The Power of a Renewed Mind

The Power of a Renewed Mind

By Steve Downs

Many people feel great pressure to conform to the cultural influences that are all around them, or they struggle under the grip of circumstances that interrupt their normal rhythms.  In his letter to the believers in Rome, Paul provides an anecdote concerning how to overcome this daily battle that plagues so many people.

In Romans 12:1-2, Paul is like a coach who is encouraging and challenging an athlete to reach a particular goal.  In these powerful verses, Paul tells us to remove our “stinkin thinkin” and allow God to transform us daily by the renewing of our mind.

Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the patterns and practices of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

In verse one, Paul focuses on our bodies and urges us to consecrate ourselves.  Consecration simply means to radically separate from a secular humanistic worldview and to focus on a Christlike purpose for our lives.  God wants us to offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” – daily laying aside our own desires, plans, agenda and rights to follow Him – relinquishing all our energy and resources to Him and trusting Him to guide us.

Our consecrated bodies are to be offered as a “spiritual act of worship”:
  1. Living – intentional, continual sacrifice every day for the rest of our lives
  2. Holy – set apart – undefiled offering – given to the Lord for His purposes
  3. Acceptable – a pleasing sacrifice that honors God – given from a heart of gratitude

The second verse confronts the internal world – the dangerous neighborhood of our minds.  Paul says stop being squeezed into the value and belief systems of this world.  Don’t give into the pressures to conform to its culture.  This was the nation of Israel’s repeated struggle through history – they always wanted to be like everyone else around them.  Human nature hasn’t changed through all the years.

Paul goes on to tell us the key to overcoming this human struggle - “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  If we are to behave differently from the broken world all around us, we must change our thinking.  And we cannot do this on our own.

The only way we can truly change our thinking and separate ourselves from this fallen world is through the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the power of the living God that dwells inside of every believer in Christ.  He uses the truths and principles of Scripture, experiences and trials in this life and the fellowship of other believers to renovate us from the inside out.  We must replace the “stinkin thinkin” of this world with the truths and promises of Scripture.  If we will allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds in this way, we will begin to think as God thinks and desire what God desires.

As this becomes a reality in our lives, we will be able to discern the good, pleasing and perfect Will of God and cooperate with Him to accomplish His plans and purposes through our lives.

Let Romans 12:1-2 remind you to discard the “stinkin thinkin” that creeps into your life and allow the Lord to transform you daily by the renewing of your mind.

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