How to Think Differently

“You are what you eat and what you think.” That’s what my mama told me.

In later years, I have kidded her by saying, “If we are what we eat, then we must be fried.” We certainly had a lot of (really good) fried food growing up.

Both aphorisms are true. Eating matters and so does thinking.

Lately, I have been teaching through the Acts of the Apostles. Many things about the early church are amazing and life changing. One of those is the way the apostles, teachers, and early believers thought.

They looked at everything through the lens of Jesus Christ.

For example, when they experienced great persecution as that found in Acts 5, they reframed their experience so that they took a negative and made it a positive.

Acts 5:17-42 records how all of the apostles were arrested, imprisoned, and beaten because they spoke boldly and openly to all the people about the crucifixion, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus Christ. Because the apostles and the early church were held in such favor by the people, the Sanhedrin could not go overboard with their persecution of the church. Therefore, they beat them (with 39 lashes?) and warned them to quit preaching.

Here’s what the Scripture says about their response. “As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. And everyday in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah” (Acts 5:41-42).

Do you see how they reframed every thing and thought differently?

How did they do this?

First, they looked at everything through their experience with Jesus Christ. They knew that Christ had given them life. They owed everything to Him.

Second, they understood that Jesus had suffered both physically and spiritually for them. They wanted to suffer for Him as well. Paul later saw that he wanted to fellowship with Christ and be like Him in His suffering (Philippians 3:10).

That different way of thinking made their reaction to their suffering different.

Finally, they looked at everything through reality–that is, that this life is short but to be with God is for eternity. They also understood what Paul said, “For to me, living is Christ, and dying is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

May you and I learn to think differently. May we learn the mind of Christ.

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. — Romans 12:10 (NIV)