So here we are at the end of our journey. 31 days completed. Throughout the process of writing for this series, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. In all my research and planning, I found myself being challenged by the things God was laying on my heart to share. Having a renewed mind isn’t just a suggestion found in the Bible, it’s the very foundation of Christian living. You can’t truly live for God without surrendering your mind to Him.
Renewing your mind is more than surrender, however. It requires action on our part. Yes, the Holy Spirit transforms us, and we have His power and guidance as we grow. But we are the ones who must make the effort to change our thinking. We have to be ready and willing to submit to the Holy Spirit, take every thought prisoner, and intentionally guard our minds against the schemes of the enemy. It’s a daily process of learning how to walk in our new God-given identities. We have the mind of Christ, but it’s up to us to use it.
Jesus changed the game when He addressed the Pharisees regarding the Law. They obeyed outwardly, but their minds and their hearts were far from God. While they thought of themselves as righteous and obedient, Jesus taught them that obedience begins within a person. They were far from righteous because their intentions were self-seeking.
Everything we do, good or bad, starts in the mind. The Bible describes this chain of events in the book of James:
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. – James 1:13-15 (NIV)
Temptation isn’t limited to outward sins. Personally speaking, I’m often tempted by worry, doubts, and fear. But every temptation, regardless of the sin, begins the same way – in the mind. It’s a desire, something that entices us, or something that we think will make us feel better. But notice how this verse says that temptation gives birth to sin after it has been conceived. Temptations will come, but if we allow them to “conceive,” that’s when we have a problem.
We uproot negative thinking and temptation when we daily make the choice to live with renewed minds by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our perspective, our intentions, our feelings, and our emotions… they all shape our behavior. And all of these things can be changed if we’re willing to put forth the effort. I can CHOOSE to see my husband differently. I can CHOOSE to not be offended or resentful of others. And I can CHOOSE to focus on the unseen rather than the seen. Daily making these choices is a part of renewing your mind.
The other part of having a renewed mind involves the Holy Spirit. Think about the fruit of the Spirit for a moment: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When we allow the Spirit to take control and daily submit to His will, we can expect to produce this fruit in our lives.
And I’m not just talking about outward actions. In fact, most of the Holy Spirit’s “fruit” happens within our minds. They are feelings and emotions that affect our outward actions. Our actions begin to stem from godly thinking and our thinking begins to match our godly living. Every word we speak and every deed we accomplish is birthed from a renewed mind that has been completely transformed.
We can rest assured that when the Holy Spirit transforms us by the renewing of our minds, it’s a complete transformation – inside and out.
Click here for a full list of posts in my 31-day series!