I’ve had several atheists and unbelievers who were thinking through Christianity ask me questions about what it means to be made new in Christ. They were afraid they would become mindless drones for Christ.
It’s often the concern of those considering becoming a Christian that they will lose their individuality if they follow Christ. It raises the question of what Jesus changes in us when he makes us new creatures.
I’m sure there have been some bad examples of Christians who have become drones in a sense. They listen to everything there pastor tells them. They don’t research for themselves or make their own decisions based on their walk in holiness with the Holy Spirit.
It’s good to have direction in church. But as we mature in the Holy Spirit and in Christ, there are decisions we must make for ourselves. We must also mindful of the community standard of our church. These matters of conscience must be considered and weighed carefully. And we must not push those personal views on other Christians.
But when we come to Christ, he makes us new creatures. He is transforming us through the power of the Holy Spirit to be conformed to his image. So as we consider these inner parts of the person, let’s take a look at how Jesus transforms our minds.
Our Reasoning and Thinking
One of the first things that must change in us is the way we reason and think. Paul spends extensive time talking about thinking and reasoning in his letters. Most notable are Romans 1 and 2 Corinthians 10.
In Romans 1:18-23 Paul describes the fall from God’s grace that begins in the mind. To suppress the truth is a mental choice. He speaks of the knowledge of God, another mental attribute of humanity (Romans 1:19).
People are without excuse when it comes to the knowledge of God (Romans 1:21). Through suppressing the truth about him, they choose to ignore what’s playing before their senses. The senses have a direct link to the brain. Our perception of the world around us starts with the senses but is analyzed by the mind.
Paul also talks about acknowledging God, another mental attribute of humanity, and gives the result of ignoring the truth about God (Romans 1:22). People become futile in their thinking. Every thought they had is fruitless and wasteful, empty of wisdom.
Paul presents a negative view of the mind before Christ. But he’s not wrong. We see a lot of futility in our unsaved world. Wisdom is lacking among our leaders and in many establishments.
Romans 1 continues with the end result of futile thinking, turning against the natural order and God’s giving people over to their base desires. Without Christ, the mind deteriorates and decays like the world around us.
Paul gives another example in 2 Corinthians 10 about the importance of having the mind controlled by Christ. Here, he talks about the spiritual battles of the mind. The mind is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10:4).
With a will that belongs to Jesus, we can stand against the arguments and the opinions that go against God and his kingdom (2 Corinthians 10:5). The mind is fully engaged in these spiritual battles. We don’t attack the person we debate.
We don’t fight flesh. But we do use our minds in those arguments and debates to express godly truths and godly wisdom that comes from above. The mind is the weapon of choice when we come against the lofty ideas that oppose God.
The Bible offers a different way. First, the redeemed mind is continually renewed by God’s Word. In Romans 12:1-2, Paul focuses on the renewing of the mind. I will address renewing your mind in a later post.
The redeemed mind also considers at least eight different categories of godly thinking my thinking on these things (Philippians 4:8). Paul says we can use our Christian mind to think on the godly things around us instead of wicked things.
It’s clear in the Bible that before we meet Christ our minds are used for the bassist of desires, lusts and passions that lead us astray. But when Jesus makes us new creatures, he redeems our reasoning and thinking so we can think God’s thoughts after him, as an old saint once said.
Jesus transforms our intellect when we come to him. In making us new creatures, he renews the way we think. If the intellect is the CPU of our brain like the computer, he gives it proper processing.
Jesus changes the way we think from beginning to end. We start with godly thoughts instead of debase thoughts. We start with wisdom instead of foolishness. We don’t want to use our minds to think of even more ways to sin against God.
The Christian intellect seeks to gain insight, wisdom, and knowledge by God’s standards. We desire to please God in our thoughts and thinking processes. He changes the entire process of thinking.
We don’t think of quick ways to deceive others or deceive ourselves. We don’t use our minds to suppress the truth. We seek the truth in all things. We seek to use our minds and the most righteous way possible. We want to come to godly conclusions.
Our volatile emotions have always been a problem. But before we met Christ, we didn’t care if we hurt other people. We didn’t care if we did the most destructive harm possible with our anger, fear, envy, and jealousy.
Back then it was all about us. Our selfish emotions got the best of us. But Jesus is renewing our emotions, our heart as part of our mind. As I mentioned in my last post, the biblical understanding of the mind includes the heart as the seat of emotions.
So our emotional responses become part of our thinking process as Christians. And we care very much about how we use our emotions. It’s not that we won’t have volatile emotions. But we must seek to do the righteous and holy thing with them.
We can use our emotions either for God’s glory or for wickedness. God has the same volatile emotions we have, but every time he has them they are righteous emotions. We can have righteous volatile emotions also.
For instance, the Bible tells us to deal with our anger and not sin (Ephesians 4:26). We can have righteous anger against this world’s wickedness and the devil. We hate the sin in this world and that it leads people astray
So our emotions are also redeemed. Most psychologists today teach us that thinking greatly affects emotions. Emotions are based on the thought processes we have and our thinking. So it makes sense that the Bible would include emotions with thinking.
Jesus wants us to have righteous emotions. I confess I often let my emotions get the best of me when I think of this world and its systems. But those emotions can be righteous ones.
Like David in the Psalms, we should be genuine as we go to God in prayer. Bring your emotions to God first. Let him see your unruly side. We will have emotions, volatile and otherwise. But our actions and thinking show Jesus’ redemptive work.
because of Jesus, we approach decision-making in an entirely different way in the world. We make decisions based on what Scripture tells us, the principles and commandments found within its pages. God’s Word is full of wisdom from him.
Our decision-making is also based on counsel of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is a living word to us for today because the Spirit illuminates Scripture, guides us as we read and apply it to our lives. We don’t just read words on the page. He speaks with us concerning God’s desires for our lives.
We also have the counsel other Christians who are wise and mature in Christ. They help us to weigh the options and see what we can’t. Because Christians have many different backgrounds, I Have Experience we don’t. Within the godly counsel of many is the wise path that pleases God.
As we make our decisions, we want to honor Christ and glorify him. The world has no such filter. People make selfish decisions. They don’t use godly wisdom. Their choices are usually successful. But we trust in God and his Word to make godly decisions
Our Creativity and Imagination
Many Christians don’t include imagination, but Jesus redeems our creativity and imagination. The Bible word “create” is only used for God. Humans build but God creates. We use the things God created creatively. This is how we, in a small way, show the creativity God has given us.
Nevertheless, before we met Christ we used our creativity and our imagination to do wicked and perverse things. We abused the creativity God has placed in us. But now that we know Christ, we use our creativity to glorify him.
I thank God for the creative insights and ideas he gives me into Scripture and his character. We can use our imagination to think of what heaven will be like instead of the evil things we used to imagine.
God created imagination to glorify him. Our creativity flows from God’s character. Look at the universe he created. That’s only the beginning of what God can do. And he wants to see what his children can do with their imaginations for him.
I’ve only scratched the surface of talking about God’s redemptive work in our minds. It will take more than a couple of posts to explore what Jesus does for us as he redeems our minds.
We will continue to discover the wonderful things Jesus has done in our minds for several posts. I will cover more subjects than just these ones. And I will attempt to provide greater detail as we continue on this path.
Leave a comment about the things you notice Jesus has changed in your thinking and decision-making since you’ve been walking with him.