“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.” (Romans 12:2)
Ever feel like your thinking is off? Maybe it’s just a general sense of something not being right or that you’re missing something important. I’m not talking about the forgetfulness that comes with aging; rather, I’m talking about the feeling of being off track in some way.
If you ever feel that way, like your focus is not where it should be or maybe like your thoughts are just too negative or critical about yourself or others, perhaps it’s time to change the way you think. In fact, I would argue that we must continually assess our thinking and make sure it lines up with what God desires.
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
When life is overwhelming, when discouragement comes in waves, and when the world just seems like a very depressing place? How can we dwell on the positive, as Philippians 4:8-9 encourages us to do?
- Study Scripture. Reading the Bible daily is a start. Really getting into Scripture and studying it is where mind renewal really begins to become permanent.
- Pray often. As with reading the Bible, daily prayer is a start. Consider, though, a goal of chatting with God throughout your day. Bring Him into all your situations, and talk to Him about what’s going on. This is all prayer, and it gets at the idea in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.”
- Seek more. Get around Godly people who want to renew their minds too. Whether through the company you keep or the books you read, let the interaction of those seeking God regularly influence you. Of course what the Bible says trumps what all others say, but God does encourage and teach us through other Christians too.
While there are certainly others, these three habits have served to focus my mind on what God desires better than anything else I’ve tried or have heard others try.
Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas.
Pick a book of the Bible and focus on a chapter a week. Read that chapter every day. Outline it, and consider it’s purpose and context. Look at what it teaches you about Christ.
Get an accountability partner. Find someone else wanting mind renewal and tell them what you’re doing. Ask them to join you, and then check in with each other regularly.
Consider supplementary material. Many, many books and other material (videos, for example) exist that can help you grow. Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren and Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer are two that immediately come to mind.
Focus Determines Reality
“For as the thoughts of his heart are, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)
What we think about regularly determines the focus of our lives, and our focus determines our reality. Make Jesus the focus of what you think about, and the reality of your life will be transformed.