A mindset is a way of thinking that can be developed and shaped by experiences, but overall shapes how we view our world and how we shape our lives. We are talking about the right mindset for a believer in Jesus today as we live in a culture that does not encourage faith in Jesus Christ, but rather discourages faith in Jesus. The right mindset for a believer in Jesus is formed by the Bible, experience with God, and viewing our lives and the lives of others through the wisdom God teaches. Not all mindsets are the same.
Today we continue a 5-week blog series (2 of 5) that will focus our attention on a basic truth that not all of us want to admit. We no longer live in a Christian nation and we are living in a land where God is not the priority and just about everything in our culture is designed to pull us away from God. If you are a ‘believer in Jesus Christ’, you are absolutely living in a foreign land. We do not live in a nation rooted in Biblical values, but rather we live in Babylon. Babylon has a completely different mindset than what is presented to us in God’s Word for those of us who are citizens of the Kingdom of God.
WE LIVE IN BABYLON, ‘FAITH FOR EXILES,’ Kinnaman & Matlock, 2019, pages 21-24
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ living in the United States today you are caught between two ways of living. There are two ways at war in our society and they most of the time do not get along and do not mesh.
The first way is what is described in the Bible as the way of life in God’s Kingdom. A relationship with God is prized as well as morality and purity and the desire of God to redeem whole families and neighborhoods and for everyone to come into His Kingdom. Believers in God take their definitions of life from the Creator. Believers in God look to Him for answers to vexing questions about life because life is confusing! This first way roots identity and sexuality and politics and money and raising children and all aspects of life in the purposes of God and follows His designs.
The second way is against the purposes of God. The prevailing attitudes and collective values and assumptions about human purpose are not based on God’s Word or God, but rather on self. Babylon teaches that we cannot live with people who are different than us because those people are intolerant and must be punished. Babylon says that sex and sexuality is defined by us and the movements of our own hearts. Technology and the opinion of the masses and the loud minority teach us how to live wisely.
3 BOYS AND A KING: MINDSET OF ASSURANCE IN GOD
We find Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (in Daniel 3) caught between what their faith in God tells them and what the king of the land tells them. The Kingdom of God says one thing and Babylon says another. King Nebuchadnezzar sets up a large statue and everyone is supposed to bow down and praise him and pray to him. It came time to bow down and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not. Everyone is bowed down but them.
They felt that they could not and should not.. Their values based on the Word of God stated that they should have no other gods before God in Heaven. Their beliefs stated that they should not worship idols as gods or pray to anyone or anything else other than the God of Heaven. You and I know those beliefs as part of the 10 commandments. I want to be clear on this that this is a big deal. Bowing down to another so-called-god is a big deal. It is a line that God drew in the sand that believers in Him should not cross. This was not minor pressure, but a major deal.
The values of Babylon in which they lived stated that the king was to be worshipped and prayed to and you were to tow the line or you would be punished. You are to worship as the king commands. The king and the state come above religious beliefs. The punishment was pretty severe in that they would be tossed into a fiery furnace to end their lives. Any punishment that ends your life is severe.
How did they respond?
DANIEL 3:16-18 (ESV): 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
What does their response to King Nebuchadnezzar tell us about their mindset?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had a mindset of assurance in God. Everything in their culture was telling them to bow down to idols and pray to a false god and yet they could not. They remained faithful to Truth. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had assurance that God would deliver them from the trial. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego also state that even if they are in the midst of punishment and perhaps are not sure of the outcome, they still will not bow down. They anchored themselves in God and assured themselves of His faithfulness. They will be faithful because they believe God to be faithful. That is powerful faith. I personally believe their statement of their assurance in God is the most profound statement of faith in the whole Bible.
What we are talking about with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is not theory. It is not theory for us! This is practical living based on being sure in God in Christ. You and I are living in Babylon and we are encouraged and told that adopting certain beliefs or values are no big deal and yet those practices and beliefs draw us away from God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego teach us to side with God and be assured that He is right. He is correct.
Now, I am not talking about things that do not matter. I am talking about in the major no-room-for-debate areas in which we are caught in the middle.
Authority of the Bible and the presence of Absolute Truth
Abortion Rights and the Rights of Newborns
Definition of Marriage and the Epidemic of Living Together (cohabitation)
Gender Fluidity and Same Sex Attraction
American Politics and its damaging mix with Christianity
Racism and Black Lives Matter and White Privilege and Social Justice Issues
These things matter in our society and it matters what we believe and how we act. It matters that we are yoked with God and not with the culture. God must dictate what and how we believe about these issues and we must be assured that He is right and good and correct even when our culture tells us we are wrong and evil and incorrect. We must side with God even if our own hearts tell us otherwise.
Our mindset must be that we stand our ground with God and be assured He is right. This mindset is not based on emotions or experiences, but rather on God, His faithfulness, and the Truths presented in His Word.
APPLYING THE RIGHT MINDSET
Our mindset must be that we stand our ground with God and be assured He is right. This mindset is not based on emotions or experiences, but rather on God, His faithfulness, and the Truths presented in His Word. Our mindset must be that God has placed us where we are to seek His wisdom from the Bible and to then share that wisdom with those around us. We to this with gentleness and respect and know that our culture is in upheaval.
This mindset should be applied when we are on social media. Just because you read it and it sounds good to you does not mean that it is true or should be posted. Our culture tells us that you can do anything or say anything from behind a computer screen. That simply is not true. You can sin behind a computer screen just as you can face-to-face. God does not want you sharing garbage from the internet just because you think it sounds true. Share truth… God’s truth… with the people around you and do it with gentleness and respect.
This mindset should be applied when we are dealing with groups that may be pushing agendas opposite of our beliefs. Speak up and stand up for God and let the rest go by.
This mindset should be applied to extracurricular activities. If you are a coach or a leader, bring your values and God to your team with you and do not keep them separate. Don’t schedule practices on Wednesday nights. Avoid Sunday practices and games. Bring the kids along with wisdom from the Bible. Instill in the team that their identity is not found in the sport, but from God Who made them and fashioned Him in His image. Make character count rather than pushing the kindergartener to make a lifetime commitment to a sport so they can make money and be successful.
Your mindset matters as you live in a culture that wars against your Biblical beliefs. Pretty much everything is designed and is conspiring to distract you, impact you, and draw you away from God. You need to be ready. You need to prepare your children. You need to prepare your grandchildren.
Prepare by having the right mindset. Our mindset must be that we stand our ground with God and be assured He is right. This mindset is not based on emotions or experiences, but rather on God, His faithfulness, and the Truths presented in His Word.