As followers of Christ, we need to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. But what does this look like practically? And how can you actually and practically be transformed by the renewing of your mind? This is something that I feel the need for so strongly in my life. I KNOW that I need this renewal, and that it is something I need to actively practice daily. The following is what I have found to be very helpful steps to renewing your mind.
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Do you watch the news? Or scroll social media? I know I do. What I’ve noticed, is that the things I observe around me, and expose myself to, have a way of creeping into my mind and my heart. This isn’t all bad. After all, I’m a human, living in the world God made.
Sometimes, though, what we’re surrounded by can actually begin to shape us. THAT is not a good thing. Why is that a bad thing? Because we’re not called to be transformed to the image of this world, but to the image of God.
When Life Gets In The Way
As of the writing of this article, there’s a virus going around. Corona virus. All day long, reporters are bringing us the latest news on who is infected, what the numbers are, what the risk is, how long we could be in lock-down… And not only is it on the news outlets… but the unofficial news outlets as well. You know. Social media.
Everywhere I turn people are posting about isolation, scarcity, quarantine, FEAR. The tone of voice and the tone of writing is unanimous- FEAR. Fear is rampant. Why? Because what you’re exposed to is what you become.
I’m guilty of letting this happen in my own life. With corona virus, with motherhood, with my identity. I sometimes let the world tell me who I am and how I should feel.
But the story doesn’t end with me being conformed to the world. My story continues with the renewal of my mind to things above. And it can be the same for you.
Steps to Renewing Your Mind
Remember, this is not something we work at for a week or two, and then we’re done. This is a refinement process that lasts an earthly lifetime. It brings to mind that the gospel doesn’t offer a life filled with cheap, easy grace. The gospel offers something better. Constant refinement. Constant choosing- choosing to turn from our old ways, and turn to the new ways (Ephesians 4:22-24). This choosing brings me to step 1.
Step 1: You are capable of choice
As we begin talking about the steps to renewing your mind, it’s so important to understand that God created us with free will. With choice. Free choice is a skill that is developed and practiced. For example, if you were to set a bowl full of marshmallows in front of a 4-year-old, they might make the choice to eat them all. However, if you put that same bowl in front of a 30 year old, they would likely be able to resist.
Choosing well is like exercising a muscle. We can do it, and it gets easier with practice.
The Bible tells us that we’re to direct our thinking. For example:
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me- practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:8-9
Do you see that there where it says THINK about these things? God wants us to consider the good, the true, the pure. He wants us to focus on that… not the lies that surround us.
There are many scriptures about your mind. Here are just a couple more:
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” – Colossians 3:2
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” – Matthew 22:37
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” – Matthew 7:24
Do you notice that those are all not passive? They’re active. SET your minds. LOVE the Lord your God with all your MIND. HEAR his words and DO them.
Choosing. The first step to renewing your mind is CHOOSING to do so.
Step 2: What are you putting in your mind?
As I mentioned above, what we expose ourselves to has the potential to transform us. So what are we allowing into our lives? Are we allowing ourselves to be saturated with fear? Have you chosen to be so engulfed in the culture that you start to believe the lies, rather than rest in truth?
Earlier, I quoted Philippians 4:8-9. However, just before that in verse 7, this is what it says:
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7
GUARD your hearts and your minds. This is another passage that shows us that being transformed by the renewing of your mind is an active process. You must actively guard your heart and mind so that the peace of God can truly be with you.
Step 3: Soak yourself in the Word
Colossians 3 tells us that we are to “put off” the old self, and put on the “new self” which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of the creator. But how do we put on the new self?
The new self begins to form when you “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”(Colossians 3:16a)
Jesus the Son and God the Father are revealed to us in the Bible. The Bible tells us that if we have been raised with Christ we are to:
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” – Colossians 3:2
Again, this is active.
If we are raised with Christ, and seeking that continual transformation and renewal of the mind, we must be seeking him through the Word.
Step 4: Speak TRUTH to your mind and allow HOPE
The words you say, and the words you think have incredible power. The old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” is actually false. Sure, sticks and stones may break your bones… but words hurt in emotional and physical ways.
Studies, like this one cited in Psychology Today, show that negative or positive words literally have the ability to re-wire your brain.
This is another area where we see just how important it is not to conform to culture, but instead to be transformed by the renewal of your mind.
As I said, culture speaks so many lies to us. You’re not smart enough. Organized enough. Pretty enough. Thin enough. Or motherly enough. Professional enough. Not to mention too emotional… or not emotional enough.
STOP believing those lies. Go back to the source of truth, and keep reminding yourself of it.
This brings us back to Philippians 4:8.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE—if anything is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY—think about such things.”
Those words sound so much better. Focus on what’s true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Your body, soul AND mind will thank you for it.
Here is a word of truth and hope for you to hold onto:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Steps to Renewing Your Mind
- YOU ARE CAPABLE OF CHOICE
- WHAT ARE YOU ALLOWING INTO YOUR MIND?
- SOAK YOURSELF IN THE WORD
- SPEAK TRUTH TO YOUR MIND AND ALLOW HOPE
These are the steps to renewing your mind that I have identified. I pray that this will be a helpful tool for you as you seek to follow Christ faithfully. We are so blessed to serve a God who invests so much in our refinement. We are not an after thought to him.
Feel free to grab the free printable below all about getting your priorities straight so that you can intentionally and faithfully live out this life God has gifted you with.