My AVG anti-virus/cleaner on my phone often gives me the message ‘What a mess!’ How rude, but it’s a reminder that I need to put intelligence and effort into understanding technology or else a bug could pop in and mess things up. A rational effort is also needed to control mess and chaos at home. When I open my cupboards, I say, ‘What a mess!’ and quickly shut them again. Time and effort are needed to tidy up. Rebooting, restoring, renewing all require intelligent, focused energy (Romans 12:2), a part of the sanctification process. Mark highlighted our wondrous salvation in Christ as being saved from the penalty, power and presence of sin. Thank God for His work of salvation! We cannot save ourselves. God also sanctifies us by His Holy Spirit in an ongoing process (2 Corinthians 3:18), part of renewing one’s mind (2 Corinthians 10:5) But what if one is unintelligent, weary or unmotivated? There’s a lot more to this spiritual renewal process. God our intelligent, all-powerful Creator is sovereignly enabling us by grace to grow in Christlikeness. So what’s our role? Discipline and delight.
Recently I’ve been bitten by the Marie Kondo bug! Kondo is an organizing consultant who’s sold millions of books about being tidy. Amazing, huh? Books include ‘Spark Joy’ and ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’. It’s probably ridiculous, but seeing the transformation of my bedroom messiness into orderliness has sparked joy and like funny magic, I’ve even got a kick out of organizing a mountain of plastic bags into three sizes and types! Disciplining myself to cull, categorize, fold, and place my things in order has sparked creative energetic joy.
On a more serious note, renewing our mind takes intelligent effort. But the ‘magic’, essential energizer is the Holy Spirit. God our Creator brought order out of chaos (Genesis 1).
In our LTG study, what struck me was the difference between the two oughts of obligation and opportunity. You ought to pay taxes, (things tending not to spark joy) or you ought to taste Mandy’s cupcakes! You ought to pray five times a day or you ought to pray with your dear friend. Obligation, duty and discipline are good but cupcakes taste better. Discipline (See Hebrews 12) and delight (Psalm 1). Endurance and perseverance are a necessary part of renewing the mind. Joy, tasting and delighting are also necessary.