Renewing the Mind
“For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. Ch. 6 v 5).
Becoming a born-again believer changes everything for those “who hear the word and understand it” (Matt. Ch. 13 v 23). I am not claiming that change is immediate in the physical, but it certainly is immediate in the spiritual. God’s word tells us, “The new man is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” (Col. Ch. 3 v 10). Resurrection living requires joyful, sincere effort and dedication on the part of the child of God and it all begins with renewing the mind.
As Paul beseeched the Romans to renew their minds, we too are required to do the same because our minds do not go through regeneration as our spirits do when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
It is a known fact that an action is a thought put into operation. Renewing the mind involves doing away with old thoughts which give way to unfruitful actions that do not “produce the righteousness of God” (James Ch 1 v 20).
The word of God tells us how to go about the process of mind renewal. We are told to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. Ch. 3 v 2). The preceding verse gives the reason why we should set our minds on things above: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God” (Col. Ch. 3 v 1). It is quite unfortunate that many believers set their minds on things on the earth rather than on things above.
Also, “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.” (Phil. Ch. 4 v 8).
Let us analyze each suggestion for meditation: (1) Whatever things are true; The LORD says in Zech. Ch. 8 vv 16-17, “Speak each man the truth to his neighbour; Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice and peace; Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbour; And do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate.”
Paul reiterates the preceding to the Ephesians; “Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbour, for we are members of one another” (Ch. 4 v 25).
(2) Whatever things are noble; Paul is suggesting that we become more noble-minded. Not at all a suggestion for us to become haughty snobs but that we think, say and do honorable things. 2 Cor. Ch. 8 v 21 in the NKJV, Amplified Bible states, “For we take thought beforehand and aim to be honest and absolutely above suspicion, not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of men.”
(3) Whatever things are just; Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines just in this passage as what is right. We ought to meditate on what is right.
(4) Whatever things are pure; Purity indicates perfection. Psalm Ch. 119 v 140 declares, “Your word is very pure; Therefore, Your servant loves it.
(5) Whatever things are lovely; In the Greek, the word lovely here connotes that which is pleasing and acceptable.
(6) Whatever things are of good report; The testimonies we give every time we fellowship together are good reports. They speak of God’s word being made manifest in the lives of His people. They serve to strengthen our faith and glorify Almighty God as Provider, Healer and Comforter among other things.
(7) If there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things; The last line sums up the preceding as a final encouragement, if you will, on what should be your foci of things on which to meditate.
All of which are centered around the goodness of God and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to whom be the glory forever, Amen! The responsibility to renew our minds was left up to us because we possess the ability to control our own minds, for the word of God declares, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. Ch. 4 v 13). Furthermore, in 2 Cor. Ch 10 v 5 we are commanded to, “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
In addition, daily affirmation of our baptism into His death and the righteousness we obtained by His sacrifice will facilitate the renewing of the mind.
A renewed mind enables the believer to deny the flesh. Jesus declared in Luke Ch. 9 v 23, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
Are we capable of daily self-denial from our own lusts and desires? Scripture teaches us that “each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (Jam. Ch. 1 vv 14-15).
As mentioned above, an action is a thought put into operation. Desire is conceived in the mind which makes it a thought. In order for self-denial to be effective we have to abort desire where it was conceived; in the mind. The abortion process is only possible with fervent prayer and thanksgiving.
We pray and pray and pray but hardly ever do we remember to give thanks just as much as we pray. Give thanks for the death of the old man; “For he who has died (in Christ) has been freed from sin” (Rom. Ch 6 v 7). Give thanks for being “Dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. Ch. 6 v 11). Give thanks, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Rom. Ch. 6 v 14). Give thanks for “abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness” (Rom. Ch. 5 v 17).
Thankfully, our Heavenly Father did not leave us to deal with the task of mind renewal or self-denial alone. He provided all of His children in Christ Jesus with the promised Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Walk in Love
Resurrection life is suffused in love. “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself,” you do well”” (James Ch. 2 v 8). Love is the reason behind God’s redemption plan. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John Ch. 3 v 16).
Paul, in his epistle to the Ephesians says, “Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ch. 5 v 2). Love is an action word. God showed us how much he loved us even though we did not deserve it. He drew us closer to Himself “by redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. Ch. 1 v 14).
The Corinthians were well schooled in the tenets of love; what it is and what it is not. We will not analyze that scripture in this blog. However, Chapter 13 v 8 says, “Love never fails.”
So, saints, it is time to jump start the Resurrection Life that has been redeemed for us by the blood of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Allow and nurture the renewing of your minds and self-denial with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, so that you could “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2Pet. Ch 3 v 18).
All scripture was taken from the New King James Version.