The Christian life requires us to actively renew our thinking.
It all starts in your mind. What you believe in your mind will shape the fruit of your life. Your thoughts precede your words and lead to your actions. That which occupies our mind will characterize your life. If you continue to believe as you always have, you will continue to act as you always have. Those actions will produce the same results. To change the outcome, you must change the input. (Remember GIGO: garbage in, garbage out).
Additionally, many people feel trapped by sin after they get saved because they have not been told they need to renew their minds. If we have lived a life of sin for decades and then we experience salvation through Jesus Christ, God certainly does a work in us, but we also have some work to do. We are three part beings: body, soul, and spirit. At salvation, all things are made new in our spirit. We are cleansed of our sin, made righteous in Christ, and restored to fellowship with God. But, our soul realm (the mind, will, and emotions) still requires attention.
Romans 12:1-2 (WEB) says: Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Feed on God’s word
The main path of transformation comes by reading the Bible. God’s word presents God’s truth so we can operate as people of God’s kingdom. Our way of thinking needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.
Tips on Focused Bible Reading to Renew Your Mind
Start with Jesus
Change your thinking by reading the gospels – get to know Jesus. He reveals the heart of God the Father when talking to the woman caught in adultery. See his compassion for the leper. Notice his obedience to leave a town after a night of prayer to the Father. Wonder at his choice to be obedient to death on a cross. Allow Jesus to change the way you see people and the way you see God. Learn to follow Jesus in thought and action – full of grace and truth.
Worship the Lord
Change your perspective by making a habit of reading from the Psalms. The Psalms are mainly poetic in nature and touch the heart. Real life happens in the Psalms. The psalmists navigate the challenges of life with brutal honesty as they cry out to the Lord. Emotions of all kinds can be found in these pages. You can relate to the Psalms and feel what they feel. In addition, the Psalms will lead you to a deeper walk with God. They will remind you to put your hope in God for He is good – His love endures forever.
Renew your mind by reading through the 31 chapters of Proverbs. Take a month and read one Proverb a day. Each day highlight a verse to apply to your way of thinking that day. Write it down and carry it with you. Recite it throughout the day.
Get to know the early church
Finally, consider how the early Christians lived as you read the book of Acts and the Epistles (letters such as Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, etc). Discover what God has done for you in Christ and what God asks of you as a believer. Read about the problems that faced the early church and how they were addressed.
We must think about what we are thinking about. This is called meta-cognition and it is essential for the believer. We must practice the skill of being self-aware. This is how we are to “be on guard”.
Renewing the mind is a continual act of repentance.
To repent is to change the mind – to turn from sin and to walk in righteousness. In order to renew your mind, you need to turn your thinking around and “go the other way”. When you become aware of negative thoughts filling your mind, stop and repent.
SAY OUT LOUD, “Forgive me God for dwelling on such things. I choose to turn away from these thoughts and I put my trust in you. Help me, God.”
Renewing the mind is an ongoing effort to reject falsehoods.
Not only do we have to flush out the “stinkin’ thinkin'” that we have embraced before Christ, we also have an enemy whose main tactic is to deceive. The Bible often warns us to be on our guard and to not be deceived. Reject falsehoods from your past. Recognize and renounce sinful thought patterns. Daily cast down lies from the enemy. Read 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 below:
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds, throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
SAY OUT LOUD – “That is not my thought. I reject that lie of the enemy in Jesus’ name.”
Renewing the mind is a commitment to recite the Scriptures.
Finally, you can’t think two things at once. If you dwell on negative thoughts, you won’t be able to speak positive words. We need to guard against negative thinking. Repenting of negative thoughts allows us to replace them with positive words. Turn your eyes to the Lord. Get the words of worship in your Spirit. God is good; His love endures forever. God is my helper. He is my refuge in times of trouble. God will never leave me nor forsake me. I am made in God’s image with value and purpose. Here are a few Scriptures to memorize and SAY OUT LOUD:
- God is my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
- He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in who I trust.”
- For God has not given us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and a sound mind.
- When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.
- Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Renewing the mind is a habit of remembering the good.
Record answered prayer. Recount God’s works. You can always choose an attitude of gratitude. God has done great things for you through Jesus Christ. Remember the good things that God has done and be thankful. I challenge you to record answers to your prayers. Recount God’s work in your life. This is your testimony and it is yours to SAY OUT LOUD! Share it with believers and non-believers alike.
Check out these 10 Encouraging Scriptures on Renewing Your Mind