How Do You Renew Your Mind?
Each year I choose ONE WORD to focus on throughout the year. ONE WORD has replaced every New Year's Resolution since 2015, and God has used this practice to transform my life. If you are interested, you can read all about choosing ONE WORD in this post.
In 2019, my word was RENEW, and my focus was on allowing the Lord to renew my mind. For too long, my mind has been filled with thoughts, memories, voices, should, would, and could. For too long, my mind has been filled with voices that are contrary to who God is and what He is speaking.
I felt a shift in 2019 - a turn to renewal.
Maybe you are where I was at the beginning of 2019. Depression and anxiety fill your days, and hopelessness is your constant friend. If this post can give you hope through renewing your mind, then to God be the glory.
Or maybe you are here because you want to learn to think like Christ and to fight the world’s push for conformity. I am right there with you, Sister!
What follows is a personal Bible study I did one-afternoon having lunch at Panera Bread and wondering how in the world I could renew my mind to think like Jesus. This is what the Lord showed me. May it bless you and bring you hope.
[ ri-noo, -nyoo ]
to make like new
to restore to freshness, vigor, perfection
to make new spiritually
to begin again
to restore to existence
to make extensive changes
to be born again
This verse is the cornerstone of renewal, and the one God gave me to meditate on throughout this process of renewing my 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.”
Here's the thing, My Friend, you can't take verse two of Romans 12 apart from verse one. I know we want to jump right in, but we have to focus on verse one just as much as verse two. You may be saying, "Give me the three steps I need to renew my mind so I can check them off the to-do list." I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn't work that way. Before the renewing of our minds can transform us, we have to do the work in verse one.
LET’S BREAK DOWN ROMANS 12:1.
Because of Jesus, the only acceptable form of worship is offering ourselves 100% to the Lord. We no longer live under Old Testament law because Jesus became the final sacrifice. "Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." (Hebrews 9:12)
Our worship is the daily laying down of our desires and thoughts and putting everything we are into His hands. We cannot expect to renew while we are grasping onto our own will and desires. We cannot begin the process of renewal if we aren't willing to lay down everything that isn't Him.
When we step into Romans 12:1, we are saying to the Lord, "Because of Your great sacrifice for me, I now present myself to You. All of me - my mind, my thoughts, my personality, my good, my bad - I present as a living sacrifice. Make me holy and acceptable to You, Lord."
For a moment, imagine yourself in the throne room of God. Standing before Him, you hold a beautiful silver tray. On the tray are beautifully wrapped boxes with white ribbons. Each box is labeled - my mind, my heart, my personality, my life, my body, and my emotions - all stamped on little tags. Standing before God, you hold out this tray. You are presenting a living sacrifice. You ask the Lord to take it all. You offer everything on that tray.
The Lord takes the boxes from you and says, "Thank you. Now we can begin to renew."
CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD.
“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.”
When we conform to the world, we are fashioning our lives and conduct by those around us instead of living a life that resembles the life of Christ.
Conforming to the world looks like:
Fashioning our lives or conduct by the thoughts and opinions of those around us, including those we follow on social media, rather than on what Scripture says.
Trying to fit in with the behaviors or customs of the world at work, in relationships, or even in the church.
Placing our worship over and above anything else but Jesus. Worshipping our marriages, our kids, our gifts, our talents, our material possessions ... all forms of idolatry that the world praises, but God hates. (Colossians 3:5)
Transformation can only come when we change the way we think. What is conceived in the mind, is carried out by the body.
THE ENEMY TO RENEWAL.
“The great enemy of renewal is conformity. The work of the Holy Ghost first begins in the understanding, and is carried on to the will, affections, and conversation until there is a change of the whole man into the likeness of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. To be godly, is to lift up ourselves to God.” - Matthew Henry
Such wisdom from Matthew Henry.
The enemy to renewal is conformity. Thinking like everyone else at work because it’s easier than standing up for the righteousness. Putting yourself into debt “keeping up with the Joneses” so that your home will look Instagram perfect, and everyone will think you’ve got it together. Homeschooling your kids because the church ladies are pressuring you to do so, even though you know that public school is what God designed for your family. Sending your kids to public school because your parents are pressing you even though you know that you are supposed to be homeschooling. Just put in your own example. We all do this in one way or another.
All of these example and so many more I can think of are conformity and all are the enemy of true renewal and transformation.
SO HOW DO YOU TRANSFORM THE MIND GOD’S WAY?
Transforming by the renewing of your mind is a lifelong process, I believe. But it starts right now. It starts today. Ephesians 4:23 tells us to put off the old self and be renewed in the spirit of our minds. We begin to think in new ways - God’s ways - which are righteous and holy.
THROUGH CONSTANT MEDITATION on God’s Word.
Psalm 119:1, Psalm 119:11, Colossians 1:28, Philippians 4:8, Colossians 3:10
The renewed mind is saturated with and controlled by God’s Word. It sounds simple, Friend, and you may be looking for a step-by-step, but God’s Word is the answer. Do you want to let go of conformity and be transformed but the renewing of your mind? You have got to be saturated with the Word of God.
LET’S SUM IT UP THIS WAY . . .
Assume an outward expression that doesn’t match what’s happening inside. It’s an act, a show, and an attitude that says “Fake it until you make it”.
Metamorphoō as the Bible says. They undergo a process of metamorphosis and literally change into another form . . . that being the image of The Father.
When our lives are yielded to the will of God, that will is good and acceptable and lines up with our will because we are renewed in Him. Our life becomes His. By allowing God to transform our minds, we will know the perfect will of God for our lives, and begin to walk it out.