential of new thoughts we need to understand the background. In PhD terms we need to do our literature review. Sometimes we think that when we rattle our brains a bit we have come up with a new idea when all we have done is - well - given ourselves a bit of a headache.

    I do not mean by this that we all need to become scholars. I'm an academic and the model makes a lot of sense to me. You could build an analogous model using the ideas of relationship. Whatever model you use, it makes sense to check out the known or believed, test it, build on it and develop it. Faith is not going to grow by accepting the status quo.

    • Maurice, if the status quo you are referring to in your last sentence is where our spiritual lives presently are then I fully agree. After all, a tree that stops growing is a dead tree.

      I do think though that we have to be careful not to carry the concept you presented into areas where it doesn't apply. For instance, the terms "liberal" and "conservative" are relational terms that depend on the status quo which may be good or bad. That means that being a liberal that seeks change can be on either side of the controversy depending on what he/she wants changed. So to me change for the sake of change is not where we need to be but to change something bad into something good seems to be what Jesus would like to see in us. In this respect we should all be growing and changing constantly.

      • On this idea of "thinking new thoughts", I believe it is in relation to our sinful condition becoming transformed into the likeness of Jesus. It has a specific goal, and yes, includes constant growth "until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts." The new thoughts are acceptable to God where the old thoughts were not. It is passing from death to life by receiving Jesus for all that He is to the sinner, and believing on His name.

        This will lead to advancement in holiness and a growing understanding of God's word and will by each believing soul. I like the illustration of the PhD program, and indeed, we take what those before us have been taught of God and grow from it. We have more light than any previous generation, enough to fulfill the perfect will of God and be made fit for translation from this world to heaven. We only lack the faith if this is not our present condition.

        You mention liberal and conservative Tyler, and my thinking has always been that neither label must apply in general, but for each of us, in specific ways. I can be too liberal and too conservative at the same time on different issues. Balance is the key. Jesus could not be called liberal or conservative, except by those who differed either way. Jesus was perfectly balanced in every regard and promises us the same perfect balance if we will be yoked together with Him. It's the perfect plan and remedy for learning to think new thoughts, by having this mind which was also in Him.

        Through Christ, God had given each sinner a choice.

  5. Both liberal and conservative Christians need to apply the principle of growing and developing their relationship with Jesus. My original message was not an invitation to shrink our understanding or relationship. Nor was it an invitation to change to anything we like.

    I think that sometimes we draw the dividing line between liberal and conservative Christians too deeply and apply the stereotypes unnecessarily. All Christians can benefit from revival and development irrespective of how others classify them.

    The model that I described in my earlier message is about moving forward to revival and applies the approach of evaluating where we are and how we got there before we "think new thoughts" Such an approach reduces the potential of changing for changes sake. The methodology applies to all Christians.

    Ellen White laid down in the principle when she said, "We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history." (several sources)


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