Four Higher Levels of Thinking

Four Higher Levels of Thinking

Four Higher Levels of Thinking

by Steve Backlund

“Set your mind on things above” (Colossians 3:1). We are not to be conformed to the thinking of this world (Romans 12:2), but we are to pursue higher thoughts about God, ourselves, others, and our circumstances. When we understand we cannot trust any thought or conclusion that does not have hope attached to it, we are ready for elevated thinking and the transformation it brings.

James 1:2-12 gives great insight into how to change our thought lives from fixating on problems to focusing on advancing the kingdom. Here are four higher spiritual realities revealed in these verses.

1) A Higher Perspective – “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4). Our response to something is almost always more important than the something. When we choose to rejoice in the Lord, incredible forward movement in our lives begins.

2) A Higher Strategy – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8). There is always a solution for every situation we face (I Corinthians 10:13). God has supernatural wisdom (strategies, ideas, etc.) for breakthrough in us and around us. As we believe God will give us these higher strategies, He will. Start thanking Him right now the divine insight being revealed to you.

3) A Higher Identity – “Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation” (James 1:9). Negatively comparing ourselves to others is a lower way of thinking. We may not be as gifted or outwardly blessed as some others, but we are unique and have greatness in us. In Christ, we are a new creation. As we think higher about ourselves by believing who God says we are, it propels us to greater influence. In Numbers 13 the ten spies believed they were like grasshoppers in their own sight. Their interpretation of themselves created their beliefs about the world around them. If we don’t embrace our higher identity, then we will perceive ourselves as victims – and thus believe we are powerless to bring change.

4) A Higher Purpose – “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). A crown of life indicates authority has been given us. Whatever area we have overcome in our lives is an area where we have authority to bring life to others. Most people’s greatest anointing comes from something they battled; therefore, your current struggle is not just about you, but it is about the people you will influence as you overcome. Your purpose in life is not just to fix yourself, but to be a life-releaser and a great influencer.

God loves to take people from crisis to radical influence. These four higher things will help you get there.


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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.