RENEWING OF OUR MIND
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” (Romans 12:2)
If we’re honest, we will testify that it is challenging to always be under the pressure to think, believe and act in a certain way. Becoming like Christ, we can admit will take knowledge, wisdom, and not just a little effort.
The spiritual atmosphere we live in influences almost everything we think or do. For example, how do we speak to each other? Do our words convey love, encouragement, and compassion? Do we dress to impress (often sexually), or do we dress with a view to letting the Christ in us shine through our lives?
If we do not become spiritual meteorologists, we will be led, usually without even realizing it, into a life of ungodliness, sorrow, and pain.
St. Paul puts it plain and simple “Do not let the world squeeze you into its own mould.” He reminds believers that if we are not alert and casually resist temptation, we will make ourselves vulnerable to a world whose power is ever present to shape us into its own mould. Therefore, do not follow the standards of the world but be transformed (through the Holy Spirit) by the renewing of our mind.
Renewal Causes Transformation
The word ‘transformed’ that Paul uses is the same word that is used when Jesus is transfigured on the mountain (Matthew 17:2). It is the Greek word metamorphoo, and is in the imperative mood, implying a command. We are commanded to be transformed. It is not an option for Christians.
But what does this transformation look like? The Christian who is transformed does not seek alternative behaviors but is transformed unto glory to submit to the will of God and become free to do what God desires. This transformation is a change within. It is change in character which is reflected by the way we live.
But notice that this change begins with the renewing of our mind. The word `renewed’ comes from the Greek verb ‘anakainoo’ which means `to make new’. It implies that this new person is different from his old life, in that he bears the image of God and notice that it begins first with the mind.
It is in the mind that we perceive the thoughts of God and believe in Him. How we train our mind ultimately determines our spiritual posture, our attitudes and our witness.
Ever since the Fall, the human mind is dominated by sinful natures, the relentless internal proclivities toward self-centeredness. But after accepting Jesus as Savior, we have been given the new nature of Christ within us. God commands us therefore to put off the old nature and put on the new. That is why renewing of sin requires obedience and discipline on our part.
By daily putting aside our own desires, passions and ambitions and by bringing with every thought we bring captive to Christ and every choice we make towards freedom, we experience the life transforming Power of the Holy Spirit. He renews our mind. It is first and decisively his work and we are utterly dependent on him. The One who is in us, is greater than the world. Upon realizing that we have the spiritual power to not succumb to the atmosphere of the world, and the power to change any part of our character that has become ungodly, we now have to make up our minds to change.
What Then Shall We Do?
1. Get real and honest
To change we must first get honest with ourselves about what needs to be changed. Making excuses for ungodly behavior will not help, nor will minimizing any character trait we do not want to have to deal with.
2. Surrender our mind
The first step is to surrender our mind, our thoughts and our inclinations to God by becoming consciously aware that our own pleasures and happiness can no longer be primary goals. We must be willing to renounce all that has the potential to get in the way of the lifestyle of renewal.
3. Obedience to God
The second and most imminent step that follows is obedience. Obedience brings us into communion with God. In communion with God, reading and meditating on His Word, we will be able to sense God’s thoughts and His heart leading us. Such communion is fostered by spending quality time with God each day, reading and meditating on His Word and making prayer an utmost priority among all other things.
And while we are called to do this, we must understand that the challenges of this world will bring us down and cause us to become weary and despondent. But this only teaches us that we cannot achieve freedom with our own strength, although it requires our initiative. We need the power of the Holy Spirit, the perfect Counselor to be a vital part of every area that needs transformation and renewing. He alone can strengthen and re-vitalize our commitment to God.
Above all else, pray, pray and pray that you may desire what’s pleasing to God and can give true worship.