Why is renewing your mind so important?

by | Sep 2, 2023 | Bible Study, Christian Living

Have you ever woken up in the morning thinking, “Gosh, I’m hungry”?

But in your rush to get ready and start your workday on time, you have no time for breakfast. So, you give food little thought as you focus on other priorities. Before you know it, it’s lunchtime and you haven’t eaten yet.

What about on days where you have nothing on the agenda? The thoughts of hunger pop back in your head as there’s not much else on your mind. With each time you entertain these thoughts, you feel hungrier and your desire for food intensifies. So, you follow through on those desires and make yourself a hearty snack of banana blueberry pancakes for breakfast. You devour them without a second thought.

You see, our thoughts, emotions and behaviours are more interconnected than we realise. What we think directs how we feel. How we feel influences what we do.

There’s this book I love called ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. In the book, he said something that stuck with me:

“Your behaviours are usually a reflection of your identity.”

What we believe about ourselves influences how we live. James says that the more pride you have in a particular aspect of your identity, the more motivated you will be to maintain habits associated with it. He calls it building identity-based habits.

For example, if you want to lose weight, focusing solely on the outcome of weight-loss is unlikely to produce sustainable habits. When you’re faced with a choice between a burger or a salad, you might focus more on what you’re missing out on and feel restricted. Therefore, you’re likely to choose the burger.

On the other hand, deciding the type of person you want to be – a healthy and fit person with a long life – can set you up to develop lifelong healthy habits. With this belief, when faced by the burger or salad, you focus on how each option would contribute to you being that healthy, fit person. And so, you’re likely to view the salad option as empowering you to be that person – it’s a no brainer choice then.

 

The power of the mind

Before I get too deep into developing habits (can you tell I love this stuff?), I share all this to demonstrate how powerful the mind in directing our lives. What we believe about ourselves, and the world around us, determines how we choose to show up in the world.

Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:2 NLT

There’s a lot of content out there telling us what to think and believe on a range of issues. We consume so much of this content every day as we aimlessly scroll through social media platforms as we sit in the waiting room, listen to or watch the news, chat with co-workers and unwind in front of Netflix at the end of a long day.

People passionately share their opinions and cancel or call out those who don’t share those opinions. We almost feel peer pressured to believe or think like the “majority”. Side note: it’s often not the majority but those with the loudest voices.

And when we think like the world thinks, we start to behave like the rest of the world. That’s why it’s so important for us to renew our minds. Even though we are in the world, as Jesus put it, as Christians we’re not of the world.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[a] the truth; your word is truth.

John 17:16-17 NIV

 

They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.

John 17:16-17 NLT

Image of a woman sitting at a desk, studying the Bible

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels 

Process of transformation

So, how do we resist the patterns of the world, renew our minds and live set apart for the Lord? How do we allow God to transform us by changing the way we think, as the Apostle Paul puts it in Romans 12:2?

What we think and believe about ourselves and the world starts with what we fill our minds with. For out thoughts to align with God’s thoughts and our actions to reflect the heart of Jesus, we need to meditate on His truth. And God’s truth is found in His Word – the Bible.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Hebrews 4:12 NLT

The Word of God holds transformative power. When we read God’s Word with an open heart and mind, Holy Spirit “exposes our innermost thoughts and desires”, holding them up against God’s truth as the standard. When we allow Him, He convicts, corrects and counsels us. And the more we read and study the Word of God with receptive hearts, the more we think like Jesus. And the more we think like Jesus, the more we behave like Him.

Isn’t that our ultimate goal as Christ followers?

Now, I’m not saying the process of transformation is easy. It’s not.

It’s messy, uncomfortable and inconvenient. But it’s also refreshing, beautiful and fruitful. Through the process of sanctification (becoming holy like God), Holy Spirit teaches us to lean into the spirit over the flesh.

Over time, you’ll notice changes in how you respond to specific situations compared to in the past. You’ll recognise growth in the different fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Personally, since I’ve made getting into the Word of God a priority, I’ve seen an exponential increase in my love, joy, peace and patience. And each time I reflect on how this has impacted my behaviour in certain circumstances, I give Holy Spirit the credit. I find that when I do, I give Him permission to do more good work in me.

Photo of the profile/back view of a man sitting at a desk, reading the Bible

Knowing God’s heart and will

Immersing yourself in God’s Word does more than transforming you into a new person. It reveals the character of God and draws you closer to Him. The closer you become to God, the more you get to know His heart and will for your life. Trust me, you’ll want to know God’s will for you because He has good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11)!

Knowing God’s will means you can partner with Him to see it fulfilled in your life. Through Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work in you, He gives you the grace to act according to God’s will. To live a life worthy of the calling you have received (Ephesians 4:1).

Do you long to live the abundant John 10:10 life Jesus bought for you? Start by renewing your mind with the Word of God.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10 NKJV

Think about it

Ask Holy Spirit whether there are any areas of your life where you’ve been following the patterns of the world rather than the Kingdom of God. What lies are you believing that are at the root of these behaviours? What truths from God’s Word do you need to replace those lies with?

Pray about it

Lord, forgive me for the times I’ve believed the lies contrary to your truth and allowed the world to influence my thoughts and actions. As I read Your Word, please reveal your truth and help me get to know you better. Let my mind and my heart be receptive to your truth and your way, so all that I do and say brings glory to your name. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

For more Holy Spirit inspired revelations straight into your inbox, sign up for my emails here. Let’s grow in our understanding of God’s Word together!

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Written by Oyelola

Oyelola is a freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. When not writing for clients, she shares her musings from life with Jesus through He Speaks, I Write. Beyond writing, she enjoys throwing back a frothy matcha latte, bushwalks with friends and curling up with a good book.

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