The mind is a very important part of our daily lives. It’s like the soul controller or the decision maker of our daily life. The outfit to wear, the breakfast to have or any other decision is based on what our mind tells us. If we don’t feel like eating a hot dog sandwich, we simply say “I’m not in a mood for a hot dog”. The mind is the culprit.
What do we understand by the word ‘mind’? The dictionary defines mind as the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think or another definition would be a person’s ability to think and reason.
So the reality check question is how much control do we have over our mind or how much more over powering is your mind than you?
Once we are saved in Christ, there is still some part of us that is still over powered by our usual likes, dislikes and our callousness towards many things. By the rulebook, we know our Christian life priorities but how successful are we towards over powering or transforming our mind to be in tune with Godly choices. We are in this constant battle daily. “ Oh just another 5 more minutes of sleep and then I’ll pray.. Just another 5 more.. and another 5 more and it turns out that we never woke up in time for that desired prayer. Sounds familiar? - The mind over powering our inner voice.
Romans 8:6 – 7 says For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
These two verses clearly tell us that the mind that dwells on the carnal desires or the ways of the world is an enemy of God and God wants a transformation of it. We need to overcome this constant tug between our mind and our inner voice. The outcome of this battle will decide where we stand in our Christian life. If we win it, we are growing and inching towards God. If we fail it, we will be moving towards a slow death of our spiritual life that we may reach a point where we are so spiritually numb that we are like in a state of comatose. A vegetative state where we are outwardly appearing to be super hallelujah Christians but on the inside just plain dead.
Salvation brings us to the knowledge of the truth of Christ but it’s up to you and me to work on our spiritual growth and goals. As a Christian how can we end this enmity against God and how can we renew our mind. That’s what I am going to discuss today.
Satan creates situations to lure your thoughts away from God’s purpose for you. But it is your choice to choose to believe in what your mind tells you or what God tells you. You got to teach and train your mind on the go and as you face challenging circumstances in your life.
What do we constantly teach and feed the mind?
Transform your Anxiety into thoughts of Faith
In moments of anxiety, it is hard to teach the mind to trust in God. Recently I was studying about Elijah and I was amazed to see his immeasurable trust in God. A man who challenges so boldly is yet so humble and submissive to God’s instruction to be in confinement at the brook of Kerith for many years. It was Elijah’s simple trust in God’s wisdom and providence that kept him going at Kerith.
If we want our lives to be transformed we must renew our mind. We must change our thinking before we can change our life. We must be thinking thoughts of trust and faith and confidence in God. We must push aside all thoughts of fear, unbelief, worry, suspicion, unworthiness and doubt from our mind. Our mind must be dominated by thoughts of faith and trust in the faithfulness and goodness of God. Such positive thoughts will cause positive changes in our lives and we will be transformed. Phillipians 4:13 - I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Trust in God makes you have faith that he will do things for you at the appointed time. Trusting in him will give you peace of mind and less of anxiety. I remember talking to a friend recently and in the conversation she told me that though the situation was tough in human standards she had peace in her and that is simply because she trusted God for her situation. She knew that he could straighten out all the odds for her.
Abraham too trusted God and his trust in God strengthened his faith. Romans 4:18-21 - Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."
Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
Abraham’s trust in God, strengthened his faith so much that he believed the impossible could happen. He didn’t allow his mind to overpower his inner voice.
If you do not allow your trust to manifest into faith, you are blocking your own miracles.
Transform your Complaints into thoughts of Gratitude
If we want our lives to be transformed we must fill our mind and heart with thoughts of thankfulness and gratitude towards God for all the blessings he has bestowed upon us. It is easy for us to get into our comfort zones as soon as our problems cease. We must count our blessings and forget not all His benefits. Such an attitude of praise and thanksgiving will bring great victories in our life. When we start to get depressed or complain or murmur or even compare with someone else we are allowing the flesh to work in us. It may not be a sin like murdering someone but yet it is all a sin.
So what do we teach our mind – we teach it to be grateful or thankful.
Psalms 103:1-2 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
The Psalmist clearly says forget not all his benefits.
We need to remind ourselves over and over again. Compare ourselves with the less fortunate and think of how good God is to us. Be grateful to him for his love and mercies. I have my children complaining about the lack of TV and an additional car. That’s their kid zone issues and complaints because they can’t watch TV like their friends or like they did in Bangalore. Since I don’t have a car, they find it strange as to why we can’t have one now when their friends mother’s do. I talk to them about the things God gave us. I try to make them understand how blessed we are. Even I do tend to sound so ungrateful to God when I find myself in a difficult situation. It’s just the human me. I have to pause for a second and then with a great deal of effort channel myself into a mode of thankfulness.
Our mind must be dominated by gratitude to God. If we focus on our issues by self-pitying ourselves or on complaints we will not be able to be filled with the joy of the Lord. A heart and mind of thankfulness will transform our lives and fill us with joy and happiness.
Transform your Impatience into Patience
If we want our lives to be transformed we must also fill our minds with the understanding of God’s timing and purpose. God has his own timing to reveal the plans and purposes for our lives. We must not be restless and hasty and impatient with God. Sarah’s restlessness and impatience led to the birth of Ishmael.
Hebrews 10:35-36 : So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
Once we learn to trust and be thankful, we must learn to persevere. Persevere in being patient until we receive the fruit of what we have sown. When we sow in prayer, we need to be patient enough to see the fruit of that prayer. It is only our patience and perseverance that will let us see our prayer being answered in God’s time.
James 1:2-4 : Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
God will definitely answer our prayers at his appointed time. It’s like the story of the Potter and the clay. The waiting period is a time of God molding and shaping us through the times we wait. While you are waiting and depending on God you are being further shaped. It’s God further nurturing and making you into a more mature person. We must allow God to develop His character in us.
Transform your mind to focus on Laboring for God
If we want our lives to be transformed we must fill our minds with thoughts of the great commission God gave us. Christian life is a life of responsibility and commitment. In the worldly tasks that you do, you may be excelling but what about the Christian responsibility that you and I have. Are we laboring for that?
Commitment is a challenge. Can we work our minds towards fulfilling the great commission given to us by God. Or are we going to leave this work to the pastors only or to someone else except you?
Proverbs 10:4: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Our reward is in heaven from our ultimate master – God himself. When we fill our minds with thoughts of diligence and commitment towards the spiritual responsibility we have, our lives will be transformed.
Transform your mind to be mature to understand the Spiritual Combat
When we start to work towards our spiritual responsibility, the enemy will not sit at peace. He will try to attack our minds with accusations, spiritual pride, or anything that is against the truth. We must be spiritually equipped and mature to understand the attacks of the enemy on our thoughts.
A great example of this is seen in Matthew 4:1-10 where we read about the devil trying to tempt Jesus. In 9 and 10 we see the devil tempting Jesus that if he bowed down and worship him, then he would give Jesus the entire world and its splendor. But no Jesus recognized the scheme of the enemy and fought with him through the scripture.
When we fill our minds with the thoughts of God and refuse to entertain the thoughts presented by the tempter our lives will be transformed. We must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in our prayers and pray in the spirit. Rely on the scriptures to fight the enemy. For it is written in Ephesians 6:10 - Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Abstain from the worldly areas that can divert your mind and time away from God. I remember reading somewhere in a book written by Watchman Nee that the devil is afraid of a kneeling Christian. Can we be kneeling Christians? Teach and train your mind to be one to resist the tempter.
Now coming back to my key verse which says Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Transform your mind to Obedient to God
If we want our lives to be transformed we must learn to be obedient to the will of God. Let not your human wisdom consume you so much that your spiritual mind is distorted. We must not have a rebellious and stubborn mind which refuses to submit to the will of God. We must be willing to submit to the ways and thoughts of God.
Isaiah 55:8 – 9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Do not limit God with your wisdom. His thoughts have no boundaries. It is not easy to fathom the reason why he does certain things but his end purpose is glorious and beautiful. Teach your mind to be obedient and submissive.
With these slow but gradual changes in our life, we can slowly transform into being spiritually mature. The learning never ends in this Christian walk but to be spiritually minded will result in a spiritual life which is pleasing to God.