It has been said that country music is just “three chords and the truth.” Now I am not sure who “they” are, but I wholeheartedly agree. In all the opening lines of country music, David Ball’s 1994 song must sit at the top of the list for truth. The song begins, “Yes, I admit… (with the prototypical nasal tonality I might add) I’ve got a thinkin’ problem.” Mr. Ball hits upon the gravest of all problems, a thinkin’ problem.
I was forced to review this problem recently while preparing a three-part sermon series I would deliver right before a new pastor arrived at the church. I dispensed with the idea of a series on faith, hope and love or an informative exposition of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I began to wonder what would be most helpful in preparation of receiving a new pastor. What is our most fundamental problem?
Paul talks about this thinkin’ problem when he tells us in Romans 12, it will be the renewing of our mind that prevents our conforming to this age and leads to our transformation. To need renewing must mean something happened to our “newedness.” Especially since the renewal of our mind is central to that process. And now that you mentioned it, my mind does not always mind.
My mind is not just crunching data and reports the facts to me, it is partial, with seemingly an agenda, leading me away and swaying me often against my own good. John Piper says, our minds don’t just view things, they have a viewpoint which leads to a “mindset” that eventually will lead to death.
How do we overcome and where should we look? According to Titus 3:5 that renewal comes from the power of the Holy Spirit and His working in our life. We have some responsibility both to seek Christ’ exalting truth wherever we can find it, (whatever is pure, whatever is noble…think on these things) and humbly pray for us to realize our deep seated thinkin’ problem. It is once our thinkin’ problem is realized that we can come to our senses, embrace the solution to our deepest problem, sin, and be delivered by repentance and faith through the work of Jesus.
Until our “glorification” we will constantly battle the thinkin’ problem. From thinkin’ you will eat a whole package of Oreo cookies, to not saving enough for retirement. What about not thinkin’ about creating an estate plan that takes care of our family or ministries we love after our passing? All of this because we don’t think about it, or think we can do something later, or just think it won’t happen to me. Just like our conforming to the world’s thinking that we are ok, and God will let us into heaven because we were never really that bad. Our thinkin’ problem can lead us down some devastating paths. But it does not have to if, you and I will admit, we have a thinkin’ problem.