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Postures of the Mind, Affections of the Heart

Let My People Think / Ravi Zacharias
The Truth Network Radio
May 2, 2020 1:00 am

Postures of the Mind, Affections of the Heart

Let My People Think / Ravi Zacharias

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May 2, 2020 1:00 am

Graduation is a very important milestone in a student's life. What is it that makes the difference between students that go on to succeed in life, and students that end up in disappointment? Join Ravi Zacharias this week on Let My People Think, as he speaks directly to graduates about the importance of remaining faithful to God.

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Thank you for downloading from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Support for this podcast comes from your generous gifts and donations. You can find out more about Ravi Zacharias and the team at high percentage, nearly 70 percent of all college students might well walk away from the Christian faith by the time they graduate.

That's a daunting statistic. Our goal is to reach them early in high school and university with the message of the gospel. We are committed to training young believers to better understand their faith so that they are equipped to present it and to defend it. The opportunities are there and the challenges before us. Will you partner with us? Your gifts will help us hold conferences such as Reboot, Refresh and Remind. These conferences are geared towards high school and college students as well as young professionals. We are really excited about all that God has in store for this ministry with our growing team.

We hope you will join others in supporting our efforts by donating online at and thank you for doing that. Young men and young women, I challenge you, when you enter many halls of learning, a fundamental assumption is going to be challenged. Are you going to remember your creator before that trouble comes and the challenge comes? Let me remind you, the challenge you will face is not an evidential one, the challenge you will face is a philosophical pre-commitment to naturalism that many of those have already made.

Think about that carefully. Graduation is a very important time in the life of every young person and sometimes an anxious time for parents. It signifies both an ending and a new beginning.

Hello and welcome to Let My People Think with Ravi Zacharias. Graduating students stand at the door of adulthood facing many possibilities, making choices that could affect the future forever. How does a student move towards success? What is it that makes the difference between students that go on to succeed in life and students that end up disappointed? Today Ravi speaks directly to graduates about the importance of remaining faithful to God and of having the right kind of determination in life. It's possible there may be a graduate in your life that comes to mind. If you think Ravi's thoughts might be an encouragement to a graduate you know, stay tuned after the message to find out how to get a CD copy of this message entitled Postures of the Mind, Affections of the Heart.

Now here's Ravi. I had been invited to speak at a gathering of young people who were in a kind of a halfway house setting. The average stay for those young people averaged 14 to 18 or 19 was about 18 to 24 months because that's how long it took them to be weaned off their addictions. I had never spoken in a setting such as that. In fact, it was quite fearsome to be standing there. I was kept at the back of the room before my turn came to speak to them and the principle of this place alerted me to the fact that they were going to be engaging in some activities of the beginning with which I might be quite unfamiliar. She said they will take about three or four minutes just to ventilate their anger and their frustration.

She said don't be alarmed by it. And all of a sudden they were told to stand and commanded with the word motivate. And all of these young people stood up and as I watched them, I was so puzzled by it all. They were literally punching into the air for about three to four minutes till they had punched themselves into exhaustion. And then they sat down with their hands plastered flat against their legs and were going to sit there for one and a half hours as they had asked me to speak for that length of time after which I was to answer questions for about two and a half hours. For four hours I stood in front of them.

Every one of them was an addict, an addict of the most serious kind, either to drugs or to alcohol or to sex. One young man stood up at the question and answer time, a handsome looking young man with his lips quivering and tears running down his face. He says, Mr. Zacharias, I have a question for you. I have really messed up my life. I have completely lost self-control.

He said it is impossible for me to look at a young woman without just one desire in my mind. I am an addict to sex. Can you do anything to help me? Can you say anything to break me off this? I am already so destroyed. I am afraid there is no future for me in the way my mind is now working. And as I stood there startled by the frankness of this, all of them, of course, trained under the Alcoholics Anonymous program, just looked at him and in unison said to him, we love you and named him to sort of affirm him for sharing and accepting his vulnerability.

Put that in the back of your mind. The second vignette I give to you is of this young teenager who is now known internationally. Her name is Cassie Bernal, who was murdered by one of her classmates. And just two days before she died, she was being videoed by her Christian youth group. And in the middle of her testimony, she said these simple words, I just try not to contradict myself to get rid of all my hypocrisy and just live for Jesus Christ. So at her funeral, all of the young people who had gathered played that video clip, not one of them was aware that two days after she said this, she was going to be in the face of the barrel of a gun, having to affirm her commitment to Jesus Christ. And young people, I ask you this question pointedly, what is the difference between these two lives? How does it come about that one can be so much at the point of destruction where he dehumanizes the members of the opposite sex and stands there as a man completely ashamed of that which possesses him?

And then you look at a young woman like Cassie, who stands up and says in the face of an imminent murder that she is proud to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Much of it, if not everything of it has to do with how you train your mind. Now, the mind is to the soul what the brain is to the body. The mind is to the soul what the brain is to the body. When a person begins to get incoherent, we do not say of them they are losing their brains.

The physical organ may still be functioning. We talk of them as losing their minds because a mind is that facility which God has given to you and to me, which pulls together all that you know to be true or all that you know to be false. And on the basis of training that mind, you respond at the moments of trial and temptation.

I want to challenge you tonight to think of your minds as you move on from here. What are some of the choices I would like to see you making that I think will be God honoring if you were to bring that mind under the control and the will of God? I'd like to read for you one verse from the Apostle Paul in the book of Philippians, chapter three. He says this. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.

He's talking about perfection. But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. And it is already true in Philippians two where he has challenged them to let this mind be in them, which was in Christ Jesus. May I give you three simple challenges of how to garrison this mind, how to develop that strength of soul? Because you're going to be tested.

You can be sure of that. The first is the challenge of learning how to forget. There are some things in your life which you must learn to forget.

It's like shutting the gate on those issues which bring you down those issues which are in the past, which somehow demoralize you. And I can assure you those issues are there in your life. Just a few days ago, I was twelve thousand miles away in a distant country, sitting in my hotel room for several days, completing a manuscript for another book. And in the opening paragraphs of that particular book, I was going back over the years of some of my own teenage struggles, how I had come to know Christ literally lying on a bed of suicide. And I started to trace that path.

And at a certain point in that chapter, I had to stop and close those pages and take a long walk because I suddenly felt I was reopening some wounds that I felt may have been healed over the decades that have gone by. And I harked back to a conversation I had with a young man. He was the winner of an Olympic medal. And two or three years ago, he phoned from a distant city and asked if he could come and spend the morning here with me in Atlanta. He said, I have some real struggles. And when we went out to have lunch together, I was not expecting him to tell me what he was about to say. I knew his name. I had seen him on television, seen him win that medal.

But as he sat across the table at lunch, this is what he said to me, a powerful muscle built young man. He said, Ravi, he said, from the time I was 12, my only goal in life was to become an Olympian. In fact, I bought myself a camera and I filmed the world champion in the event that I wanted to run. And as that film was developed and I was getting better and better at the event, I had somebody film me. And I broke that clip down into frame by frame to see where it was I was losing these precious seconds to the world champion.

And finally, the time came where I was able to bridge that gap and get it so close. Now in his late teens, he was representing his country at the Olympics. Nobody had expected him to get where he did. Now he had won all of his heats and the gun was about to be sounded for the finals. He said, there I stood at the gate wondering if this was real, that the whole world was watching, that seven years had gone by and now I was possibly about to become the world champion. And he said, as that gun was about to be sounded, he said, from out of the blue, I thought I had no provision of at all.

Did not anticipate this in any sense of the term. Just as the gun was on the verge of being sounded, I suddenly had this question invade my mind. I wonder if my father is watching. You see, over the years, he and his father had gone apart and there was no love and no relationship between them. And at this moment of his greatest triumph, somehow the door was opened up to the years gone by and the memory of a lost relationship with his dad may well have at that moment cost him the gold medal.

He strode along and was very privileged to have won the bronze medal. But it was quite a strange feeling to be sitting across the table from a well-built, strong young man whose face was covered with tears asking me how he could rebuild this relationship and all the years that had been lost in the process. Ladies and gentlemen, it can happen in your life.

It can happen in mine. And to you as young people, I say to you that there are some issues from the past which you can settle and they ought to be settled and you would be very wise dealing with them even before too many hours have gone. But I say to you that there are many others in which you must shut the gate and forget those things which are behind or they will continue to plunder you in the years that lie ahead. There may have been some difficult moments in your schooling years, may have been tough moments at home, but I urge you to forget some of those things that are behind on which you can do nothing to correct now. But God asks you to set them aside and bury them under his grace.

There is a second choice. Not only must you learn to forget, but you must be determined of what you are going to remember. And it is Solomon who tells us in the book of Ecclesiastes when he's struggling with this whole thing called life's meaning. He says, remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth before the time of trouble comes. Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth. Many of you are going to go into different universities, and most of you will run up against one fundamental issue that is going to challenge your faith in God.

And that issue is this. Is this world here by accident, a random product of time plus matter plus chance? Or is this world here by the created and designed will of a loving heavenly father? I can tell you something very plain here, and I want you to follow me.

Listen carefully, please. The fact of the matter is that science has not disproved the existence of God. Science has not established naturalism as a justifiable posture for origins. You will read and find out again and again that that which is espoused by atheists on university campuses who are professors, espouse that atheism not because of the science that has led them to believe it, but because of our pre-commitment to a philosophy of life. This is the whole point that Philip Johnson, professor at Berkeley, makes in his books. Darwin on trial and reason in the balance. He said there's an undergirding philosophy that drives the secular scientific world view, where science is sort of made into that which it was never intended to be.

Let me give you a couple of illustrations of this. I'd finished a series of lectures at Princeton University. The place was packed to capacity and my whole talk was to challenge atheism and defend the Christian gospel.

The questions were there in very hostile form and antagonistic form. And yet the students returned for lecture after lecture and applauded and received what was given. That last night, one student stood up in front of this packed audience and he said this to me. He said, Mr. Zacharias, I brought two of my atheistic friends here last night for the lecture, and they had come prepared to challenge anything you'd said. As we were walking away, I said to one of them, why didn't you ask the questions you said you were going to ask?

There was silence in the stillness of the night. And then he looked back at this Christian who'd invited them and said the arguments were too persuasive to counter. And then he paused and said this. Even though the arguments were too persuasive, I am still remaining a convinced atheist. He said, what do you have to say to my friend? I said, I said it to him in the opening line of my lecture last night, that my goal is to try and demonstrate to you that if you are an atheist, it is not for intellectual reasons, but for moral reasons.

There's a pre-commitment. Aldous Huxley in 1946 said this. I want this world not to have meaning.

I want this world not to have meaning because it frees me to my own erotic pursuits. Think of all of the grandeur that God has poured into this universe, all of the specified complexity, the marvelous design that is there. Wasn't it not Carl Sagan while he was still professor at Cornell who made this astounding comment? He said, if we can get only one intelligent message from outer space, we'll know there is intelligent life out there. If we can get only one intelligent message, did Carl Sagan not pause to think for a moment that one strand of human DNA has 600,000 pages of information?

One strand of human DNA, 600,000 pages of information. Think of that, the marvelous design, young men and young women, I challenge you, when you enter many halls of learning, a fundamental assumption is going to be challenged. Are you going to remember your creator before that trouble comes and the challenge comes? Let me remind you, the challenge you will face is not an evidential one, the challenge you will face is a philosophical pre-commitment to naturalism that many of those have already made. Think about that carefully.

Learning some things to forget, determine what you're going to remember. And the last thing I share with you is, will you be committed to his love so that it is not only the posture of the mind, but it is also the affection of the heart? We are living in a lonely world. We are living in a very needy world. Some of you may remember the name of Madeline Marie O'Hare, the famed atheist. Recently her diaries were auctioned off, hundreds and hundreds of pages of her diaries and her journal as an atheist. Three times punctuated in these diaries were these words, will somebody somewhere please love me? Love me.

Will somebody somewhere please love me? How do you feel that love as you graduate and leave here moving into other parts? I close now with this most fascinating story that is something that some of you may be familiar with because I have reprinted it in one of my books. The year was 1971. I was still doing my undergraduate in theology and I was invited to speak in Vietnam. The war was still pretty heavy. A lot of killing was going on during those days. My interpreter was a 17-year-old young man.

His name was Hien. Hien and I traveled across the length of Vietnam all the way to the demilitarized zone. God in an extraordinary way used these two young lives in many, many settings to break in a revival in the land of Vietnam. We were in many U.S. armed forces bases. We were in prisoner of war camps. We were in military hospitals. Both of us were too young to have been in places like that.

But God in his sovereign grace used our lives. At the end of the four months after I'd finished preaching in that land, I embraced Hien, not thinking if I would ever see him again. That was 1971.

Seventeen years had gone by in 1988. I received a telephone call and it took me only a moment when he said, Brother Ravi, on the phone for me to recognize that I was talking to Hien. I said, Hien, where are you calling from? He said, I'm calling you from Los Angeles. I said, what are you doing in the United States? How did you get out of Vietnam? He said, have you got a few minutes to listen to my story?

I said, yes, I have. He said, Brother Ravi, after Vietnam fell to the north into the Viet Cong, I was arrested and put into prison. And I was brainwashed. Every day I was being asked to read Marx and Engels. They were trying to knock faith in God out of my life. Marx and Engels, Marx and Engels every day. And I was not allowed to read anything in English because they were trying to cut me off from the West completely, saying the missionaries and all had poisoned my mind. They were breaking me away from all of this.

French and Vietnamese, Marx and Engels, only Marxist ideology. It was just pouring in in my mind. One day I was reading Engels's book describing a Marxist man caged by capitalism and the Marxist man as a bird bashing away against those wires, trying to break free, bloodying itself in the process. But keep hitting, he says, keep hitting.

Someday you will break those bars. He said, I went to bed that night and I thought to myself, God, are you only a figment of my imagination? Did the missionaries really brainwash me? For all those meetings we held in the revival, he talked about me and his prayer to God, wondering if all those messages that he had interpreted were just not, did not hold out against reality. And he said, I got so frustrated with all that I'd read. I said, I'm going to disbelieve in God from this very night.

And I was determined that from the next morning I was not going to pray, going to act as if God did not exist. He said, in the morning when I awakened, the commanding officer assigned me to clean the latrines. And as I was cleaning those latrines, he said, Ravi, it's a horrible place in those prison camps. As I was emptying out those waste bins, suddenly I noticed a piece of paper that looked like it had English on it, even though it was so stained with human excrement, I'd seen English and wondered if I could pick that up somehow. He said, I washed it and took that piece of paper, put it into my hip pocket and went back to my room.

I could not open it up till the night till my roommates were sound asleep. And he said, there in the darkness of the night under the mosquito net, I flashed my light on that little piece of paper. And here's what it said.

And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who've been called according to his purpose. And the rest of Romans Chapter eight. He said, I couldn't believe what I was reading. I said, God, here in this prison camp on the first day in years when I was going to disbelieve in you, you have followed me with your love with possibly the most precious verse that I needed. He said, I got so surprised at this that the next day I went to the commanding officer and said, do you mind if I clean the latrines again? And he said, I started to clean the latrines every day to find out that the commanding officer had years ago been given a Bible. He was tearing out one page at a time, using it as toilet paper every day.

And he said, I was washing it, taking and completing the rest of the book of Romans and other parts of the Bible and reading it as my devotions every night. He said, finally, they released me from prison. He said, and I started to build a boat and to escape with about 52 others. One day, four Vietcong came and grabbed me and said, Hien, somebody has told us you're trying to escape.

Is that true? And he said, no, it's not true. They pressured him and he said, no, it's not true. He lied to them and they left him moments after they left him here and said, I wept alone in my room. And I said, there I go again, God, trying to run my own life while you have followed me with your love for so long. He said, I prayed a prayer and hoped it would never be answered. I said, God, if you send those four men back to me again, I will tell them the truth. And it was only hours before, if not minutes before they were to set sail. These four men came, grabbed him by the collar, rammed him against a wall and said, we know you are trying to escape.

Is that true? He answered, I looked them in the eye and said, yes, what are you going to do? Put me back in prison. They said, no, we want to go with you. And the four of the Vietcong got on the boat with him. He said, Brother Ravi, we were swept on the high seas with wild storms. We would never have made it except for these four men in their skippering ability who brought us safely to Thailand. And ultimately, as the United States opened its door, he and came to the United States, finished his degree at Berkeley.

Now he's working as a businessman there. He came and visited us here in Atlanta and sat at our kitchen table with my children and with the gentlest of voice, reminded them of something that the love of God is so precious that he follows you and follows you even at the darkest moments of your life. You don't have to be a graduate to appreciate the wisdom of Ravi's message, postures of the mind, affections of the heart. We could all benefit from remembering that there are some things we must learn to forget, long past burdens that we should bury under God's grace. And then the importance of remembering God as we move through life's constant challenges. If you'd like to order a copy of today's message, call us at 1-800-448-6766 and ask for the message titled Postures of the Mind, Affections of the Heart.

If you prefer to order online, visit our website at or in Canada. Hello, this is Ravi Zacharias. Listen to these words from Philippians chapter 4, verses 6 and 7. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. Let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. My prayer for you is that you will truly find comfort in these words today. Let My People Think is a listener-supported radio ministry and a production of RZIM in Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-10 09:32:58 / 2024-03-10 09:43:00 / 10

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