It’s so easy for our minds to be distracted and corrupted by the world. Our senses are always subject. What we see, hear, and speak show our thoughts and our heart. If you watch too much news, TV shows, listen to music, and gossip, you are bound to think more like the world.
We don’t even realize how much influence the world has over us if we’re not careful. Monitoring our heart and our senses shows how much we conform to this world. But we can lock everything out.
So how do we keep ourselves from being influenced by the world? Jesus calls us to be his representatives, his ambassadors who influence the world for him and his kingdom. If we’re going to be effective representatives, we must renew our minds in Christ.
Not Conformed to the World
The Bible commands us not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2). Conforming to this world means that we are shaped and formed by it instead of by Jesus. We are influenced by the world and it changes who we are, what we look like.
God wants us to be formed and shaped into Jesus’ image (Romans 8:29). We can’t have it both ways. Either we are conformed by the world, or conformed to Christ. Instead of being shaped by the world, Jesus transforms us by the renewing of our minds.
Transformation is being changed, like the caterpillar in the cocoon that turns into a butterfly. Only Jesus can change us in such a powerful way. Both conformed and transformed our passive here, meaning it happens to us. Either the world changes us or Jesus changes us.
But renewing our minds is something we do. This is a command, so it’s possible for us to do it, required for us as Christians. So how do we renew our minds? Paul gives us a clue by telling us to use our minds to discern God’s will, the things that please him.
So we must figure out how to discern God’s will in our lives. The words for discern and test have the same root. Both of these words refer to testing. Through testing the ideas of the world and putting them against Scripture, we renew our minds, putting God’s words and principles ahead of the world’s.
One way we continue to renew our minds is through reading the Scriptures. The Bible is God’s Word. He speaks to us by the Spirit as we read the text. The Holy Spirit applies what we read to our lives and situations. He gives us wisdom for everyday living.
When we read God’s Word, we must first believe that what we read is the truth about life, the world, and us. When it tells us we are new creatures in Christ, God’s children, and other parts of our identity, we must not believe what the devil says about us.
The devil is the accuser of the brothers and the father of lies. He controls this world right now, the Prints of the Power of the Air. Everything in this world system is designed by him to distract us and to tell us lies.
We must not listen to the ideas of the world. We belong to a different kingdom. The Bible doesn’t make us mindless drones. It tells us the truth so we can serve God more effectively.
Communing with God
Through prayer, we communicate with God. Unfortunately, many people use prayer as a way to talk about their needs and wants. Prayer does that, but it is so much more. It is a way to communicate with God in two-way conversation.
Most people don’t realize that God will speak to us through prayer. We tend to do all the talking and none of the listening. But when you learn to listen to God’s voice, he gives us clear direction for our daily lives.
He reaffirms what he has told us in his Word. We can talk with him about the situations happening in our lives. We experience his presence, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
But there’s something more than just communicating with God. Through prayer, we commune with him. In his presence, he works in an instant what muffin else can do in us. He heals us, loves us, restores us, and so much more.
Communing with God is like nothing else in this world. The relationship we have with him brings his strength. The world won’t understand how he renews our minds by talking and walking with us through our life.
Meditating on the Word
Another way our minds are renewed is not only by reading God’s Word, but by meditating on it. Many Christians are leery of meditation because of the bad rap it gets from the world. But Christian meditation is opposite of worldly meditation.
When I say the word “meditation,” most people think of Eastern or New Age meditation. These techniques teach you how to “empty your mind” of everything that’s inside. You meditate on emptiness.
This leads to you listening to an inner voice that is yours and not God’s. This is where your flesh, your selfishness and your own desires, dwell. So Eastern and New Age meditation focuses on you and listens to your voice instead of God’s.
In Christian meditation, we do the opposite. We fill our minds with the Scriptures, God’s voice and his wisdom. We focus on what God expects of us, his expectations, his teachings and commandments. Instead of listening to our voice, we listen to God’s voice.
So how do we meditate on God’s Word? Meditation in the Old Testament was based off of murmuring the words of Scripture, a groaning or chanting of the words. Through Christian meditation we internalize Scripture.
Find a verse or two of Scripture the Spirit has been bringing up to you and committed to memory. Repeat the verses several times. Ask the Holy Spirit how to apply them. Then use those words to apply them to that situation.
For instance, if I’m feeling discouraged about being a quadriplegic, I find a Scripture like Hebrews 11:1 that talks about faith and hoping and what God is going to do. For instance:
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.
Trusting God is the assurance of my healing, the conviction I will walk again.
Take that Scripture and repeat the promise. Then apply it to your situation and continue to believe that promise is for that situation. This must be done within reason. The verses you meditate upon must apply to your situation.
You can’t meditate on a verse that promises God’s blessings and think you will win $1 million. These apply to real life situations. They apply to the things you’re going through right now. But this is how we set our mind on the Scripture instead of what the world says.
Thinking after God
One of the saints of old ones coined the phrase, “Thinking God’s thoughts after him.” In a sense, renewing your mind is like thinking God’s thoughts after him. We look for ways to think on good and godly things.
One of my favorite scriptures about this is Philippians 4:8 that tells us to think on the good and godly things. Paul lists eight things we can think on rather than the things of the world. When you’re going through trials and suffering, don’t dwell on that. Dwell on the good things of God.
Instead of thinking about your pain and suffering, quote scriptures and think about God’s blessings and promises in your life. It’s not ignoring your reality. It’s acknowledging God’s reality for you.
The world would tell you something close to what Job’s wife told him, to curse God and die. Instead, thank God for his goodness and mercy’s in your life every day. If you can’t think of his blessings, you need to look for them because they are there.
The Bible tells us God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). So every day we have something to praise God about, and to thank him for. We need to look everywhere for these blessings and mercies. As the psalmist said, “Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me, less his holy name” (Psalm 103:1).
Hearing God’s Voice
One of the final ways I will mention to renew your mind regularly is to listen for God’s voice. Jesus said that as the Good Shepherd, his sheep hear his voice (John 10:27). As God’s people, we must listen for God’s voice.
Many volumes have been written on how to hear God’s voice. Elijah was able to hear God’s still, small voice even though God sent several signs of his presence before he spoke to the prophet (1 Kings 19:11-13).
People talk about several approaches to hearing God’s voice. Before we talk about those, I can’t stress Elijah’s example enough. How did he know what God’s voice sounded like, no matter what other signs of his presence were there? Because he had a regular, vibrant, and constant relationship with God.
I know the voices of all of my family members because I have spent time with each of them. The more I know a person, the better I recognize their voice. Being legally blind, it doesn’t take too long for me to remember a voice. But I only know it because I have heard it many times.
In the same way, you must have a deepening and continuing relationship with Jesus to recognize and hear his voice. You must know what it sounds like for you to hear it. That being said, there are several ways God speaks to us.
The most common is through the Bible. The Holy Spirit speaks through God’s Word. Another approach is to listen through circumstances. This is not the best method, but God does speak to us through the things we experience.
Unfortunately today, very few people experience God’s voice audibly. But there are some people who hear God’s voice like the prophets of old. Another approach is to hear the Holy Spirit speaking through the counsel of wise, seasoned Christians.
These are a few of the most common ways God speaks to his people. It takes time to learn how God speaks to you. But once you learn this, you need to be listening to his voice. Listen to him above the din of the world’s ways of grabbing attention.
There are so many ways to renew your mind. Scripture commands us to regularly renew our mind, opening the door for Jesus to transform us. We don’t want to be conformed to this world. The world doesn’t know how to shape you into Jesus’ image.
The goal of the world system and the devil is to destroy you as a believer. They want to ruin everything that God is doing in your life. So regularly renew your mind so that you can be conformed to Christ.
Don’t let this world influence you, or tell you what to do. Leave that to God and his powerful Word. Leave a comment and tell me how you renew your mind in Christ.