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Renewing the Mind

Deep in the soul of each believer lives a yearning to live for and to please the Lord. The key to honoring God in a daily walk of triumph and victory hinges on renewing the mind.

The Apostle Paul challenged the Roman Christians regarding mind renewal, saying: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Paul's words are loaded with golden nuggets of commitment, coupled with action-packed, spiritual vitamins.

The word for “mind” (Rom. 12:2)) is nous, “the understanding, the mind as the faculty of thinking. Attitude, as the sum total of the whole mental and moral state of being.” (Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament, University of Chicago Press) The mind is an integral part of the inner personality. It works in harmony with the will and emotions in decision-making.

The Word of God speaks of a focused mind (Isa. 26:3), humble mind (Acts 20:19); fervent mind (2 Cor. 7:7), a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7), and a cooperative mind (1 Pet. 3:8). The mind has far-reaching implications in our Christian walk. The need for its constant renewal is without question.

Across America, the spring season is a special time for effort and endeavor in cleaning out closets and clearing out garages and sheds. At the end of these tasks, sighs of relief are breathed as everyone finishes a major accomplishments.

The renewal of the mind is an appropriate pursuit on a regular basis, for our minds can become cluttered with anger, bitterness, doubt, pride, selfishness, unkindness and un-forgiveness.

In self-pity we can nurse grudges, in some cases for a long time. Renewing the mind by confession of sin (1 John 1:9) will clear away this hindering clutter and position us for a fresh start with the joy of heaven upon us.

Since the world will always try to tempt us and never bless us (1 John 2:15-17), we as believers must clear our minds by setting our minds on things above (Col. 3:2).

The word “therefore” in Romans 12:1 is a grammatical signal to stop, look back, and observe what has said before. The words,  “by the mercies of God, ” suggest our redemptive relationship with our Lord. The ways in which God has dealt with us in mercy are delineated in Romans 1 through 11.

Once saved, the child of God needs to begin the process of renewing his mind. As he yields his life to the Holy Spirit, he can please the Lord in thought, and deed.

Mind renewing begins with the presentation of one's body in total commitment, whole -hearted motivation, and persistent determination to God. The Lord requires a living sacrifice in contrast to dead animal sacrifices.

The word “renewal” in Romans 12:2 is anakainosis in Greek, and means  a “spiritual rebirth.” In a broader sense, renewing also involves new ideals that mold our mind’s. Renewing the mind insulates it against the carnal pull of our old sinful desires. The renewed mind thrives on feasting and focusing on the Word of God.

The mind is renewed as the Word is read, prayed in and lived out. The Word of God renews the mind because it is; wonderful in beauty (Ps. 119:18); divinely inspired in content (2 Tim. 3:16); abundant in grace and provision (Rom. 5:20; Phil. 4:13, 19); and sweeter than nutrient-loaded honey (Ps. 19:10). The Word of God is sufficient to supply and sustain mind renewal, for it declares what is right (Ps. 19:8), delights the heart (Ps. 19:14), and directs the life (Prov. 3:5-7). Renewing matures in performance, Precept and practice go hand-in-hand. We learn best and quickly what we do.

True worship invigorates us to go to our places of work in order to witness and share our faith.The fields are ready for harvest (John 4:35). The Lord Jesus exemplified work in His ministry. He came to serve, not to be served (Mark 10:45).

We are saved “unto good works” (Eph. 2:10). The word “unto” means resulting in. Salvation of the soul produces action in daily life. God's Word also reminds us that His Word equips us in doing His will (2 Tim. 3:17).

The mind is renewed when the things that are precepts in our hearts become performance in our lives. Walking with our Lord to do His will enables us to involve our lives with others and renew our minds on a daily schedule.

One great blessing of renewal is that we are “transformed” (Rom. 12:2). The word means to change one's outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of one's inner being. As we are transformed by divine power, our minds are made strong. We are delivered from the mundane things of earth to the blessings of heaven (Eph. 1:3).

The renewal of the mind results in our becoming transformed instead of those who blindly follow the world’s trends. We receive strength to triumph over the world's fads that offer only passing satisfactions.

On our journey home to our Father's home in glory, let us renew our minds through seeking those things that are above (Col. 3:1).

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