Links Daily Devotional

Be Transformed, Part 1: Brilliant Thinking

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy… when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow… for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete… (James 1:2-4, NLT)

This year the golf world saw something incredible from a 21-year-old (now 22). As we watched Jordan Spieth win the Masters and U.S. Open and then put himself in contention in the next two majors to nearly complete golf’s grand slam, we witnessed a brilliant golf mind at work. I was awestruck by the maturity of this young man as he bounced back after every hiccup at Augusta with a birdie soon after. When he double-bogeyed the 71st hole at the U.S. Open to lose his lead, he responded with a perfect drive and a birdie on the final hole to win. Then, at the end of the season after missing a couple cuts, he capped the season off by bouncing back and winning the TOUR Championship and FedEx Cup. It seems as though Spieth relishes adversity.

I sure wish I could think like that on the golf course. Regardless of all that is keeping me from contending for golf’s major championships, I have learned that it is my “thinking” that often keeps me from being victorious in life. I often don’t think like the one who created me.

So, how close to God’s thoughts do you think your thoughts? In other words, do you think that God ever says, “Oh no, how do I get out of this situation?” or “Man, I let that one get away from me.” Of course not! And not only is he in control, but he has only victory in mind. That means that if you are a part of God’s Kingdom, then you can only have one type of outcome—a victorious one (after all, sin and death have already been defeated by Jesus).

We can always expect our amazing God to create an outcome exactly opposite of that which the enemy had in mind when he threw trouble our way.Because Christ is in us, we can expect a victorious outcome in all situations. If you are in Christ, then you can’t lose no matter what the situation. Every single issue that you and I are facing has already been assigned an outcome that God wants to generate in our lives and in his kingdom. So never let a circumstance rob you of your identity in Christ. You are an heir to his throne, and it is time to start thinking that way. This isn’t Pollyanna thinking, this is thinking like the most brilliant being who ever lived, Jesus.

Faithful people are often most concerned with their actions; however, every action is the result of the thought that produced it. We can assume that if it is God’s plan to perfect and complete us (see Matthew 5:48, Philippians 3:12-14), then it is the mind that must first be renewed. The authors of the New Testament understood that being one with Christ meant victory in every situation. That is how James could tell us in today’s verse to celebrate our troubles and to look forward to our victorious outcome.

James was telling us that when he was facing trouble, he knew he was about to get a blessing from God. We can always expect our amazing God to create an outcome exactly opposite of that which the enemy had in mind when he threw trouble our way. After all, in his kingdom God permits only that which has an outcome that will eventually perfect us.

What if you knew in advance that any time you face a trial, you have an upgrade coming? Wouldn’t it be like playing golf and knowing every time you were facing bogey or worse, you knew you were going to birdie the next one. That’s how Jesus thinks, and that’s exactly how he wants us to think—like him!

Josh Nelson
November 23, 2015
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