Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Do you feel like your mind needs a little renewing right now? Are you tired of the way things are in your life and seek a change for the better? This passage gives us a significant insight on how we can change the course of our lives simply by changing our minds.
So what does it mean to ďrenew our minds?Ē Will this require us to undergo some sort of brain surgery to fix a problem with our brain?
Donít worry. It wonít be necessary to review your health insurance policy for a surgery or require the need for electrodes to be attached to your head. Instead, your mind needs to be attached to Godís plan for you. If you donít know what that is for you, then you need to communicate with Him to find that out.
Renewing your mind isnít something that happens instantly. Too many times in our churches we think that with one powerful prayer at the altar and suddenly a person is changed and their mind is renewed from that point. To some extent it is; however, it is not the complete work. It is a beginning. Renewing the mind is a continuous process. For someone to renew his or her mind, it takes effort, not some invisible spiritual lightning bolt from one prayer at the altar. From that point, it takes a person making the committed effort for a lifestyle change. Even seasoned Christians must apply the same process in renewing their minds daily.
What do I mean by a lifestyle change? Each day you and I have developed a way that we live our lives from the food that we eat to the way we dress. Itís easy to have a holy lifestyle on Sunday morning in church but it is vitally important how we live the rest of our lives away from the shadow of the church steeple. This requires us to develop a healthy and holy way to live the rest of the week. When I mention the word ďholyĒ, I donít mean we have to go around the rest of the week living as perfect human beings with our hands constantly folded into a praying position. The truth is that none of us can possibly live a perfect week. We will make bad choices; have trials and problems that will affect the way that we respond. With that said, we can renew our minds so that we can respond to life better.
It bothers me to see people who have such great potential but are constantly dragged down by their past mistakes or bad habits. It seems that just when they reach a point where they have decided to let God be the focus of their lives that the enemy overwhelms them with reality and defeats them over and over again in a vicious cycle. At some point, we all must make the decision that this cycle stops and a new reality begins! It might require a bold move or us doing something to stop the spiritual merry-go-round that weíve been riding. That is a lifestyle change and where renewing the mind begins.
What does it take to make this life changing a reality? What kind of work is involved in renewing your mind? When you read Romans 12:2, the clue is the first part of this verse when it says: ďbe not conformed to this world.Ē This world is a sinful place and its values do not need to be yours. You should be set apart from the world in your thinking and the way that you live your life. The single most helpful way to counter your life from conforming to the world is to fill your mind with God rather than the world. The world has a multitude of ways to fill your mind with its values so that you can conform to its views; however, we must counteract that with the right thinking. Philippians 4:8 instructs us to think on things which are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good report and things of virtue. I hardly think you will be able to do this if you tune into any of the primetime shows on television. To think on the right things requires some work. We must block out or filter those things which will not benefit us.
Unfortunately, these things require people to make drastic changes in their lives such as friends, habits and the daily routine. Itís easy to decide to keep your life as it is. Thereís no effort involved in letting things stay the same. Laziness keeps many from making these changes and this robs people from ever knowing whatís on the other side of those decisions. Changing your lifestyle is hard in the beginning. Nobody likes change but we all complain about needing change. A baby doesnít like to be changed but if he or she is not changed, it causes a lot of problems. Yes, sometimes a change in lifestyle requires us to terminate some friendships. This is perhaps the hardest choice to make. Many of those who are caught in the cycle of spiritual defeats are those who canít make those right choices of friends. There are two things about friends. Either they influence you or you influence them. A person may have a wonderful spiritual experience on Sunday but when they get back home, work or with their friends, the choice becomes difficult. Too many people choose to ďchicken outĒ and try to have a relationship with God and their friends too. Rarely does God win out in these situations. Iím not saying that friends are wrong but many times we neglect the things we have to do in order to affect real change in our lives. We need to align ourselves with good friends and people who love God.
To continue the transformation process with our minds, we MUST keep our minds on God throughout the week. This means we should continue to sing praises and keeping our minds filled with His Word. We shouldnít limit this to the time we spend at church on Sunday. We must discipline ourselves to change the dial on our radio station or our CD collection to songs of praise instead of Top 40 or other music we have been listening to throughout the rest of the week. There is such a variety of Christian music today that it is possible to find the right one that will renew your spirit daily. No one says we have to listen to hymn or choral arrangements to live a holy life.
Iíll also go as far as urging us to stop listening to talk radio as well. We shouldnít listen to the things which shape our opinions and stir up more strife. We donít need it. We need to spend more time listening to those who teach us the Word or sermons which will build up our minds to think the right things. Yes, maybe itís important to know what the Democrats or Republicans are saying but how much more important are the eternal things?
The most important thing we can do in transforming our lives on a daily basis is prayer. We MUST have communication with God. We must never let our only prayers be those that we pray in church. If anything, we must pray more outside of the walls of the church instead of the time we do when we are in a church service. has an edge over us if our prayer closets are empty during the week. He doesnít have a problem if we pray at church. Itís when we call upon heaven in our personal prayer times that bother him. Prayer isnít something we should do to show others that we can pray some eloquent prayers. Some of my most powerful prayers have been some of the most simple, grammatically incorrect sentences. Our prayer lives might not open the door to a encounter with an angel or a burning bush but it will definitely transform us and renew our minds. I guarantee it!
Tired of the way things are? Pray. Pray for the transformation of your life. Change your lifestyle and make God the priority. Turn off the television and make your primetime Godís time. Put down the newspaper and pick up the Word of Life.
You have tried everything else but has it made you happy? Are you tired of being defeated when you try to do right? Is it time for a change? Make that decision today! You donít have to say ďShazam!Ē for the transformation to begin but you must begin by calling upon the name of the Lord. Once you begin the renewal process, donít give up. If you make it through and develop the right lifestyle choices, you will be that new creature in Christ. The old things will be in the past and all things will be new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)