Transformation: Our Minds

Renewing our mind… what does that look like? Romans 12:2 is the famous verse that talks about transformation happening because our minds are renewed, but what does that mean? The New Oxford American Dictionary defines renewed as: given fresh life or strength; replaced. Interesting, huh? So if we were to apply that to Romans 12:2, the verse might read like this: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the replacement or fresh life and strength given to your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Now I don’t know about you, but those things sound quite appealing. I want to prove what God’s will is! I don’t want to conform to this world! I want to be transformed! But what does it mean to have your mind “replaced or given fresh life and strength”? Where does that strength and life come from? Where does the “transplant mind” come from, if our minds are to be replaced? Who does the replacing? These are all questions that I am going to explore in the next few paragraphs, so hang tight.

Fresh strength and life — we all want to have extra energy or motivation, right? I think the secret to finding fresh LIFE and strength is found in knowing God. He gives those things to us when we know Him! When I say “knowing” I don’t just mean in knowing who He is and what He has done, I mean knowing Him Himself. If I asked you, “Do you know your mom?” (and you replied, “well duh!”), in what ways could you tell me you know her? Maybe you know her favorite color, her height, her pet peeves, her most despised food. And you would be right in telling me these things. But what if I want to know more? “How do you know that you truly KNOW her?” I might ask. And you might respond, “Well, I just do. I live with her; I spend time with her. I talk with her and know her heart about certain things. I enjoy her company. I love her!” And THESE were the answers I was looking for! This is also how we can know God. To know God, we must live with Him — listen to His Voice, walk with Him, and talk with Him. We must spend time with Him, learn His heart for different things, and enjoy His company. We must love Him!

Part of knowing God, I think, is developing great thoughts about Him. “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6). Romans says that if our might ISN’T set on the Spirit of God, that IS death! This means that we need to have thoughts of God. This may look like memorizing His Word and keeping it in our mind (constantly in our thoughts), spending time with Him in silence, remembering His truth and discovering more of His truth (about ourselves, about the world, about ontology or epistemology, about science, about psychology, about language — the list could go on and on!), or meditating on His character — His omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, aseity, greatness, love, justice, peace, etc (if you don’t know what some of those big words mean, it might be a good idea to look them UP). This may be dangerous ground on which to tread, but I might go as far as to say that God seems only as great as the thoughts that we have of Him. IF this is true, we need to have greater and greater thoughts of Him!

Finally, what we think about in our minds affects our relationships with others, our feelings, and our body. If we constantly worry about the future or other things in our life, we will quickly become a very anxious person. If we contemplate sin frequently, we are creating an even higher potential in ourselves to go commit those sins. Our relationships will be affectd because the things we talk about are the things on which our minds are most frequently set. We will only talk about the things that worry us if we only feed our minds with these worries. And if we only feed our minds with contemplation of sin, then we are very likely to talk about these sins in a desiring way. This not only causes selfish relationships, but it creates discussions that are not God-honoring. By fretting about the little things in our lives, we are saying that God is not big enough, wise enough, or caring enough to provide for our every need and remember our desires. By discussing sins that appeal to us, we are often saying that God is not holy enough or great enough for our respect, obedience, and worship.

Not only will these thought patterns affect our friendships and other relationships, but they will also affect our overall mood and lifestyle. When we are anxious constantly, this affects our body, too. We may be constantly restless and unable to possess the peace that God so freely offers us. We also may not sleep well or eat enough. This could make us feel sick and, in turn, not provide our body with enough exercise, which will add to the unhealthiness of our lifestyle. If we ponder sinful or selfish things incessantly, this may cause us to eat too much, to become lazy, or to become irritated or angry far too easily. This can cause the opposite spectrum of unhealthiness.

As you can hopefully see, our minds are very important, and what we set our minds upon can very quickly affect all aspects of our lives. If we truly desire to honor God with our minds, the first step is to make the decision to give Him our minds. “Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3)

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