I’m always amazed at the effect someone’s thinking and mindset have upon their everyday life. Recently I’ve been trying to get in shape and have been spending more time in the gym and pool. Over time I’ve seen my lap times go down, and the weight I can lift go up. That’s all very encouraging. But every once in a while, I arrive for a workout with a pessimistic mindset. I will say to myself ‘I feel slow today’ and, just like that, my lap times increase. Or I say to myself, ‘I feel weak and tired,’ and again, I lift less and cut my workout short. I could be ill or suffering from sleep deprivation, but it is also possible that I have bought into a lie that impacts my life.
While studying the life of the Christian thinker Francis Schaeffer, I became challenged by a particular question he wrestled with:
I wonder what would happen to most churches and Christian work if we awakened tomorrow, and everything concerning the reality and work of the Holy Spirit, and everything concerning prayer, were removed from the Bible. I don’t mean just ignored, but actually cut out—disappeared. I wonder how much difference it would make?
It’s a profoundly challenging thought because the essence of the question strikes at the heart of our thought life and God’s role within it. How powerful is God, and what difference does that reality make to my struggles? How willing is God to communicate with me, and does that knowledge impact my prayer life? How capable is God of changing my relationships, the Church community and the heart of human beings toward His Gospel? The answer to these questions very much depends upon our view of God. Is it possible that our thinking and mindset, particularly if we don’t trust what God says of Himself, limits our lives as Christians?
The challenge for us this morning is to ask ourselves ‘how does our behaviour reflect our knowledge of God?’ If we don’t see the results we would expect from the Christian life, perhaps it is because we don’t believe they are possible. Let us go back, and both re-examine and respond to the reality that we are now in a relationship with our God who can throw a mountain into the sea.