Renewing the Mind

Renewing the Mind

Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV) 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. {2} 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.

In verse one of this passage the Apostle Paul is admonishing the believer to live a sacrificial life of worship unto God, through the ongoing presentation of our bodies to God’s will. Then in verse two, he describes how this life of worship and living  a sacrificial life is made possible through the renewing of our minds.

(NLT)  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…

Verse two gives us three words that are key to understanding, and applying this teaching to our lives.

Do Not Be Conformed

The word conformed is from the Greek word Suschematizo (soos-khay-mat-id’-zo), and ‘to conform one’s self (i.e. one’s mind and character) to another’s pattern, (fashion one’s self according to)’

God does not want the believer to pattern their thinking, behavior, or lives after the customs and practices of the ungodly culture they may live in. This is how we use to live before we were born again by the Spirit of God, and our nature was changed. Now we are to live by the dictates of the new creation realities of the new life within our spirit, and not according to the ways of this corrupt age.

The world used for world here represents a period of time, or age. Don’t pattern your life after the beliefs, practices, or customs of this present age, or culture.

  • Don’t think like this culture.
  • Don’t believe like this culture.
  • Don’t look like this culture.
  • Don’t act like this culture.

Paul elaborates further upon this in his letter to the Ephesians. Ephesians 2:1-7 (NLT) Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. 4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

Earlier in his letter to the believers in Rome, Paul describes some of the common practices of the ungodly. (Romans 1:29-32 NLT) Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. {30} They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents. {31} They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving. {32} They are fully aware of God’s death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

In their writings to the local churches the apostles addressed the issues of marriage, sexual purity, sobriety, idolatry, justice, work ethic, friendship, just to name a few. These writings were given as instruction in helping God’s people understand the contrast between how a disciple of Christ is to live, as opposed to the customs and the practices of this evil world. The ways of the wicked are estranged from God. (Isaiah 55:7-9 GWT)  Let wicked people abandon their ways. Let evil people abandon their thoughts. Let them return to the LORD, and he will show compassion to them. Let them return to our God, because he will freely forgive them. {8} “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways,” declares the LORD. {9} “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts.”

Be Transformed

The life of the believer is one of ongoing change. Going back to Romans 12:2 (NKJV) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed…

The Greek word translated Transformed is Metamorphoo, (met-am-or-fo-o) ‘to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure. Christ’s appearance was changed (transformed) and was resplendent with divine brightness on the mount of transfiguration’ (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV)  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

(GWT)…we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

From the moment we are born of God we begin to be changed into the image of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18 GWT)  Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence. {18} God has done all this. He has restored our relationship with him through Christ, and has given us this ministry of restoring relationships.

The Renewing of Your Mind

The renewing of the mind is the key to transformation. Romans 12:2 (NKJV) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

The Greek word translated Renewing here is Anakainosis, (an-ak-ah’-ee-no-sis) a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better.

Our minds must undergo a complete renovation, leaving the old worldly way of thinking behind. (Ephesians 4:22-24 NKJV) that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, {23} and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, {24} and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Amplified Bible… (verse 23)…but let your minds be remade, and your whole nature thus transformed…

New Wine Skins

The renovation of a house, or piece of furniture must begin with the stripping off of the old, to make room for the new. We cannot be transformed by applying our old way of thinking to our new life in Christ. They are completely incompatible with one another. (Matthew 9:16-17 GWT)  “No one patches an old coat with a new piece of cloth that will shrink. When the patch shrinks, it will rip away from the coat, and the tear will become worse. {17} Nor do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins burst, the wine runs out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, people pour new wine into fresh skins, and both are saved.”

We must strip off anything, and everything that would keep our minds from undergoing spiritual renovation. (Hebrews 12:1 NLT)  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.

As we feed upon God’s Word, His life and nature begins to permeate our mind, transforming our thoughts into His thoughts. His desires begin to become our desires, and His will becomes our will. In essence, He begins to increase, as we begin to decrease, until we can say, “not my will be done, but Your’s oh Lord!”

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