We must take off our grave clothes when it comes to our thought life. Our thinking must come out from among the dead where sin, corruption and rebellion abound and into the glorious light of His presence. Jesus Christ is crying out to our thought life like he cried out to Lazarus: He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus! Here! Outside! (John 11:43).
In many ways we are just like Lazarus when it comes to our thinking. Our thought life is dead, wrapped in grave clothes, stuck in a tomb and rotting away, waiting for someone with real authority and power to rescue us, and call us into life. We need a resurrection in our thinking. Jesus Christ stands in complete triumph at the tomb of our thinking having defeated every captivity, stronghold, and prison that has ever entombed our heart.
Jesus Christ cries with a loud voice at the tomb of our thoughts. This is a beautiful shout of victory in three words “Lazarus! Here! Outside” This also is a battle cry. Jesus stands at the great stronghold of the human race, which is death. The grave cannot hold those whom the Savior redeems. The grave cannot hold those whom the Savior calls. This is the shout that makes the enemy tremble. Be frightened Satan! The Son of God is here! The death grip will be loosed! With one shout from Jesus, everything is made alive and the works of the Devil crumble.
Jesus first calls Lazarus by name. How beautiful and how touching. Jesus cares deeply about you. Jesus is calling you. He wants you to hear his voice and be delivered from the tomb of every stronghold that plagues your heart. You are so precious to Him as a pearl of great price and He is standing before you with an invitation for freedom. He does not want your thinking in the grip of any stronghold that stands between you and Him. He wants to dwell in your heart without restriction or hindrance. He has the key to the prison door and is commanding you to come forth. The days of living in the dark night of the soul is over. A new day is dawning for your thought life.
Next Jesus commands, “Outside!” which is the Greek word exo and means out from the doors. This is the ultimate exit strategy from every stronghold. Jesus demands that Lazarus come out of the place of bondage and come forth to meet the Savior. The exit strategy for every stronghold is Jesus. Only Jesus Christ has the power to break every stronghold. Only Jesus Christ can provide a way out of the tomb. Only Jesus Christ can release our heart from these dead prisons to the glorious light of his gospel. It is time to come outside from the doors of these strongholds. Jesus’s command is crystal clear. “You must exit these strongholds!” They must be demolished.
Lazarus is not asked just to come back to life, but Jesus commanded him to come to a specific place. “Here!” Next to Him! Right beside Jesus. We were not released from the grip of the enemy so we can go back to our place of past living or occupy any place we wish. We were released so we could stand right next to the one who set us free. There is no other place of freedom. There is no other place of deliverance. There is no other place of rescue. We were given life so that we could always be by his side. We were given life so that Jesus Christ could live in our thoughts, minds and hearts. “Here!” is the place we always want to be in our thinking, out of the dead strongholds of our sin nature, into the glory of His presence.
Jesus Christ: The Centerpiece of our Thinking
Our thinking must follow Jesus and be by His side wherever he may lead us. Jesus Christ should be the centerpiece of our thinking for he has given us a new life out from among the dead. Our thoughts can be clothed in the Lord Jesus Christ as we cast off the grave clothes of our old way of thinking and clothe our thoughts in the robes of his righteousness. There is no other place for a Christian’s thought life than in Christ.
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. (Romans 13:11, 12, 14, NIV)
The hour has come to hear the voice of the Lord calling us to awaken from our spiritual slumber. It is time to cast off the works of darkness from our thinking and put on the armor of light to shine upon every thought. We cannot allow our thoughts to rot in the crypt of sin and the flesh. The corpse of the old man must be thrown off the throne of our thinking. He cannot exercise control and authority over our thoughts any longer. Jesus Christ has raised our thought life from the dead so that our thinking can begin a new life and location “in Christ.”
Our thoughts are the key to our relationship with God. Our intimacy with God is deeply impacted by how we think. Return your thinking to God and extract the precious from the worthless in your thoughts. We are treasure hunters when it comes to our thinking and hold fast to the good treasures and discard the worthless things of no value. We need to filter our thoughts and only allow those thoughts that glorify God to settle into our brains and dwell in our hearts.
Therefore, thus says the LORD, “If you return, then you extract the precious from the worthless, You will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, But as for you, you must not turn to them. “Then I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; and though they fight against you, They will not prevail over you; For I am with you to save you And deliver you,” declares the LORD. “So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.” (Jeremiah 15:19-21, NASB)
When we return to the Lord in our thought life, He will restore our hearts to reflect a beautiful picture of Him. We can bring our thinking back to the presence of God where all the negatives, fears and impurities will melt away. Our thought life will become a fortified wall of bronze where no earthly power, fleshly lust and unholy desire will be able to penetrate into the territory of our heart. The Hebrew word for “fortified” means inaccessible and impenetrable and describes the impossibility of something being thwarted or overcome. God is the builder of this bronze wall around our heart and it is impossible for anything to smash through it. Nothing can penetrate the wall and overcome it. This fortified bronze wall will allow us to walk in great deliverance and victory and will be a mighty shield and barrier against evil. This massive wall of protection around our heart keeps Satan from gaining access and prevents him from exercising any control and authority over our lives. Jesus Christ is this fortified bronze wall, and when we locate our thought life in Christ, then absolutely nothing can break through and corrupt our heart.
The construction of this wall begins with extracting the precious from the worthless in our thinking. We are bombarded with worthless ideas, images and words every day and we decide what we are going to think about. When our thinking is rooted in Christ and we lead every thought captive and bring it to the feet of our Lord, then God will fortify a wall of bronze around our heart that no gate of hell can prevail against it. Our heart will be a brilliant demonstration of the salvation and deliverance that only comes from the hand of the Lord.
We can never develop this type of spiritual thinking pattern in our own power and strength. We cannot overcome the entrenched thinking of the flesh on our own. The only way we can conquer the thoughts that continually flow out of our sin nature and transform our thinking into a heavenly pattern is through Christ. In Christ lies the secret to transformed thinking. In Christ lies the power to eradicate sin from our thinking. In Christ lies the key to a new thought life energized by the Spirit of God.
God designed every human being with the capacity to be governed by God Himself. This is built into the blueprint of the human heart and this is how life was meant to be lived. The heart was never met to function without God at its helm. The heart has been designed for God Almighty to dwell and reign within it by means of the Spirit of God where God gains access and is able to exercise rulership over our emotions, will, and behavior. At the time of the new birth, we receive the very nature of God Himself borne within us, and in this nature is the inherent ability to have His victory on the cross manifested in our thinking.
Major Ian Thomas in The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of Me states:
God so engineered you and me that His presence is indispensable to our humanity, teaching our minds, controlling our emotions, directing our wills, and governing our behavior. Your new birth put God into action in you … What kind of Christian do you want to be? To choose to be a carnal Christian is spiritual oblivion. But if you decide genuinely that Christ be everything and have everything in your life … then He is ready to lead you into discoveries that can completely revolutionize your whole humanity for time and eternity … Consent, therefore, to die to all that you are which does not derive from all that Christ is and thank Him for His willingness to make it real … The resurrected Christ now lives, to continue His Life in you … You must die to your own natural ability to deal with the flesh, for you cannot crucify yourself. That is God’s business … You realize that it was never God’s purpose to improve the flesh, to educate it or tame it, let alone Christianize it. It has always been God’s purpose that the flesh-condemned, sentenced, and crucified with Jesus Christ-might be left buried in the tomb and replaced by the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The risen Christ must exercise control in your mind, in your emotions and in your will, expressing Himself through your personality.[i]
The only way we win the battle of our thinking is to surrender it to Him. He purchased us with the price of His precious blood and our thought life is now His possession. Give Him what is rightfully His! We have no right to be the masters of our thinking any longer. Jesus Christ wants to take up residence in our thinking and be the Captain, the Savior, the Mighty One, and the Lord of all the thoughts that mold and fashion our hearts. We cannot in our own strength lead captive even one thought to the obedience of Christ, but He can. Every part of our body and mind is now His. We are a new creation in Christ and the flesh, which allowed sin to rule our mind, thinking and body, is now dead. The flesh has no right to exercise any authority or control over any part of our mind or body for it was crucified with Jesus and died on the cross. Its reign is over. Its kingship has been overthrown. Its right to rule has ended. We must declare its death sentence daily and never give sin and the flesh one inch of our thought life or soon it will be building strongholds and ruling our thinking. The risen Christ has imparted His new life and He has the right to rule every single part of our mind and body including our thinking.
We have a choice to make. We can allow our thoughts, mind and body to be instruments of sin or instruments of righteousness. My eyes are now His eyes, I only see what He would see; my ears are now His ears, I only hear what He would hear; my thoughts are now His thoughts, I only think what He would think; my mouth is now His mouth, I only speak what He would speak; my hands are now His hands, I only work the work that He would work; My heart is now His heart and out of my new heart comes His love, compassion, kindness, tenderness and mercies. We now have the mind, thoughts and motives of Christ because of our new nature birthed within us. The mind of Christ is the new ruler of our thought life. Allow Him to do the impossible in our thinking. Allow Him to separate the chaff form the wheat in our thought life. Allow Him to bring the fires of holiness and purity to our thoughts. Allow Him to build Himself in our thought life. If we allow Jesus Christ to be the king of our thought life, our heart will be transformed into image of our Lord and we will become a brilliant lighthouse to all the world of the glory and splendor of our God.
[i] Ian Thomas, The Indwelling Life of Christ: All of Him in All of Me (Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2006), 26, 35.
Chapter 10: The First Soil of the Heart: The Great Robbery