As one approaches the topic of renewing the mind (Rom. 12:2), often his own shortcomings quickly come to his memory. Many battles have been lost in this area, but the fight must still be fought. Renewing the mind may very well be the most difficult venture the Christian will undertake. However, we must remember we are not alone. God is here to help, and He has given us the means to fight the good fight of the faith.
1) God will renew your mind through the new birth.
In brief, if you want to renew your mind, you must be born again. The Bible says that the unbeliever is “dead in his trespasses and sins” (English Standard Version, Eph. 2:1). This means that the unbelieving mind is always without life. When we approach the topic of the renewed mind, we are talking about a mind that has life (hence the word renew). When one is born again, the Scripture says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). If you have not yet recognized that God is a holy, righteous, and just Judge who created you and that you have broken His law by sinning against Him, this is the first step. Second, you must recognize Jesus as your only solution to being under God’s judgment for your sin. Jesus came into the world to save the world, not condemn it (John 3:17). He was perfectly sinless and died on the cross to pay the price that we deserved. He rose from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Finally, you must believe in Jesus and repent of your sin. If you are an unbeliever, reading the book of John could be a very helpful step in understanding this more.
2) God will renew your mind through His Word.
In 2 Peter chapter 1, Peter gives his readers a list of godly character traits that they are to be practicing in their daily lives. After he does this, he goes on to say, “Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right… to stir you up by way of reminder” (1 Pet. 1:12-13). Unfortunately, the basics of the Bible and even the importance of reading the Bible can be easily forgotten.
If we want to renew our minds, we must be in the Bible every day in some form or fashion. This could be simply reading the Bible using a daily Bible reading plan, finding chapters that are helpful for you, or studying a specific portion of the Bible. The reality is that our minds will not be renewed unless we continue to turn to the Lord through His Word.
3) God will renew your mind through prayer.
However, for many of us there are times that our Bible reading can seem dull and dry. As we get up from our reading, it is as though we are not taking anything with us to assist us in that day. Some helpful tips could be to slow down your reading. Do not worry about reading a lot but rather just a couple paragraphs or a chapter. Read this portion of Scripture multiple times in the same sitting, and pray through the words that the Holy Spirit is seeking to tell you. Prayer is vitally important in our attempts to renew our minds. As we pray through the Scriptures, we actively engage in thinking through them while also asking God for His help concerning what we are reading.
4) God will renew your mind through meditation on His Word.
As you read and pray, begin to meditate on what you are reading. Meditation is a crucial component in renewing the mind and must be learned for anyone who plans to cover any ground in this fight. Meditation is simply thinking about what you are reading and the implications of it. Ask yourself questions such as the following: “What does this particular word that I am reading mean?” “What can I know about God from this scripture?” “How is knowing this about God comforting, convicting, motivating, or encouraging to me?” “How does this verse apply to me?” “What are some specific ways I can apply this verse today?” This is a short list that is only meant to help. While not exhaustive, it hopefully can get you started on your way. Slow down as you read, try thinking of more questions you could be asking yourself about the Scriptures, and even try memorizing a verse from your reading.
5) God will renew your mind through faith.
Frequently battles are not won in our minds because we do not believe they can be. Simply put, your spiritual progress will equal that of your faith. If you do not believe you can overcome various sin struggles in your mind, then you won’t. A point of encouragement is that you can believe God, and God has shown you what to believe:
• I am a new creation. (2 Cor. 5:17)
• I have died to sin. (Rom. 6:2)
• I am alive to God. (Rom. 6:11)
• I will not be dominated by sin. (Rom. 6:14)
• I am free from sin. (Rom. 8:2)
Christian speaker and author Eric Ludy uses a helpful illustration (Johnson, 2020). Fact (the Bible), Faith (what you believe), and Experience (your personal experience) all set out to walk on a very narrow ridgepole. Every time Faith gets on by himself, he falls. When Fact walks the ridgeline, he makes it look easy. Faith begins to try to follow Fact but often looks back at Experience and falls. However, the more Faith looks at Fact, the better he becomes at walking the ridgepole. Experience tries to get Faith’s attention as Faith tries to walk across. However, as Faith keeps his eyes on Fact, he finds he is able to walk the ridgepole. Gradually, Experience begins to follow behind.
So often we can look at our experience (failures) and think we can never do what the Bible has called us to do. At this point, we are allowing our experience to determine what is true rather than the Bible. Fix your eyes on what the Bible says, and believe what God has told you.
Do not be discouraged along the way. Jesus is with you in the fight. Plant good seed now, and reap a harvest in due time.
Father, I thank You for Your grace. You know the challenges that I face in attempting to renew my mind and be more like Christ. I thank You that His blood has washed away my sin and that You have cast my sins into the sea of forgetfulness (Mic. 7:19). However, I want to be more like You, and I pray for You to impart Your grace to me this day and fill me with Your Spirit. I need You, Lord, and apart from You I can do nothing (John 15:5). Thank You for leading me and guiding my path. Sanctify me, Lord, I pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.