What Is A Renewed Mind?
(How To Live The Christian Life)
(Romans 12:2) “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Do any of these statements describe you?
- I want to be free from ungodly habits and patterns of behavior. I don’t want to do the same things that I know displeases God over and over again.
- I want to stop giving in to the lifestyle of the world.
- I want my life to be changed into something that honors and glorifies God.
- I want to do the right thing for the right reason. I’m tired of pretending my motivations are pure.
- I want to live for others out of love instead of obligation.
- I want to serve God out of thankfulness instead of religious duty.
- I want to be released from guilt.
- I want my life to be an act of worship whether I’m in church or outside of church.
If you ever found yourself saying any of these things, there is hope…
Why Can’t My Life Match The Sermon?
You sit in the pew each Sunday and listen to the preacher. You like being there. You like most of the messages that are encouraging, inspiring, thought-provoking and helpful. But you know in the deepest parts of your heart what you hear doesn’t match the reality of where you live each day. The songs you sing and the messages you hear all sound good, but you feel like your life is just bogged down in the mud and muck of the everyday world that surrounds you. If you were to really admit it, in a place where no one could ever hear that inner voice, Christianity just isn’t working for you. You wonder, “What am I missing? What went so wrong since the day I was saved? Why can’t I live the kind of life I hear about in all these messages and songs? Why do I always repeat the same sins? What’s wrong with me?” Does this sound familiar? It’s discouraging to profess Christ but not seem to be able to live like his follower. But did you know at one time or another, most of us have been there? Yes, it’s true. Just about every Christian has been where you are and have asked themselves one or more of these questions. But there’s hope…
Why Do We Struggle?
Before coming to Christ, our flesh ruled every area of our lives. Immediately after becoming a Christian, a daily spiritual battle began. It is a struggle between the flesh and the spirit. For each of us, the battle manifests itself in different ways. On the outside it may appear to be a battle with alcohol, profanity, lust or any number of other things. But what you see on the outside is the outcome of the conflict. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us what this battle is about and where it is really fought:
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
The battlefield is in our minds. You see, our thoughts become programmed over time to follow a specific path. We learn from our experiences in our environment, the people around us, our church, our neighborhood – all of these things form our worldviews. These experiences gradually build up our perceptions over time. There are also events in our lives that are intense and leave a lasting impression. We learn from our traumatic experiences – death of a parent, divorce of parents, mental or physical abuse. In his book Victory Over Darkness, Neil Anderson refers these thoughts that build up over time as “mental strongholds.” These are thought patterns that have been burned into our minds until they become a habitual way of thinking. We repeatedly follow these patterns until we arrive at the same repeatable action. These thoughts are independent of God and are reinforced by a world that is independent of God.
When we come to the truth of Who God really is and salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are set aside by God with a new and eternal purpose. Our independence from God is now meant to be a life of total dependency and faith. We are designed for the Lord to be our sufficiency and provision. The problem is our minds aren’t programmed to think this way. Part of God’s plan for spiritual growth is to renovate our thought-life so it is aligned with the reality of the new creature we are in Jesus Christ. In other words, God wants to renew our minds…and this will lead us to a transformed life!
Changing Our Thinking
Our mind needs to be retrained or reprogrammed to reflect truth. The mental strongholds need to be destroyed. Our thought-life needs to be retrained to reject and avoid the world system that opposes the way God thinks.
A renewed mind is a mind that has been trained to think truth instead of lie, reality instead of the illusion of the world, in line with the Spirit and not the flesh.
(Colossians 3:10) “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”
Renewing the mind means we now think like God thinks. His attitudes become our attitudes. His passions become our passions. His purpose becomes our purpose. In other words, a new pattern of thinking is established. The old way of thinking according to the world system is no longer in our frame of reference. Our reactions to temptation are in line with how Jesus would respond. Our response is no longer submission to rage, lust, over-indulgence, depression, hopelessness, alcohol, drugs, money or anything else that would have power over our life. As a result of this new way of thinking, our life changes into a reflection of God’s nature and character. We are truly transformed and begin to live out the new identity we have in Christ. This is the key to living a consistent Christian life that is holy and in the will of God.
(Colossians 1:21-22) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:”
How Is Our Mind Renewed?
Each of us struggles daily in a spiritual battle between flesh and spirit. We also live in a world that teaches us to think independently of God. So in order to align our thinking with God’s thinking, we need to consistently and constantly go back to the place where we can place God’s thoughts into our thought-life. The Bible is where we find the recorded thoughts of God. The Scriptures need to become our new frame of reference.
(Colossians 3:16) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
As we spend more time exposed to the Word of God, we learn to think like God thinks. Our thought patterns are reprogrammed from the old fleshly way. As a result, our response to temptations, our environment and the evil around us begins to change. Old habits drop away (some take longer than others).We behave differently as we begin to think differently. Our life begins to reflect Christ.
The Renewed Mind Blog
The Renewed Mind website is intended to be a short stopping place—an oasis if you will. It’s just a small niche carved out where you can take a short sip of renewed thinking. It may be devotionals, commentary, music or any other form of thought that reflects the nature and character of God in His Word. I wanted to provide a place where people could come and take a break from the world, experience some thoughts that are aligned with our identity in Christ, and gain some encouragement to keep on living for Him. I hope The Renewed Mind is that place for you.