God expects us to advance throughout our lives, culminating in the entrance into Heaven, the question worth asking is, “How do we traverse to the next stage of our development and thus reach that next step to our pursuit of Heaven?” I believe one sure fire way is to be in touch with our human desires. As a Christian, I do not believe it selfish to look at our desires. In fact, when we offer our lives to Jesus Christ, He lives in us: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). When we ask ourselves, “What do I want?” we are really questioning God who resides inside us, as He knows us best. Obviously, we can be fooled by the Satan who stimulates the flesh and tries to steer us into desires that do not fulfill the will of God. Therefore, it is important to test our longings with Scripture and a spiritual director or accountability partner. Yet what is forefront in our minds, what we believe we want for ourselves does impact the actions we take and thus influences the goals we achieve. The fruits of our labours are a direct result of the thoughts we think and the desires and feelings that evolve from those thoughts.
Therefore, if we truly desire to change and grow, our old way of life must die. Our old self-defeating thoughts need to die, as do the things in the heart that we love that produce negative or defeating consequences. The combination of old thoughts and feelings means that our old unproductive habits must perish. The transformation of self and the evolution into a new life is made clear is John 12:24: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” As the old ways whither away, new thoughts and feelings, forming new habits effectively launch us into our next phase of being. And as we evolve into a new stage of life, productivity, fruits, and profit emerges. One place to start is considering what your mind is thinking and what you are allowing your mind to absorb.
The mind serves as the control center for the heart. In John 14:1, Jesus teaches us that our minds can shape our hearts through imposing our wills: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” This instruction not permitting our hearts to be troubled presupposes that our hearts are impacted and controlled by our thoughts. Although our lives are shaped in our minds, the heart is the locus of power. An old Irish proverb illustrates this point very nicely: “your feet will bring you where your heart is.” The condition of the heart acts as an invisible force directing our lives accordingly. We need to be watchful moment by moment with attitude of sentinels over the material we intentionally feed our minds. When a negative or corroding thought enters the realm of cognition, God empowers us to act because He has given us the tools to act (2 Timothy 1:7). And our actions need to be fierce to combat the power of evil: “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor 10:5).
When we find our thoughts going astray, God teaches us to steer our minds onto the will of God: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). It is a daily activity to be in continual renewal, feeding our minds and souls with Scripture, sacred songs, biblical affirmations, prayer and meditation. The mind needs feeding with Jesus Christ and filled with Christ over and over; if not, then the world will quickly influence and mold your thinking into its manner and thus affect your actions. And it happens insidiously.