Last week we discussed the expectations Jesus has for us if we are to follow Him. In Matthew 5:20 Jesus said, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness (your uprightness and your right standing with God) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” In addition He added to the requirement. In verses 21-22,27-28 He digs deeper into our spiritual pockets and makes it clear on what He expects of us concerning our heart and mind.

When Jesus brings in these additional verses, He is stating that we have the responsibility to control what goes on in our mind and heart. Jesus also said in verse 48, “We are to be perfect even as our Father in heaven is perfect.” He is making it very clear that we must, at all times, be conscious and cautious about our thoughts. In Philippians 2, Paul says to “work out our salvation.” He later goes on to say that part of doing that is to do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless… If we grumble and complain, it is because of our mindset. Wow! To be perfect as God the Father and prove ourselves blameless, are some big commands.

The bible is trying to teach us that the bottom line is we must take responsibility for our own thinking. Before Christ came and died and rose again for us, God said, “"My thoughts are completely different from yours," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) But now that Jesus came and gave us a new and better covenant, as Christians, we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) We don’t have any excuses to think differently than Him.

So how do we start thinking like Christ? Here are some pointers.

1. Remind yourself daily that it is your responsibility to change your thinking for the better. No one else can make you think differently.

Others can give you different perspectives on subjects but that is all they can do for you.

2. Read the bible. It is the surest way to find out how the Lord thinks. Proverbs gives insight to His wisdom and the Psalms give insight to His great love for us.

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the areas of thought that need to change in your life. He will show you and He will help you change those thoughts.

“Next Level Thinking” requires us to take responsibility for our own thinking patterns. Then we can take action to remove those patterns and replace them with God thoughts.

Some thought patterns can lead to self defeating behavior. Find an area in your life you wish was different. Ask yourself: What is a present thought pattern, I could change today, to change my life in the future?