Rene Descartes, one of the most brilliant mathematicians who ever lived, coined the phrase, “I think; therefore, I am.” While many have used this phrase in a way to glorify human preeminence, Descartes’ statement involves a key Biblical principle for transformation: that our minds are central to “becoming”. How we think, how we process reality, helps determine our outcomes and actions. This is particularly, and powerfully, true when our thought process is directed by God, Himself.
The Apostle Paul calls us to this “mind over matters” approach to life in His definition of Whole Life Worship in Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to the world’s mold, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern and approve God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.
Whole Life Worship begins by offering our whole selves to God (12:1). It continues as we choose to not conform to the world’s mold (v. 2aa). And it transforms when we allow God to renew our minds: our thoughts and attitudes (v. 2ab).
Our minds are very powerful instruments. They set the course for how we live our lives – for better or for worse. Satan, the enemy of our soul, knows this. Therefore, he makes every effort to influence our thinking. This is especially so when our hearts get inspired to do God’s will. How many times, when God moves in our hearts to do His will, do our minds get bombarded with thoughts like: “I’m not qualified to do that” or “what will people think?” or “I’m going to make a fool of myself” or “I really don’t have the time”? Guess where those thoughts came from? Our enemy is very active in whispering doubts, fears, worries and distractions into our minds. Sometimes we believe these thoughts are actually our own thoughts (Satan loves to whisper these thoughts in “first person”). The purpose for Satan’s bombardment of our minds is to keep us from doing the will of God. And he is, more often than not, very successful at it.
But suppose we allow our minds to be influenced by Christ instead; how powerful would that be! Not only would we be free from Satan’s influence, but we would know and be able to do God’s will through the Spirit of Christ (Phil. 4:13)
The key word in this passage is “renew”. Our minds need to be renewed. By the curse of our fallen nature, our “default setting” is to perceive reality as how the world, the flesh and the devil define it. As a result, we see the world incorrectly. Our perception is very flawed. Not only that, it keeps us in bondage to our fears, limitations and desires. Jesus said that if our “eyes” (our perception of reality) are bad then our whole body will be dark. And if the “light” we think we have is actually darkness, how great will that darkness be (Matt. 6:23). If our minds are wrong in their perception of reality then we are headed down a very dark road.
What can renew our minds to see reality correctly – as God sees it? Only God can! And, praise God, He has made it possible through the power of Christ and the indwelling of His Spirit in our lives. He wants to renew our minds so that we can do what we were created to do: His will. He has given us the tools to have our minds renewed by Him. What are they?
1. The Word of Christ – Paul says in Colossians 3:16, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” We need to be exposed regularly to the Word. This not only means reading our Bible (perhaps one of the most neglected spiritual disciplines in our day and age), but reflecting upon it and listening for Jesus’ voice speak to our lives through it. Too often we read Scripture and then put it away without another thought. As you read your daily Scripture reading, take time to reflect on it and ask Jesus to speak to your heart.
2. The Body of Christ – an effective community of believers empowers us to discern between right and wrong, between “good” and “godly”. I have two very dedicated Christian brothers I meet with every other week for accountability and sharing. I have met with one of these brothers for over twenty years! I have become spiritually stronger through these relationships in ways I can’t on my own. I can only see the “trees” in my life; my brothers can see the “forest”. We give each other proper perspective as we wrestle with the issues of life. My mind is renewed and my heart is refreshed through the power of godly fellowship.
God so desperately wants to renew our minds. He knows that an “un-renewed” mind leads to a hardened heart and a wasted life. He knows that if our thinking can be changed, our living will be transformed and our doing will become powerfully fruitful. But this can only happen if we offer our minds to Him … in whole life worship.
Take my heart and form it. Take my mind, transform it. Take my will, conform it to Yours, O Lord.
(“Take My Life” by Scott Underwood)