A Transformed Mind
You may never have fought in a real war, but if you’ve ever played a game of Risk, you know that some battlegrounds are more strategic than others. When it comes to holiness and personal peace, that make-or-break zone is the mind. If we want to walk with God, learn to distinguish his voice from our own thoughts, and grow in intimacy with him, then we need to make sure our minds are completely his. It’s one way we love him. Remember Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27).
We need to let his kingdom come and rule in our minds, so we can do his will on earth. How do we transfer the “land title” of our minds to the kingdom of God? Here are three ways:
1. Soak our minds with the Word of God
A modern paraphrase of Hebrews 4:12 could be that God’s word cuts through our tangled thoughts, clarifying which thoughts are good and which ones have roots in baser things. Therefore, let’s do everything we can to fill our minds with the Bible: study it; listen to it; memorize it; ponder it.
2. Offer ourselves to God so he can transform us
Romans 12:1 – 2 says,
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is true worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
That last phrase has different translations:
ESV “that by testing you may discern what is the will of God”
Phillips “so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good.”
AMP “so that you may prove for yourselves what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God”
Weymouth “So that you may learn by experience what God’s will is.”
In other words, as we offer ourselves to God, small decision by small decision, his Spirit begins a life changing metamorphosis in our minds. Those steps of dedication open us up to change. They also help us to see how God’s will is working in that circumstance (and to recognize how good his intentions really are for us). In that way, we learn by experience what the will of God is like.
3. Recognize the potholes and detours along the way
• Both impure thoughts and sinful attitudes (such as hatred, bitterness, and judgment) can create pollution, making our minds unclean so the presence of God can’t dwell there.
• Unsurrendered desires foster distortion. They can subtly pull us so we have difficulty correctly discerning the leading of God.
• Pride and arrogance can create blind spots. We don’t see God, others or ourselves clearly – and don’t even realize it. Remember, Peter was so sure he was right that he even corrected Jesus. Matthew 16:23 records Jesus’ response: “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
• An unhealthy imagination or a wandering mind can cause distraction or interference. They can distract us at a time when the Spirit is working so we don’t truly connect with him. They can be like static on a radio that interferes with us clearly hearing God. Let me give you an example. On a Sunday morning, your church moves into a worshipful moment during the service…and you suddenly start thinking about something else. It may not even be a bad thing. However, even mundane thoughts (like plans for lunch), can be used by the enemy to distract us from what the Holy Spirit is doing in that moment.
So let’s worship God by dedicating our minds to him in love and let’s “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Please feel free to add comments.
For those of you who find music ministers to your soul, here is a song related to today’s blog.
(official video: Let it start with Me, from the disc No Other Name, by the group The Other Side.)
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