Friday, January 16, 2015

The Renewal Of Your Mind

There's one important thing you should be doing with your mind - you should be renewing it. What!? Sounds very intriguing, doesn't it? How is this to be done? Using hypnotism, brainwashing, or drugs? No, it's none of those things. 

The renewal of the mind that I'm talking about is a process that combines two powerful forces - your own mind and a supernatural spiritual force. This type of mind renewal is something we purposely and consciously engage in, yet it is empowered by more than mere human fortitude. It is continual, and not just a one time event. The renewal of your mind results in something powerful - a transformation. 

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2a)

This passage was written to those who were already Christians, those who have already gone through a spiritual rebirth - the point when the process of mind renewal begins. But if this is written to Christians, it means that if needs to an ongoing process - a steady, consistent, life-long process. And you can be sure of one thing - the renewal of your mind will surely result in one being transformed.

Transformation by definition implies a change of form, appearance, or character. In this case, it's the continual development of a new, changed person, in the way one both thinks and acts. The major difference between someone solely using their mind to change their life as opposed to someone whose life is changed by faith in Jesus Christ, is the influence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God's presence in us, which empowers us to change and transform, and to sustain that transformation.

So, the mind of a Christian should be set on what the Spirit desires - what God desires. A worldly focused mind is destructive, while a mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. As far as choosing which road to take, seems like a no-brainer doesn't it? 

"Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace." (Romans 8:5-6)

The renewal of the mind gives one a new perspective. We begin to live not according to the pattern of this world, but the pattern of God. What is the pattern of this world? I would say it's marked by greed, selfishness, and all of the sinful ways and desires. Fortunately, as Christians, we are rescued, ransomed, and redeemed from that dominion.

"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Colossians 1:13-14)

The Holy Spirit is the supernatural, spiritual force that is in direct opposition to the ways of this world. When we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and transform us, our perspective of life, of other people, and of God change. Not only does our mind change on these things, but our words and actions change. And not only does this transformation affect our mind, it affects our hearts, and even more significant, it affects our spirit. We become new.

"You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him." (Colossians 3:7-10)

We, as Christians, need to look at things differently. How we look at ourselves, how we look at others, and how we look at God are three areas that constantly need to be in check. Our perspectives need to be different than the worldly perspectives. And our attitude needs to be made new. 

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:22-24)

This whole mind renewal thing is our responsibility. It takes action on our part. It takes commitment. It takes faith. It takes Bible reading. And it takes prayer. And most of all, it takes the Holy Spirit in our lives. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to continually guide us in how we think and act. 

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2a)

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