-A Test of the Mind-
To help us realize how important it is to manage our thoughts according to Gods guidelines.
Matt 16:21-23 , Luke 21:12-5, Isa 26:3 and chapters 3 & 4 of Daniel
Start the class by having the student make ink blots. Give each student an 8 1/2"x 11 sheet of light colored construction paper. Have a number of colored bottles of squeeze paints for them to use. Have some fun making them and talking about what they look like. Leave them to dry and start the lesson.
Ask students if they know what ink blots were originally used for in psychology. Explain that they were kind of a test of the mind to see what a persons mind sets might be.
Now this may seem odd but ask the students the following 2 questions:
1) Is it OK to think about anything you want?
2) Have ever eaten grass, regular green grass?
Explain that today we are going to read a story about someone who though he was pretty important until God changed him into a human cow. Read the story of Nebuchadnezzar from Daniel chapter 4. In class to speed up the reading have students read the following sections and make the following points.
Background: Nebuchadnezzar was King of Babylon during a time when the nation of Israel was captive there. He was the king who put 3 men (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) in the fiery furnace for not bowing down to him and watch God save them.
Read Dan 3:26 - 4:3 .. here we Nebuchadnezzar (lets call him old Neb) realizing and acknowledging that these mens God was real and he declares Him the Most High God". In other words, old Neb figures it out. God is real and more powerful than him. Now this is good, but unfortunately despite his realization Neb still thinks wrong. He forget about what happens and continues to think he is the ultimate ruler and power in life.
Read Dan 4:4-8 .. here we find old Neb having a scary dream and going to his own advisors to interpret it but none can except Daniel.
Read Dan 4:23-27 .. here we find Daniel explaining the dream to old Neb. He tells him that he will lose his kingship, be driven away from people and have to live and eat with wild animals for 7 years until he will acknowledge God is the one who sets up kingdoms. He is also warned that if he will just acknowledge that God in heaven rules (not him) and stop sinning and being wicked, then this will not happen.
Read Dan 4:28-37 .. about a year later, Neb is walking around his roof looking out on Babylon and he starts to think how powerful and full of majesty he is. While he is still forming the word that go with his thoughts, "bammmo" a voice from heaven tells him its time to live the dream and his sanity is taken from him and as a result he is driven away from his palace. He ends up living with animals, acting like a cow, eating grass and standing out in the rain. For seven years he lives like this and finally Neb comes to realize that he is not so smart and powerful after all. He gets his mind right on just this one thing "Who God is and what role He play is the lives of Kings ". In other words he finally starts to think correctly about God and about himself. Then and only then does God restore his sanity and place him back in the throne of Babylon just as if it hadnt happened.
Students Teach Students:
Yes, keeping our thinking correct about God and about his role in our life is important. Scripture offers a number of specific areas that encourage us to manage our thoughts. Have the students research the following verses and identify what aspect of "right thinking" or "wrong thinking" is being taught. In most of the references the word "mind" is key.
|Matt 16:21-23||Focus on the ways of God||Focus on the ways of man (the world)|
|Matt 22:37||Love God with your thoughts||Never think of God|
|Luke 21:12-15||Make up your mind not to worry about how or whether God will care, provide and protect you||Let all your fears consume your thinking - "what if", what if, what if"?|
1 Cor 1:10
2 Cor 13:4
|having an attitude thats "whats mine is yours" .. Sharing produces peace.||having an attitude that "whats mine is mine and I have to protect it from everyone else" - selfishness and ownership combine to cause quarrels|
|focus on what the Holy Spirit desires like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control. These lead to life.||focus on what our sinful nature desires like sex, money, power and pleasure. The quest for these starts in the mind and leads to death|
|Rom 12:2||be transformed into one who can see Gods will. It starts with the renewing your mind. To Repent means to put on a new mind about something.||staying stuck in sinful behavior because we listen to the worlds pattern of logic|
|I Cor 14:!2-16
|Pray and Sing with your thoughts centered on God and with a purpose in mind - (hopefully to build up the Body of Christ in some way)||Prayer or singing without a purpose or in a repetitious manner|
|Col 2:18-19||Keep correct thinking on who is the Head (Jesus Christ) the Creator and you are the body - the creation. .. keeps us growing and building rewards for us in heaven.||A focus of importance on man can lead to false teachings which lead people away from Christ. They can also earn us some correction (remember old Nebs experience with grazing.)|
|1 Chron 12:9
2 Cor 9:7
|serve and give to God with a "willing" mind not under compulsion for God knows all the motives behind your actions||wrong motives for serving God are often the source of failure in ones ministry.|
|James 1:13-15||The mathematics of sin are
(desires + lies ) x cultivation = sin
|Dont cultivate the thoughts, dont play with them in your mind. You will always have sinful desires and Satan will always deliver the lies. The place you stop sin is in your mind.|
The battle against the enemy is largely fought in our mind. The race we run for the rewards of heaven is also one that run in our mind. Keep the thoughts of your mind committed to God. Manage your thoughts consistent with Gods will. Keep your mind set, your focus of thought on the things of God and do not let the thoughts of your sin nature live.
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isa 26:3 (NIV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Phil 4:8(NIV)