Faith, The Key TO Joy Pt3: Thinking Differently

Faith, The Key TO Joy Pt3: Thinking Differently

We need to think differently.

But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”.

What is it that would drive a group of 25 men in Syria, during the time of the Isis occupations that were sweeping the land, to purchase for themselves a graveyard to bury one another in for the almost certain death that would come for the preaching of the gospel of Christ?

What would drive a young father, recently turned to Christ from Islam, to hand out Bibles outside of a Mosque in Mosul, the ancient city of Nineveh in Iraq, again during the very time Isis had already claimed dominance in the area? 

One a Friday morning, as was biographed by his young wife Khadija, Shukri, her husband, had told her that the Lord had awoken him that morning and told him that he was going to see him that day. 

While the graveyard in Syria, purchased by those 25 Christians, was still empty as of the recording of the event, Shukri’s lifeless and tortured body was buried under a shallow patch of sand.

Of his story his wife wrote;

I share these words several months after I lost my beloved Shukri. I am not sure I would have been able to compose myself and voice my feelings before now. I ache for him. It’s hard to put into words how much I miss my husband. He loved me with the love of Christ. And little Sarah and Walid were lost without their loving abu! But the Lord’s grace is rebuilding their shattered hearts. Yet, you must know this: We are not leaving. God put us in Iraq, and here is where we will stay. Perhaps you, too, have been called to persist at something God has called you to. I am convinced it is our duty as servants of the Most High to stay, go, or continue doing whatever He says until He tells us otherwise.[1]

Beloved, there are tens of thousands, if not millions, of such testimonies as these in the last 2000 years, but what has changed in the thinking of such people to be willing to do things so contrary to the “self-preservation” motivations of the unbelieving world?

We often hear a version of the “prosperity gospel” preached that says something like, “Become a Christian and your life will be better”, “you’ll be happy and everything will go well for you”.

The “thinking” here is no different to what the world is motivated by, but the truth of it is not found in the same way, it is found through a difference in our thinking of the reality of life, the reality of God, of the fallen world, of our lost condition, of Christ and our salvation.

Our minds were first “Renewed” when we believed the Gospel, but what happens to many of us soon after? 

We get saved and cross that spiritual Jordan and we have battles before us and behind us. Struggles begin and life seems to get harder not easier, sometimes sadder not happier, at least until our thinking changes, at least until our minds are renewed all the more and we are motivated to REALY BELIEVE the Bible and all it teaches.

As we do so, we can’t help but see in the bible that our lives are indeed to be filled with joy and so we wonder why it is that it does not often seem to be the case.

Why are there men who are willing to purchase a graveyard to bury one another in for the joy of the gospel?

Why was Shukri’s body discovered with his right hand sticking out of the ground pointing toward heaven with a smile on his face? 

And why are there so many Christians in prosperous western nations contrasted by a more miserable disposition in their lives, when they ought to have joy?


Here we have those willing to literally give their very bodies for the sake of Christ, but others not even willing to endure the slightest risk of discomfort for the ministry of Christ?

When opportunity comes their way to attend to the work of the Lord, all manner of excuses are offered up, and so they remain miserable and wonder why those giving everything for the Lord are so joyful.

Beloved, we must learn to THINK DIFFERENTLY.

James 1:2

2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Says James.

Romans 8:18

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Says Paul

1 Peter 3:14

14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; Says Peter;

What is going on? Clearly we must need to ‘THINK DIFFERENTLY’ 

As Paul stated in our passage this morning, “But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”.

Turn to;

Ephesians 4:21–24

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Our previous life of ignorance could not see how the world REALLY IS, nor how life REALLY WORKS. We were indeed “corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” and now we have been given eyes to see and ears to hear, but we struggle! 

This passage indicates that we need to PUT OFF the old, and, through the renewing of the spirit of our minds, we are to PUT ON the new.

We ought to think differently about life.

The Bible tells us about how both life and the world REALLY WORKS. The Bible is the ONLY source that reveals to us the REALITY of all that pertains to this life, and so it seems that it is OUR MINDS THAT MUST BE RENEWED.

Romans 1:28 tells us of the natural state of the world saying;

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

The “reprobate mind” clearly does NOT have the capacity to understand how the world REALLY WORKS, but that SHOULD NOT DESCRIBE YOU AND I.

We came to believe the Gospel and were saved, how is it that we turn back?

Turn back to Romans 8

Romans 8:5–6

5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

If you are born again, if you have the Spirit of God in you are naturally now “spiritually minded”, you can both please God and have life and peace. 

BUT, by refusing to “think differently”, that is, to renew your minds, you run the risk of backsliding to that ‘Carnal mindset”

Paul rebukes the Corinthian churches because they are being carnal in their behaviours and trust, turn forward to;

1 Corinthians 3:1–3

1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Even in the days of Paul, Christians would not grow in their faith, they would refuse to have a “Renewal of their minds” that they may live pleasing God in life and peace!

We see that this is not a MODERN PROBLEM, nor do we see it as a GEOGRAPHIC PROBLEM, nor do I believe it has ANYTHING to do with our culture or economy. 


Romans 12:1–3

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 


Think Differently About the Body

It is of interest that Paul first deals with our bodies and how it is to be presented to God;

Romans 12:1

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

We see our bodies are to be presented as a “Living Sacrifice”. This is incredible. We find it a matter of interest that this is considered here in the text as a “reasonable service.

It would seem that our very bodies are not neglected in the consideration of Renewing Our Minds, we need to THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT OUR PHYSICAL BODY. 

Jesus Christ gave his body as a sacrifice in death, likewise we OUGHT to give our bodies as a living sacrifice

Peter wrote of a direct correlation between Jesus and ourselves in 1 Peter 2, and relaying such sacrifices as “spiritual Sacrifices”. Turn there with me;

1 Peter 2:1–5

1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the wordthat ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

We see first of all that it is “the sincere milk of the word” of God through which we are to “grow thereby” and note the link between the literal sacrifice of Christ and how we “also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Romans 12:1b that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Beloved, the Bible does certainly teach us that our Bodies are the physical temple of the Holy Spirit, Paul dealing with the Corinthians who have defiled their own bodies wrote;

1 Corinthians 6:18–20

18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

The Temple of God in the Old Testament was a structure that was suited architecturally, structurally and beautifully to house the Spirit of the Living God as he dwelt among the people of God. 

Our Bodies are the physical temples of the Holy Spirit of God today. 

We ought to THINK DIFFERENTLY about our bodies. 

On the one hand we are not to worship our bodies, but we certainly are not to defile it!

If we are to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice”, We ought to CARE for our bodies. 

We defile ouR bodies in several ways;


The text in 1 Corinthians 6 speaks of the body being defiled through “Fornication”. 

Simply put, fornication is sex outside of the covenant of marriage. The passage does not speak flippantly respecting this, it is noted here as a sin against the body. 

Sex is precious under the covenant of marriage. It is treated as a defiling act otherwise. 

It is not ONLY fornication however, any sexual act that involves the body that is not in accord with its original design, DEFILES THE BODY.

Sin against the Body will stifle your walk with the Lord through guilt beloved. It can’t be helped other than by restraint or marriage.  


What do You Put IN your bodies?

The passage in Romans states we are to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice”,

What do you put into your bodies that defiles your bodies? Let’s consider the Inner Chambers of the Temple. 

We speak here of both quantity and content, what you eat, what you drink, how do you nourish the Temple of God? Do you defile it?

 We ought to think differently concerning our bodies. 

Again, if we neglect this change in how we think about our bodies, guilt is sure to stifle our faith.

What Do You Put ON you body?

Our minds also need to be renewed respecting What you put ON your bodies this too defiles your body.

Here we deal with the appearance of the outer layer of the temple of God. We can speak of both the PERMANENT alterations and the TEMPORARY ONES.

I am finding it quite astounding how many Christians there are that are tattooingtheir bodies these days. 

God calls us to separate from this pagan world, but such practices aligns Christians to it. They purposefully and permanently mark themselves to defile God’s temple in this way and OUGHT to THINK DIFFERENTLY about it. 

Leviticus 18 has the Lord desire that his people would not after the doings of the pagan world that are being judged by God; (See Leviticus 18:3)

This permanent alteration of the outer layer of the Body is spoken of in the 19thChapter and verse 28;

 Leviticus 19:28

28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

These acts included piercings in the flesh and marks printed under the skinfor both memorial and the appeasement of the gods for those who recently died. 

Those who belong to Christ do not replicate these acts nor defile their bodies in such ways, but are rather present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

We do not have time to deal with this in detail, and many today have made these permeant alterations to their bodies BEFORE they were truly born again, but what greaves me most are those who do so AFTER they were saved.

If such things have been attended to prior to your salvation, remove that which you can, but add no more.

That was the permanent aspect of the out layer; but there is also the temporal as both men and particularly women have so little respect for their own bodies that they shamelessly adorn themselves with clothing that may as well have been painted on. 

Beloved, discretion should be the minimum requirement when it comes to public apparel. 

The Temple was indeed be beautiful in its appearance, but it did not betray what is behind its covering to the public, but to those whose right it is.

We ought to think differently concerning our Bodies. For it is indeed the Temple of the Holy Spirit. 


Think Differently About The Soul

Romans 12:2

 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Before we were saved we lived in the world, thought like the world, were conformed to the world and thought little to nothing out the soul. Indeed, few of us even believed there was such a thing. 

Beloved, we ought to think differently concerning our soul.

We began by faith, trusting the Lord has saved us, we must indeed trust him completely that he will keep us unto the end.

If you have believed the Gospel, you now HAVE eternal life. 

I will not spend this point giving all the scriptures that confirm this. The passage I just quoted is in itself more than enough, But I will spend some time to talk of that change of mind that needs to occur respecting our sorrow for sin while we are saved.


The greatest battle in the Christian life is his struggle with sin in life. Indeed, it is this wrestling that is the greatest single testimony that the person is born again, but it is also this wrestling that is the cause of much of his grief and sorrow.

If we are not willing to learn of our new state, and learn that something truly has changed in our lives, even that this “STRUGGLE” with sin (and “Struggle” being the operative word) is probably the greatest testimony that something very significant has changed in you.

Indeed, if there was now NO STRUGGLE with sin, but life goes on as it did before in relative ignorance, you may not have the Spirit of God in you.

 Something has changed. Our desire for sin has changed. Our new desire is to obey God, but we find ourselves unable to do so perfectly and so often fall in our sin and remain fallen.

Like a fighter who has hit the deck and awaits the ‘ten-count’, but not realising he has already won.

So what is it that we need to think differently concerning our soul?

If we will not understand the change that has occurred in us if we don’t read our Bibles. In the Bible are the answers to the change that has occurred, and through the Bible you have the opportunity to deal with these issues and grow thereby.

Romans 7:14–18

14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

Though it seems confusing on the surface, this passage in the book of Romans is one of the most comforting passages in the Bible respecting the struggle Christians have with the flesh nature within.

Paul here brings an understanding of the wrestling of the flesh from verse 14, and he makes clear that there has been a real and genuine change in the life of those who have been born again. 

Verse 15 he speaks of those things concerning his will and what he permits, and compares them to what he actually does that is not in accord with either his will or what he permits;

Romans 7:15

15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

Though the passage may sound confusing, there is simply no better or shorter way to describe what Paul is referring to and what the answer is. 

There has been in you an actual change of affection and desire to the point that you recognise yourself doing things you do not wish nor desire to do. 

Now while that sounds like a contradiction, it is in fact consistent with the dual nature that now resides in you. 

Keep your finger here, but turn to Galatians 5.

Galatians 5:16–18

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Understanding the TRUTH of the present state of your soul, and believing what you read by FAITH, in every way helps you to live in the hope that is set before you.

Please understand, though the passage explains why it is that you still sin, IT DOES NOT GIVE LICENCE to entertain sin. But the passage does help us understand that our experience has an answer in the Scriptures and we ought to trust Jesus to help that our lives may be full to do his will.

You now live in a completely different constitution where you are to TRUST completely in Christ to preserve you, and continue to live your life sharing the hope of our LORD.

Thinking Biblically about our lives enables us to truly live life to the full. Sin steals our joy like a thief, but believing the truth of our state in Christ enables us to live with abundance.

Jesus said;

John 10:10

10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Provision has been made for sin, and its culmination is in Jesus.

Consider that change of mind and remember who it is that will deliver you.

Romans 7:22–25

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Again, there is too much to unpack here. For those who desire to learn more on it I have preached entire sermons on this passage in the Romans Commentary a few years ago.

My desire is only that you would FIRST believe BY FAITH what has occurred to you as a true Christian. And that you might deal with Sin as it is written.

Be Transformed By The Renewing Of Your Mind

Romans 12:1–3

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

How will you have joy in these days we live if you will not RENEW YOUR MINDS?

The preferred transportation system for the underground network of Bible smugglers in Somalia was with men carrying their goods in coffins under the body of a corpse.

Such was the testimony of Azzam. He knew that there was a superstitious foreboding  among Somali Muslims to be near a corpse, let alone open the lid of a coffin. 

Azzam testified that, “Under dead people, Bibles could get to believers and saints in Somalia.” Apparently, none have ever been caught doing this, but there were more than a few times that the coffin reached its destination with two corpses inside.

Again, I ask you, what changes in the thinking of a person who so loves Jesus that he is willing to give his body for the sake of the Gospel?

Your personal life is the first that must be changed and I only addressed the smallest handful of issues. My desire was to challenge you all to THINK DIFFERENTLY.

It begins by a change of attitude.

Beloved, the days before us are going to be far more challenging than the days recently past. YOU MUST LEARN TO THINK DIFFERENTLY. YOU MUST BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MINDS.


that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.



Read your Bibles and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.

Learn to think differently about EVERYTHING.

[1] Doyle, Tom. Killing Christians (p. 100). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.


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