RENEWING THE MIND SERIES – LESSON 2
As we understand that the outcomes of our lives are altered by our thinking, we also need to consider the fact that some thoughts have become strongholds that require work to undo. Developing the ability to hold specific thoughts captive and then transitioning them is essential to developing a strong mind and successful soul.
2 Corinthians 10 (4 – 5) “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”.
Strongholds are those thoughts and attitudes that have such a grip on our minds that even though we don’t want to think a particular way, we do. This leads us to thinking our mind is controlling us and that we cannot stop thinking a certain way.
People often say things such as, “ I wish I didn’t think like that “ or “ I wish I could stop…” etc.
Well the truth is we can! We stop the thought process before it completes and in the case of mental strongholds we overcome them by capturing the thoughts and making them obey the word of God.
When we get consumed by negative or worldly thinking, over time that becomes a stronghold and that in turn effects our behaviour leading to a habit or recurring pattern.
This is why Jesus said in Mark 4 (24), “ Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given”.
The point here is that what you hear, particularly effects what you think which effects what you believe, which effects what you speak and that frames the outcomes of your life.
So if we want to be transformed it happens by renewing our minds and that results in us continually changing. We could say “ change is the way of life “. In fact Proverbs 6 (23) says, “Reproofs of instructions are the way of life “.
This passage is showing us that change ( reproofs of instruction ) are the way of life. This is the transformation that Paul is talking about in Romans 12 (2).
Ephesians 4 (22 – 24) gives us further insight when it instructs us, “ that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God in true righteousness and holiness”.
Ephesians shows us that it is not just thinking new thoughts or living a new way, it is also about removing the opposing thoughts and lifestyles.
RENEWING THE MIND KEY #6
Renewing the mind is an exchange, it’s taking off old ways of thinking and putting on the new.
The taking off is just as important as the putting on.
A lot of believers can quote scriptures for everything, finance, relationships, health etc and yet their experience is miles away from their confession. The reason for this is because just knowing something doesn’t give you a positive outcome, it’s the living out that truth, exchanging old for new that causes us to overcome and attract success.
Knowledge in and of itself is not enough, we need wisdom, which is the practical execution of that knowledge. For example, I can know what food is good for me and also bad for me. I can know that eating pizza will not only cause me to put weight on but also become a hindrance to me attaining a healthy life. But just knowing that doesn’t help me, in fact worse than that it could be quite frustrating! Knowing the answer and not seeing the result has a direct co relation to me not walking in wisdom. Wisdom says, “I know pizza is bad for me and because of that I will abstain, because my health is more important”.
Now of course people make bad choices like this every day but mostly it’s not due to lack of knowledge, it’s a lack of commitment to do the work required to change. Transformation requires the practical use of wisdom.
This is true in reference to our bodies and it is even more true in regard to our minds, we require discipline to activate the knowledge we already have.
RENEWING THE MIND KEY #7
Taking off the old man is as important as putting on the new.
As a parent I had my fair share of experiences centred around nappy duty and it was during these experiences that I discovered something. When one of our children would do something in there nappy there was a need for an exchange. I couldn’t just put a new nappy over the top of an old nappy and hope the smell would go away and that the child would be ok. What was required was firstly the removal of the old nappy, followed by cleaning the child and then thirdly the application of the new nappy. Now this seems pretty straight forward! And yet when it comes to our minds the average Christian just wants to add new concepts on top of old, and then we wonder why nothing works.
People read the latest book, hear the latest sermon or go to a great conference or receive counsel from a wise friend and all they do is add the new information to what they already thought, believed, confessed and lived. In reality this is at best laziness, as what is required is to remove the opposing thought first. This is how it looks.
Philippians 4 (8) “ Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things”.
This passage is very clear, we should meditate on positive not negative things. This simply means controlling our minds to look for positives. What it isn’t, is denial, and doesn’t mean going around saying I’m not sick when I am. What it is, is not dwelling on that sickness but instead focussing on what is positive either in that situation or outside of it. Unfortunately we are all somewhat programmed by the negativity around us, the bad news through media, peers that speak without hope or faith and then our own experiences and disappointments. God knowing this is the case has given us clear instructions on how to rise above that environment in Philippians.
In Numbers 13 (33) the Children of Israel make an interesting statement,“ and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight”. What is interesting is that they were looking at the promised land, a land that God had already promised them and instructed them to go in and possess. But even with a word from God they allowed their minds to rob them, causing fear and doubt. The end result was that that whole generation with the exception of Joshua and Caleb died in the wilderness without walking in Gods promise.
But see what happened in this passage. It says they were like grasshoppers in their own site. The problem here was their view of themselves and their lack of trust in what God said about them and what they could achieve. And because they thought like grasshoppers the enemy saw them that way also. If they had seen themselves the way God had called them, then their opposition would have been the ones that walked in fear. But the children of Israel continually showed an unwillingness to change and so couldn’t access benefits that were promised to them.
RENEWING THE MIND KEY #8
Change must be a positive part of our lives, not something we try and avoid.
When we commit our lives too continual renewal and change we can truly be transformed.
Gods plan for us, is for good but there is an enemy and he also has plans for us. By renewing our minds and getting our thoughts in line with Gods thoughts we open up new possibilities for our current and future success.
John 10 (10) “ The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”.
Abundant life is Gods plan for our lives and renewing our mind is the key to accessing it.
NEXT TIME: We will look at defining the soul and the power of truth.