James 4:7-10 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
Whenever I hear an idea for my blog, I write it down. Sometimes those ideas come whenever I’m trying to go to sleep. Sometimes those ideas come when I am at church listening and learning.
The other day at church, it was said that “God can change how you feel.” Well, my ears perked up and I had to write that one down. Yesterday, I was sitting at the table preparing to write my blog. And I got stuck. I couldn’t find a verse in the Bible that directly said that God can change how you feel. Well, that stumped me. I know that God can do that, so why couldn’t I find the verse in the Bible to support what I already knew.
Then my husband walked into the room. He is always my sounding board and Bible detective. He said, “Maybe it isn’t in the Bible.” You could have heard my mind blowing and my eyes popping out of my head. “What?”, I said. We continued this conversation – discussing the possibility that maybe God doesn’t change our mind. Rather, our minds are changed when we are obedient to Him – that when we decide to align our will with His will, our minds are changed.
Does that make any sense? If God wanted to touch our brains and our hearts and change them, He could. No doubt about that. But He doesn’t because of free will. He wants us to choose to follow Him. He wants us to choose to make our will like His will. He wants us to choose to see Him in all things. He wants to us to choose to be obedient and submissive to Him. If He would touch our minds and our hearts and change how we feel, what glory would He receive in a robot’s obedience? None.
If you look at these verses, every sentence starts with an action word. Think back to school when you learned about grammar. (I know it hurts, but just go with it.) Whenever you see an action word at the beginning of a sentence, there is an understood “you” there. So one verse would read, “(YOU) Submit yourselves therefore to God.” When you put “you” in front of every command, you see that the choice and responsibility falls directly on your shoulders. All of these verses become commands and demand a choice. You have to choose to follow a command. And with that choice comes the opportunity for a change of heart. When you choose to follow a command of God, you choose to align your will with His will. Your heart and your desires change. They become more like Him.
What I am proposing today, princess, is that God doesn’t really directly change our minds. He provides us with the choice to align ourself with Him and in that alignment, things change. We choose to be obedient to Him and that changes our heart and mind. God doesn’t want robots following instructions without choice. He wants vibrant, choice-making, command-following children who do what He says because they love Him, not because there is no choice.