What Does Renewing Our Mind Mean?

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If you’ve been in church for very long, you have likely heard the verse, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

But what does it mean to renew our mind and how do we do that?

I realized this morning that I’ve written a handful of posts about renewing the mind (they are linked below), and have mentioned it in a lot of my content, but I’ve never really talked about what it means and how to do it.

So, today we’re talking about what it means to renew our mind and then in the next post we’ll talk about how we do that.

I will also be recording a video on how I use Scripture to renew my mind, so you can see my process.

But first, let’s answer the question: What does renewing our mind mean?

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

Paul is beseeching (encouraging, instructing) us that according to God’s mercy toward us (notice, this requires God to even happen) we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy (sanctified, set apart), acceptable (pleasing) to God, which is our reasonable (logical, rational) service (worship).

But how can we do this? How can we be this – sanctified and set apart and pleasing to God?

Well, verse 2 gives us the key.

We are not to be conformed (shaped after a pattern) to this world, but be transformed (transfigured, like a caterpillar transforms to a butterfly – metamorphosis) by the renewing (renovation) of your mind (understanding, thinking, psyche), that you may prove (discern, examine) what is that good (pleasant, agreeable) and acceptable and perfect (finished, completed) will of God.

In other words, God wants to completely renovate our understanding, our thinking, and our worldview so that we can properly discern His will.

Now, I know a thing or two about renovation.

My husband and I purchased a small house in 2012. Four years later, we completely gutted it and renovated it; removed walls, evened out flooring, moved rooms around…the end result was a house that looked nothing like it did before.

Do you know what would have been nice?

It would have been nice to have been able to snap our fingers and have it all done and over with in a second. Or, at the very least, something like Property Brothers, where it’s all done and wrapped up with a bow in less than an hour.

But that’s not reality.

Reality was, I had to first pack up my whole house – just like we were moving – and store all of our things. Then the construction crew came and made an enormous mess.

Our house looked like it was completely destroyed, our yard looked horrible, there was dust everywhere – it was a a mess.

Then, they started reconstruction.

It took nearly two months for it to be done. And can I tell you a secret? There are things still left unfinished in nearly every room of our house. We’re still working on it. 5 years later!

This is exactly what renewing our mind looks like.

We all have areas of our mind that are pattered after the thinking of the world. Even Christians; because over the past 100-200 years worldly philosophy has saturated our culture so much so that we don’t even recognize it for what it is.

And the church is just as saturated with worldly philosophy as the world.

How else do you explain the fact that many preachers preach how to live your best life now, enneagrams, new age doctrine, and self-help sermons more than the Word of God?

How else should we interpret the fact that divorce, immorality, adultery, and substance abuse affects the church to the same degree as it does the world?

Why else would so many parents teach their children safe sex over the very obvious commands of abstinence we see in the Bible?

The only explanation is that there is an epidemic of worldly patterned thinking in the church and there is a severe lack of renewing of our minds – so that we can discern worldly philosophy from the perfect will of God!

And what God wants to do is, through His Word tear down those worldly philosophies.

But He wants to go deeper than just gutting out our mind – our understanding, our psyche. The problem isn’t with the layout of our mind.

The problem is with the very construct of our mind.

God wants to take a wrecking ball and completely demolish all of the worldly philosophies that have been constructed in our thinking. Then, he wants to go to the foundation and rip it out.

He has to lay a completely new foundation – with Christ as the Cornerstone!

Once a new foundation has been laid, He can then start construction with biblical materials, building a new structure that is consecrated, set apart for holy use.

A structure that is pleasing to Him.

And as this structure is being built, our understanding is reshaped and we’re able to better discern worldly philosophies void of God from biblical philosophies that are God-centered and this enables us to make wise, God-honoring decisions.

This is the difference between living a life with God tacked on like a badge or a button and living a life that is completely surrendered to Him.

It is the difference between Jesus being our club membership and Jesus being our Lord.

It is the difference on that day – the Bema Seat of Christ, when our works on earth are tested – between our works being burned in the fire and we having nothing to show for our time here on earth and our works coming out as pure silver, gold, and precious stones because we lived lives utterly and completely dedicated to Christ’s service and His glory – not our own.

Are we willing to take this step?

It will be messy. It will be chaotic at times. It will uncover a lot of things we’ve hidden away that we haven’t wanted to deal with.

It is for the long-haul, because the process is for a lifetime.

But it is rewarding. It is freeing. It is life-changing. I promise you, it will be one of the greatest decisions you will ever make in your life.

This step is the step from being a follower of Christ to being a disciple of Christ.

Resources for Renewing the Mind:

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