To win the battle over our thought life we must renew our minds with "upstairs" (heavenly) thinking, defeating the "downstairs" (worldly) thinking so prevalent around us. In Christ, renewing our minds is effortless.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
“Nothing renews your mind like when you start thinking like Jesus thinks.” - Dionne van Zyl.
In Dionne’s recent sermon Living Upstairs, he contrasts “upstairs” (heavenly) thinking with “downstairs” (worldly) thinking. Romans 12:2 encourages believers to no longer “conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” In a performance-based culture, this command sounds like a tall order. It sounds like something to strive for daily, applying massive effort and energy into not thinking like everyone else. But the truth is, Jesus makes the continual renewal of our minds effortless.
When we believed on Jesus, we were made new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Not only were we born again with a new identity, we were given a new nature, His “divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). To top it off, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Therefore as new creations with a divine nature seated next to Christ in heavenly realms, we are identified, qualified and equipped to dwell “upstairs” with Jesus.
Dwelling “upstairs” means our minds are dominated by the perspective of Heaven. We are seated far above the evil powers of this world, above: lust, jealousy, anger, discouragement, depression, violence, self-loathing, fear, and hate. From our vantage point next to Jesus, we see the trials and circumstances of our lives like He does. From a “downstairs” (worldly) vantage point, the hardships appear mighty and overwhelming, but the view from “upstairs” declares the truth: God is bigger and this is an “easy thing in the eyes of the LORD” (2 Kings 3:18).
The renewal of our minds doesn’t require our effort it requires remembering who we are and who our God is. We must remind ourselves of the truth of our identity, our new nature and our positioning far above the problems of this world. As we settle in our minds our true identity and reflect on the magnitude of the God we love, we can think and operate with a renewed mindset. When we ascribe the greatness due our Lord, we are remember how He heals, provides, creates, innovates, leads, holds, protects, and propels us into goodness.
To think like Jesus means to understand that in fact you sit right next to Him looking down at the issues of this world with all the wisdom and truth of Heaven, declaring God’s victory over every battle in sight. When Jesus saved you, He invited you to dwell with Him “upstairs” with His mind, a victor’s mind (1 Cor. 2:16).
To listen to this message from Dionne Van Zyl, please click on the link: https://northlandschurch.com/watch/sunday-morning/living-upstairs.
Jesus, thank you for qualifying and equipping me to think as you do. Thank you that the process of renewing my mind is effortless. Jesus, you keep my mind in perfect peace as I perceive the circumstance of my life as you do, abounding with hope and victory. May my “upstairs” thinking bring tangible glory to your name on this earth.