What is the “renewal of the mind?” It has nothing to do with becoming in expert in theology or apologetics. Too many people think this, then excuse themselves, saying, “I’m no theologian, that’s not meant for me.” No... this is not the renewed mind.
Simply put, a renewed mind means thinking God’s thoughts - about God, about others, about ourselves. It means having a thought realm in total alignment with the mind of God: filled with the light of God’s Word, in thorough and complete agreement. In other words, it means faith.
When we think of repentance, we usually think first of morality and behavior. While important, this is not the first area of repentance. St Augustine points out that Eve distrusted God (thought realm) before eating the fruit (behavior). “Repent” means, first and foremost, changing our thinking. We act as we think, and sin originates from a mind out of alignment and agreement with the mind of God.
Here are ten signs of an un-renewed mind - areas requiring growth, the light of God’s word, repentance, and conversion.
- Insecurity - thinking like an orphan needing always to win approval from God and others
- Comparison - thinking with sadness of what I lack in comparison to others
- Helplessness - thinking I am powerless with no control over my life and situation
- Denial - self-justification; accusing others, excusing myself; failure to take responsibility
- Contempt - tearing others down and writing them off, refusing to be open to any good in them
- Fear - thinking I face all my problems alone; God is absent, indifferent, will not help me
- Poverty - thinking I have nothing to offer or contribute, have no access to Kingdom riches
- Self-pity - victim thinking locked in ego, shunning gratitude, focusing only on negatives
- Unforgiveness - refusing to let go of hurts, or trust that God is bigger than offenses
- Despair - thinking that circumstances are bigger than God, giving up hope for victory
These are toxic weeds in the garden of our mind, consuming precious nutrients and energy, choking out healthy growth, and thwarting our harvest. They have to go.
Some questions to assess our progress towards mind-renewal: How is my self-talk? Am I my own worst enemy? Am I sabotaging my own happiness and negating the victory of Christ by agreeing with - and repeating - thoughts that contradict God’s saving word and work on my behalf?
Theologian and pastor Dr Tim Keller has said, “The most damaging statements that have ever been said about us are those things we have said about ourselves to ourselves.” How true...and how sad! We don’t have to live like that. God created us, and said, “It is good.” He redeemed us, and said, “you are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased”. Who, then, are we to entertain thoughts to the contrary?
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