Monday’s Blog: Renewing Our Minds

I am starting a new series next week on Paul’s letters (from Romans – Philemon). In my Bible, I probably read Paul’s letters the most because they are filled with teachings on how to follow Christ’s example by living a godly life.  This week, I want to share a message I posted last September from a series I did on training ourselves to be godly, titled “Pursuing Godliness.” In this message, I shared how Paul exhorted the Corinthians to follow his example as he followed the example of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). This message was one of the most helpful posts God has ever given me to share. It teaches the importance of renewing our minds so we can follow Christ’s example and live a godly life.

 Renewing Our Minds

The Apostle Paul exhorted, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

How do we follow Christ’s example? How do we train ourselves to be godly?

The answer is in 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 pattern 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.

We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. The Greek word for renewal in the above verse means “renovation.” When you renovate something, you restore it to a better state. The Bible says if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Ephesians 4:22-24 instructs us:

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

The only way to put off our old self (ungodliness), and put on our new self (godliness), is to renew our minds. Last summer, I reorganized my entire house. While going through my house, I was amazed how many notes I found with teachings and Scriptures I wrote down through the years. I had stacks of notebooks, piles of Bible study workbooks, and a number of odd items such as napkin pieces with Scriptures written on them. When I first started walking with God I was desperate for change. I was hungry for His holiness. I pursued godliness by taking every opportunity I had to feed and meditate on His Word.

Through the years, God has done an amazing work in my life. At times I take it for granted. Looking through those piles reminded me that I can never stop pursuing godliness. If I don’t diligently stay connected to God and seek His Word, I will easily fall back into my old pattern of behavior.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

1 Corinthians 10:12

I did a study once on renovating my mind, using Nehemiah 1-6 and rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. My intention was to strip off my old carnal mind and replace it with the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Just as Nehemiah inspected Jerusalem’s walls (Nehemiah 2:11-13), I began the study with inspecting my thoughts. I identified and made a list of every carnal thought I had. I was astonished how many negative thoughts I had even though I had been following Christ for many years. In my journal for the study I wrote: “My mind is like that broken down wall (Nehemiah 2:13). It lies in ruins (Nehemiah 2:17).”

After identifying the carnal thoughts, I got to work tearing them down and rebuilding my mind with God’s Word (Nehemiah 2:18). Each day I focused on a different negative thought from my list. I wrote down every verse I found pertaining to that thought, and prayed and meditated on them.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; Meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.

Joshua 1:8

The tearing down and rebuilding wasn’t easy. I did the study for about fifty days, close to the amount it took them to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls (Nehemiah 6:15). It took me fourteen days to go through my list. Then on day fifteen, I had to re-examine my thoughts to see where I still needed help. After the first re-examination, the list was about a third of what it was when I started the renovation. The last few carnal thoughts were strongholds. Those took longer to tear down.

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.

Psalm 119:45

I gathered a few notes I wrote in my journal during those fifty days. They reveal some of the attacks and ups and downs we can experience as we seek to renew our minds with God’s Word.

Rebuilding the Walls of My Mind Journal

Day 2: I have been having a lot of bad dreams, revealing the strongholds I have in my mind. Last night, I dreamt an evil woman was chasing me while I was trying to protect a child. I got tired of running and turned around and commanded her to stop in the name of Jesus. She stopped instantly and changed as the demon left her. A great reminder to stop running from the devil. Make him flee.

Day 3: I’m being attacked big time. I’m sick. I’ve had bad dreams and I’m having negative thoughts like crazy.

Day 4: The enemy is angry and greatly incensed that I am renovating my mind (Nehemiah 4:1-7).

When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews …What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?’” (Nehemiah4: 1-2)

Day 7: I acted so badly yesterday. I am ashamed. I was rude to the lady at our church. This isn’t me. I can’t believe all the junk in me. Help me Lord! Cleanse my mind and rebuild it with pure thoughts so my actions will follow.

“The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” (Nehemiah 4:19-20)

Day 9: Things are looking brighter today. I feel my joy returning and my outlook expanding.

Day 14: I feel my mind getting better. The power of the strongholds seems to be weakening and it’s not taking as much effort on my part. God is healing my mind.  

“When word came to …  our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it…. They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’ [But I prayed,] ‘Now strengthen my hands.’” (Nehemiah 6:1-9)

Day 17: I don’t want to give up. God, renew my strength. Change my thinking. Renew my mind.

Day 24: I need to check and pay attention to every thought. I feel like I’m falling backward now.

“Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.” (2 John 1:8)

Day 25: The devil is fighting and attacking me greatly because he doesn’t want me to renew my mind and tear down the stronghold’s he’s worked so hard to build.

Day 27: I feel great today. God’s grace is tearing down my strongholds. God is showing me the lies I believed.

Day 30: Just as with a house renovation, once it is finished, I can’t leave it alone or it will return to its old state. I need to keep it up. Care for it. Catch the small repairs so they don’t turn into large projects.

Day 34: I’ve been fasting from junk food for over 30 days. Because I fasted so long from it, I don’t desire it anymore. If I fast from carnal thoughts, I will no longer desire them. I would be foolish to return to the junk I no longer desire.

Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.’” (2 Peter 2:22)

Day 39: I have a fire in my spirit. My mind is being rebuilt with Jesus and the Word of God as my foundation!

 Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16, AMP)

Day 40: Lord, use me as an instrument to bring revival to your church and to carry your name before the world (Acts 9:15).

 Day 47: God is doing an amazing work in me. I feel alive and energized and full of the Holy Spirit.

“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.” (Nehemiah 8:10, 12)

 

 

As you were reading the journal entries, did you notice a pattern? The first part (majority) was spent putting off my old self. Once those carnal thoughts were brought to light I was then able to put on my new self: God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, ready to do the good works God prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10).

As God helps us put off our old worldly thoughts, and tear down the strongholds in our minds, He can rebuild and fill our minds with spiritual things (the mind of Christ).

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for washing away our sins by the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are new creation! The old is gone! Help us to take off our old self and put on our new self. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Help us to diligently seek Your Word and continually renew our minds by the truths we learn from the Bible every day.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

 

 

*Come back next Monday as the series on Paul’s letters begins. You can subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts. You can also use the share tabs below to help spread the word of this series to bless others. Have a blessed week seeking the Lord and renewing your mind in His Word!

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