A woman who was called to jury duty told the presiding judge that she was not qualified to serve because she did not believe in capital punishment. The judge said, “You don’t understand, madam. This is a civil case involving a man who spent five thousand dollars of his wife’s money on gambling and other women.” To which the woman replied eagerly, “I’ll be happy to serve, your honor, and I’ve changed my mind about capital punishment.” (Illustrations Unlimited)
Evidently, the woman in the illustration was so angered at what the accused man allegedly did to his wife that she was even willing to change her opinion on capital punishment. This situation helps to explain what influences our point of view. When it comes to matters that arouse our feelings and judgment, we can quickly change our mind.
Think about it: We can change our mind for better or for worse. Eve, for example, changed her mind for worse when she ate of the forbidden tree. She was emotionally moved at the sight of that gorgeous, seductive fruit—so much so that she rationalized that it must make her more the wise, even to be like God, himself. But Adam told her that God said never to eat of it. She also came to believe that they were not even to touch it, lest they die. Eve changed her mind, however, when the serpent lied and said, “You won’t surely die, rather God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” (Gen. 3:1-8, New European Version, NEV). Unlike his wife, Adam was not deceived (2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:14). Instead, he sinned willingly, knowing full well that he was transgressing against God’s command never to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Rom. 5:14). As a result of this sin, we fall into sin and we all die the first death (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22a).
On the other hand, we can change our mind for the better like the Apostle Paul. Before he was converted to Christ, he was Saul the Pharisee who lived according to the strictest laws of this Jewish sect. He was a dangerous threat to anyone who professed to believe in Jesus Christ. He terrorized innocent men, women, and children, entering their homes, having them put in jail, and consenting to their death (Acts 9:1-2). He stood by and sanctioned the bloody death of Stephen, one of the original church deacons, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 6:5-8; 7:54-60; 8:1-3).
Some years later, Paul recounted his former way life to King Agrippa:
So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities. (Acts 26:9-11, New American Standard Bible, NASB)
No doubt, when Paul persecuted the church, he felt he was doing God a favor. He was sincere. He believed he was doing exactly as the law prescribed. But, as he later confessed, he was wrong; totally wrong. Jesus, himself, brought this proud Pharisee to his knees and he came up a changed man. He went on to tell Agrippa,
While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” And I said, “Who are You, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 26:12-15, NASB)
Jesus then told him rise to his feet for the Lord was sending him forth to be a minister and witness to others of what he’d seen and heard. Paul would never be the same again:
So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. (Acts 26:19-20, NASB)
Fascinating, isn’t it? That one can be so dogged and determined that he or she is right yet, in reality, is so wrong. What does this have to say about what we believe? How do we know whether our point of view is wrong or right? Should we totally rely on our feelings or is there something else necessary to change our minds for better, not for worse?
The answers to these questions are important especially when it comes to our conversion to Jesus Christ and his truth. When we first come to accept Christ, we undergo a change—a change that includes the three elements of our personality: intellect, our mind’s ability to know; sensibilities, our mind’s ability to feel; and will, our mind’s ability to choose or act. As the late Dr. Alva Huffer explained it,
The power of decision, therefore, is a function of man’s will. Man’s will is the controlling element of his personality. His will is the spring of all actions, the governing power of moral nature. Intellect provides the target, sensibilities pull the trigger, but it is the will which shoots the arrow. Man’s will is of major importance. (Systematic Theology)
When we submit our will to God’s will, we undergo change based on three conditions: Faith, repentance, baptism:
First we believe by putting our faith in God’s Word through his Son, Jesus Christ: “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God,” (Rom. 10:17).
Then comes repentance: Jesus declared, “I tell you…unless you repent, you will all likewise perish,” Luke 13:3, NASB). Repentance involves the three elements of our personality: intellect since it includes our knowledge that we are sinners (Rom. 6:23); sensibilities since it includes our feelings of regret and remorse (James 4:8-10); and will since it involves a renunciation of sin in our lives (Col. 3:8-14; Eph. 4:18-32).
Next is baptism in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of sins. Baptism is an ordinance of Christ and it is commanded as part of the conversion experience (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16). The early church taught that baptism is essential for a believer: “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let each of your be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 2:28; also 1 Peter 3:21). True baptism, according to the scriptures, is immersion in water as the meaning of the term denotes (baptizo, “to dip, to immerse, to sink”) and as it was practiced in the early church (John 3:23; Matt. 3:16; Acts 8:38-39). Sprinkling is not baptism. Immersion in the waters of baptism is symbolic of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:4-5; Col. 2:12).
Conversion is a mind changing process that enables us to grow in the grace and knowledge of God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter said, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (2 Pet. 3:18). This includes daily reading and study of God’s Word, so that we need not be ashamed as Christians, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17).
Our life in Christ is one continual journey of change and transformation through the Power we receive in his name. It affects not only our minds (Rom. 12:2; 1 Cor. 2:16) but our hearts (Psalm 51:10; 2 Cor. 7:10) and our conduct (Eph. 4:17-32). Sometime in our lives, we might realize that what we once believed to be true, is really false; what we once thought to be right is really wrong. We must be open minded to change while at the same time convicted in the truth of God’s Word and what it teaches us so that we will not be led astray and deceived just as Eve.
The whole goal of allowing Jesus to change us is based on the hope we have in him. As he changes us to be more like him each day, our minds are fastened on the goal of winning the prize awaiting us at his return: Phil. 4:13-15; Col. 3:1-4.
Here is Scott Underwood singing, “Take My Life (Holiness)”: http://youtu.be/uHeEytocJVY
Good News to YOU!