It’s been said that all Christians need a guide in front of them…a mentor like Paul; someone beside them…an encourager like Barnabas; and someone following them…a person they are discipling – a Timothy. John Gardner is a “Paul,” a spiritual father in my life. He pours into me each week, in turn helping me pour into others. John knows how important it is for disciples of Jesus to grasp their ownsecure position in Christ, and he is passionate about spreading this message as he goes about discipling others. He has served as an elder with the Stones River church and is a former member of Timothy Network’s Board of Accountability. John worked for thirty-two years with the Xerox Corporation. He now spends time helping people copy the lifestyle of Jesus. He and his wife, Leaquieta, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. MLS

Learn to See Yourself as God Sees You

John and SlimTo the saints who are a part of the Timothy Network around the world; grace, mercy, and peace to you in abundance from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

In his last article, Mike wrote about those of us who are in Christ having a new identity. That is a really strong (core) teaching! You have most likely heard Proverbs 23:7 many times. It says: “As (a man) thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (KJV) That being the case, how can we be effective in the Kingdom of God if we do not think like God thinks in regard to our identity? How we identify ourselves really matters in the Kingdom of God and has serious implications for us and the world where we live.

You have heard the saying, “I am a sinner saved by grace.” I know the heart of that saying, and I am not judging anyone who would use it. But it’s important to consider: Do I still identify myself as a sinner? Do sinners please God? Did Paul waste his time writing to the “saints”? Did Jesus give His life so that we would just remain lowly sinners? Does God call me a sinner?

God’s Word calls me a “saint” and an “overcomer”, and He says I am “more than a conqueror” (Romans 8). He says that I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be “holy and blameless” in His sight (Ephesians 1). Those terms (underlined) don’t sound like the description of a sinner! Are sinners capable of ministering to God or mankind? No! It’s a good thing that Jesus made us a “kingdom” and “priests” (Rev. 1:5b-6) that are very effective in ministry.

Next, who has more faith when they pray…a sinner or a child of God? Galatians 3:26 says: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” A sinner will take whatever crumbs he can get, but the child of a good Father anticipates more than he can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), because our Father is always good! And a sinner has no choice but to agree and carry their shame and regret when Satan, the accuser, reminds them of their ugly past. But saints and priests know too much about the effectiveness of the blood of the Lamb. (Rev. 12:10-11) They know what heaven says: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4)

Saints say what heaven says: “I have a new life as a child of God.” The Apostle Paul reminds us: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a ‘new creature’; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17, KJV) My past doesn’t define or give me my identity. That honor is my Father’s alone! I am who God says I am!

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) According to this verse, my mind needs to be aligned with how God thinks. We are “citizens of heaven” (Philipians 3:20) and these citizens should think like heaven thinks.

If this article strikes a chord in your spirit, I suggest looking into the Greek word “metanoia” which is typically translated as “repentance”. Metanoia more literally means to change your mind. Change your mind (Metanoeó), for the kingdom of heaven is here.” Both John the Baptist and Jesus began their ministry with this command (See Matthew 3 & 4). This includes repenting of sin, but it is bigger than that. Sin is a symptom of how a man thinks. In fact, the root cause of sin is the way a man thinketh.

Father, help us to only think as heaven thinks. If any area of our thinking needs to change, help us to eagerly “repent” and live life to the full.
John and his son, Steven, recently visited a discipiing circle in Shelbyville and shared the above teaching.

Shelbyville June2016