In order to grow spiritually and be more like Jesus we need to change the way we think. It is our thoughts that dictate our actions and what we say. We all have learnt bad habits before becoming a disciple of Jesus (Christian). Living in a fallen world we are bombarded with information from numerous sources which impact the way we think about many subjects and issues. Social media and the birth of the internet has been a blessing but also a curse. Just think about everyone including children having access to pornography for example, which before the internet was not possible. The media also influence our opinions on many subjects without us really realising it. Their negative reporting on subjects can cause us to be angry and upset with the wrong people. Remember we are to love people but not their sinful behaviour. We do not have to like them.
So we need to change (renew) our thinking to be holy, righteous and loving based upon the word of God in the bible. God provided the bible to help us know what He expects from us and why. It is our standard for the way we should live our lives. This is our objective truth and not some man’s creation of what is right and wrong. Yes men wrote the bible but under the direction of the Holy Spirit and God says His word is life and truth and is all inspired by Him.
God Commands us to Renew our Mind.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
In the first verse above several things stand out.
1) Paul, by the Spirit of God urges believers to present their (physical) bodies to God as a living sacrifice.
2) Since they are urged to do it and not ask God to do it for them, it shows us that it is something we must do.
3) These “sacrifices” are to be living (not dead or physically abused, as in trying to pay penance).
4) These “sacrifices” are to be holy, which means they are to be set apart for God’s use and not for sinful use.
5) These holy, living “sacrifices” will be acceptable to God.
6) If our bodies are presented to God in the prescribed manner, they will be acceptable and that everything demanded here by God is “reasonable” and not unreasonable or extreme.
In the second verse is where we find some amazing promises.
1) First we are commanded NOT to be conformed (squeezed into a shape or moulded) by the worlds system of doing things. We should be a shinning light in this world of how God always expected us to live and act and not become shaped by it.
2) We are commanded to be transformed (metamorphosis) BY the renewing of our mind. Notice that this is THE ONLY verse in Scripture that tells us HOW our lives can be completely changed. There are many verses that tell us study the scriptures like Joshua 1:8.
3) We are told that the ONLY way we can prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God, is by renewing our minds. Notice that there are not three different degrees of the will of God. There is one will of God and it is good, acceptable and perfect.
Here we see the truths that have eluded so many.
Your life is not “transformed” by the laying on of someone’s hands. It is not transformed by receiving a “blessing” or even an “impartation”. Your life is ONLY transformed (changed) by you renewing your mind.
The reason we have had so many well-meaning people get born again and yet years later are still struggling with the same problems they had before they got born again. It is because they never renewed their minds. We cannot over emphasise this point.
If you want a different life, you must have your mind renewed to think in alignment with the Word of God (The Bible).
Another point listed here, but often missed is that before you can have your mind renewed, you must present your body as a living sacrifice.
What this means is that your mind will not become renewed if you do not put physical corresponding action into play.
The idea is that your body has been trained to act a certain way. That certain way is both ingrained in your mind/brain and it is reinforced into your mind/brain every time you do that certain action.
You think a certain way and your body acts in alignment with the thought.
Every time you do the action it reinforces the thought in your mind/brain.
Over a short while, the action and the thought become one and you have formed a habit.
This pattern is also the way you renew your mind.
If you purposely cause your body to do a certain thing a certain way, in a short time you will have trained it to do that action. When you are purposely causing your body to do a certain thing, you must also first think of the thing you want it to do, so you are in effect renewing your mind to the action every time you think about your body doing the action.
Since we are a three-fold entity: spirit, soul and body, the sooner and more often you can cause all three to work together to accomplish an action, the sooner that action will become a habit which means you have thought about it until you don’t have to think about for you to do it.
That means that you have also trained your mind or “renewed” your mind to work in alignment with the desired action in this case the Word of God.
When you have trained your mind and body to function in a negative way it is called a “stronghold”, but when you have trained your mind and body to do the Word of God it is called a renewed mind or obedience from the heart.
God created our brains to work in a certain manner.
For years it was believed that we were born with only so many brain cells called neurons. Now scientists have found out that it isn’t true. As a matter of fact, each night as you sleep, new neurons are created. Again, for years, scientists thought that our brains were “wired” so to speak to function in a certain way and that they couldn’t be changed or “re-wired”. But scientists have discovered something called neuro-plasticity.
Neuro-plasticity simply means that the brain has a “plastic” (moldable) quality. This means that we can re-wire our brain to think in different ways.
To rewire your brain, you simply must think about the thing you want to rewire your brain to think like. Once you decide how you want to think about something, you simply begin to focus and concentrate on the thing and the way you want it to be.
To renew your mind in a particular area, you don’t think about things the way they are. You begin to change your thinking, and you think about things the way you know they should be.
Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. KJV
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. KJV
Both of these verses tell us what to think on.
The first verse, tells us specifically what to think on and what not to think on.
What are you doing if you do what these verses say?
So you must first decide to use your body (including your tongue) for holy use not unholy use and you must decide to think on things you have not been thinking on.
This takes discipline and practice.
You must have consistency throughout. If you don’t it will take much longer to renew the mind.
Curry Blake of JGLM Ministries has had a major impact on my understanding the of renewing the mind.
Dr Caroline Leaf explains in much detail about how the mind works and is worth listening to on YouTube, if you are interested in how God actually made our brains and minds. She is a Christian who comes from a very scientific background.