1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 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.
-Romans 12: 1–2
From an early age, we are taught how to act in certain situations. For example, in school we know that when the teacher is teaching we are supposed to be quiet and listen. This knowledge does not restrict students from ever talking when a teacher is talking; any teacher will tell you that at some point in the day there will be a student who will talk while they are teaching. There is no way around it. Did the student forget what they knew? No they didn’t but for some reason they chose not to do what they knew they were suppose to do. For most students it will just take a gentle reminder to get them back on track. How do you close the gap between knowing and doing? It takes a desire to do the right thing. Then if we get off track it takes a reminder to get us back on track.
What about knowing and thinking? Are there gaps in our knowing and thinking? As a Christian, I know I should think differently than when I was a non-Christian. It is evident in the Sermon on the Mount that God desires Christians to surrender our thought life as much as our action life.
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.' 22But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, 'You fool!' will be liable to the hell of fire.
Being liable for hell because I’m angry at someone? I’m liable! I have been angry at my brothers and sisters (and cousins and parents and every other relative) and many of those times my anger has been unwarranted. Being angry is a normal human response to countless actions we encounter. There is such a thing as a Holy anger but that is different than our normal perception of anger. I know I shouldn’t be angry at someone; are there other areas where I need to watch my thoughts?
I know I shouldn’t judge but I do.
1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.
This one gets me all the time. I will actually write a whole post about this later so I won’t elaborate as much as I could. I am constantly judging people in important areas and in shallow areas.
I know I shouldn’t worry but I do.
25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
This is another promise from God that I know but I do not apply it to my life. Every time I read this passage a huge weight is lifted from my shoulder because I tend to read once I have started to worry. I know this verse but I don’t fully believe it because, when I get busy, I forget it. I trust God as far as I can see and when I don’t see him do anything, I trust my human eyes and mind to tell me what is important.
I know I shouldn’t care what others think about me, but I do.
This goes right along with the people pleasing post. I shouldn’t care about what others think about me because their opinion does not ultimately determine my worth; it is God’s opinion of me that does determine my worth.
How do I rectify what I know with what I think? I believe it is the same we are taught to rectify what we know and what we do; it first takes a desire to have a God-driven thought life. And when we go astray from that thought life, we must be reminded how to think. All of the issues from our thinking (anger, judgment, worry, self-consciousness) stem from human concerns that we as Christians do not have to worry about.
2 Do not conform 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.
That renewal should serve as our reminder that God is who he says he is. Reminding ourselves of this fact daily will help us think His way. It cannot just be a onetime renewal because we will always have the tendency to go back to how we originally thought. We are still fallen beings and we return to what our “original programming.” How do you renew your mind? Remind yourself of God’s promises and remind yourself of points in your life when God’s faithfulness was most evident in your life. Find Bible verses that remind you of God’s promises! The transformation can be amazing.
This post is a product of that renewal; I struggled to start this post and I sat down and allowed God to remind me of all He has done for me. All of the verse I quoted in this post came to me in my renewal time. I felt a huge burden lifted from my shoulders and my mind was freed to think as God intended it to think. My human desire (and thought process) was getting in the way of what God wanted me to write.
This all needs to start with a desire to have a God-driven thought life. The renewal process does not work if there is nothing to renew.
I wish I was there. I wish I was at the point where I could think as I know I should. I wish I had that desire to think as I know I should. I am not there yet but God is faithful and just. For me, it has been a long process and it will continue. Humanly speaking it is impossible, but with God, ALL things are possible!