A RENEWAL OF OUR MINDS
1Co 2:16 KJV
(16) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Rom 8:6-17 ESV
(6) For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
(7) For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
(8) Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
(9) You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
(10) But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
(11) If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
(12) So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
(13) For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
(14) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
(15) For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
(16) The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
(17) and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Rom 12:1-2 KJV
(1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
(2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The average brain weighs about three pounds – It contains 12 billion cells.
Each one of these cells is connected to 10,000 other brain cells, totaling 120 trillion brain cell connections.
Many Doctors will agree and have observed that the human brain is the most complex arrangement of matter in the universe.
Some have compared the brain to a sophisticated computer, but technology still has a long way to go before it can duplicate the brain’s capabilities.
The brain is not only the most complex mechanism in the world; it is the most influential organ in your body.
It accounts for your ability to think, remember, love, hate, feel, reason, imagine and analyze.
Everything we see, hear, touch and smell is recorded on the lobes of the brain.
Your brain elevates you high above the animal kingdom – It literally sustains your life.
If you are brain dead, you are dead because the brain supervises everything you do from the involuntary beat of your heart to the conscious decisions of daily life.
It also houses your intuition, your conscience and your sexuality.
It both houses and actually constitutes the mind.
Proverbs 23:7 summarizes so well the overarching significance of the mind as far as God is concerned in this poetic declaration:
For as he thinks within himself, so he is. – Proverbs 23:7a (NASB)
We may rightly conclude that the human mind is the single most important entity in Creation, for as it goes, so goes the person and the society in which he/she lives.
Who we are and what we become will have its origin and sustenance in the mind.
What we elevate and sanction or suppress and put aside mentally determines whether we take the high road less traveled or the low road which is far more popular.
The degree to which we attain the mind of Christ will determine the quality of life we enjoy as well as the eternity we will experience.
When we train our minds to become like the mind of Christ Himself we will find ourselves well on the way to personal renewal, because we will begin to think, act and do things like Jesus Himself.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.. – Romans 12:2 (KJV)
The point of this is simple – the pattern of conformity to the world is broken and a person’s life is transformed only if and when the mind is renewed.
Whether this renewal of the mind will take place or not, depends upon our daily mental discipline.
Unquestionably and repeatedly the thought life is identified in Scripture as the very source of godliness or worldliness; holiness or unholiness.
Our thinking may be dominated by the Holy Spirit or the evil one.
We make the determination, we give the permission, we exercise the control through our mind.
Our thought life is the real battleground. It is in our thinking that the most basic spiritual struggle takes place.
In the OT and the NT the government of the mind is the condition which brings about spiritual transformation at the deepest level of a person’s being and determines whether we are holy and pleasing to God.
There are two basic areas that we need to focus and really concentrate on, so that we can truly experience personal renewal.
THE GOAL: TO OBTAIN THE MIND OF CHRIST
We’ve talked about personal renewal through the Holy Spirit.
If I am going to be thoroughly and completely renewed, my mind must be like Christ’s mind.
I want to spend the rest of my life developing the mind of Jesus Christ.
There are three things I need to do continuously for that to happen.
First, I NEED TO KNOW CHRIST
When Paul writes to the Corinthian church He mentions the deep secrets of God and quotes the prophets to show that no one can really know the depths of God’s mind, yet there is one exception to this rule, those who have the Spirit of God can understand the mind of God.
He puts it like this: “Who can know what the Lord is thinking? Who can give him counsel?” But we can understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. – 1 Corinthians 2:16
This “mind of Christ” that Paul talks about is able to discern the things that God Himself is thinking.
This, to me, is one of the most astounding statements in the Scriptures that I, a mere human being, have the ability to understand what God is thinking.
This promise is not made to just anyone, but only to those that know Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Those who have been born again receive the Holy Spirit from God and The Mind Of Jesus Christ.
In fact, just a couple verses earlier Paul stated this:
People who aren’t Christians can’t understand these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means. – 1 Corinthians 2:14
While this concept here is profound, the point is very simple, to possess the mind of Christ we begin by knowing Christ through the salvation experience, which is the operation of God, Salvation comes from The Lord.
If you are a Christ follower you can have the mind of Christ.
SECONDLY, I NEED TO SURRENDER CONTROL
I know this is probably the biggest hindrance for most people experiencing personal renewal. Naturally people don’t want to surrender to anything. Human beings want to be in control of everything. This is the law of the flesh. The flesh wants everything it sees. However, the things we see are all temporary. The things which we don’t see are eternal.
We allow many things to control us, sin, our schedules, our friends, our culture, and the system of the world. For some reason, we have trouble allowing God to control us.
If we just cut to the chase, we need to recognize that someone or something is going to control our minds. It is up to us, our free will given from God, to decide who or what it will be that controls us.
There are really only two choices, our sinful nature or God.
If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace. – Romans 8:6
Notice the contrast here, it is between the sinful nature and the Holy Spirit.The sinful nature leads to spiritual death, The Holy Spirit leads
to life and peace.
Until I surrender control of my mind over to the Holy Spirit I will not be able to possess the mind of Christ in all of its fullness.
This mind of Christ that the Bible talks about is something that seems to move in and out of our possession in varying degrees.
Let’s put it this way: When I am fully surrendered to God I am able to discern His will and His way with clarity and precision.
When I am not fully surrendered to God, the things of God are no longer clear to me, and I am not able to understand His will for my life, and might even begin questioning God’s intentions for me and the world in which I live.
Many of us live life trying to live right dab in the center of this.
We allow our sinful nature to control us most of the week, and let God take over on Sundays or when we’re at some type of Christian function.
But I cannot hope to obtain and continuously possess the mind of Jesus Christ on a part-time basis.If that’s the case I will always be torn between having my way and letting God have His way.
[“God cannot bless us unless he has us. When we try to keep within us an area that is our own, we try to keep an area of death. Therefore, in love, He claims all. There’s no bargaining with Him. – C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”]
If I am going to exist in the heavenly realms, thinking heavenly thoughts, and being able to discern the heavenly mind of God, I must give up the sinful nature which is controlling me. This happens when I let go and let God take over.
THIRDLY, I NEED TO WAGE WAR WITH EVIL
In our modern culture we have trouble accepting the fact that there really is a Satan, and that there really is a demonic army that exists in the unseen world.
I hear Christians making light of these things as if they are too sophisticated to take such a view of the supernatural world. You can learn much just by listening.
Those who deny these beings exist are the most vulnerable to their attacks.
The most volatile battle zone in which satan wages war is the battlefield of our mind.The last thing that satan wants is for us to possess the mind of Jesus Christ.
He attacks us through images that make us lust for sex, power, and money.
He attacks us through words that cause us to doubt the God we worship.
He attacks us through circumstances that leave us vulnerable and weak.
Sometimes his attacks are successful and cause us to give in to his purposes.
There is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind.
This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is:
In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature, my flesh, the devil, and the system of this fallen world in which we live, I am a slave to sin. Romans 7:23-25
Paul describes his internal struggle as a “war with my mind.”
It is a war that we are all too familiar with – but what can we do? How can we overcome? How can we win when Satan is bombarding us?
Let me give you a simple strategy, when a sexual image, or lust, or greed of some kind enters into your mind, do not give in for even five seconds before mounting a counterattack with the mind.
I mean that! Five seconds, In the first two seconds we shout, “No! Get out of my mind!”
In the next two seconds we cry out: “O God, in the name of Jesus, help me. Save me now. I am yours.”
Good beginning, but then the real battle begins, this is a mind war.
The absolute necessity is to get the image and the impulse out of our mind, How?
Get a counter-image or attack into the mind.
Fight, Push, Strike, Don’t ease up.
It must be an image that is so powerful that the other image cannot survive. We kill the image in The Name Of Jesus, There is POWER in HIS NAME !
For example, have you ever in the first five seconds of temptation, demanded of your mind that it look steadfastly at the crucified form of Jesus Christ on The Cross?
I’m going to use an example here with men in mind, but you women can apply your own areas of mind attack in its place.
Men, let’s say you have just seen a peek-a-boo blouse on an attractive woman, inviting further fantasy to your eyes.
You have five seconds. “No! Get out of my mind!In Jesus Name, visualize Jesus on The Cross and cry out God help me!”
Now, immediately, demand of your mind, you can do this by the Power of The Holy Spirit.
Demand of your mind to fix its gaze on Christ on the cross.
Use all your fantasizing power to see his lacerated back.
Thirty-nine lashes left little flesh intact.
He heaves with his breath up and down against the rough vertical beam of the cross, each breath puts splinters into the lacerations on His back.
The Lord gasping for each breath He takes, from time to time he screams out with intolerable pain.
He tries to pull away from the wood and the massive spikes through his wrist rip into the nerve endings and he screams again with agony and pushes up with his feet to give some relief to his wrists.
But the bones and nerves in his pierced feet crush against each other with anguish and he screams again.
There is no relief, His throat is raw from screaming and thirst.
He loses his breath and thinks he is suffocating, and suddenly his body involuntarily gasps for air and all the injuries unite in pain.
In torment, He forgets about the crown of two-inch thorns and throws his head back in desperation, only to hit one of the thorns perpendicular against the cross beam and drive it half an inch into his skull.
His voice reaches a soprano pitch of pain and sobs break over his pain-wracked body as every cry brings more and more pain.
Now, I am not thinking about the blouse on the pretty woman any more, I am at Calvary.
I’m winning the spiritual battle because through God’s help I’ve replaced the sinful image in my mind, with the image of Jesus Christ On The Cross. The one who defeated sin on my behalf. Jesus took my place on The Cross, I should be the one up on the Cross not Jesus. Jesus loved me so much He took my place up there. What love, what grace and mercy he demonstrated on my behalf. Jesus knew no sin, but became sin for me. Thank you Jesus, for taking my place and giving me eternal life. Who would not serve a God like Him?
THE OUTCOME: PERSONAL RENEWAL
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and we are in agreement with God’s Vision, and are in possession of the Mind of Christ, we will experience personal renewal at a level we have never even imagined before.
And what is the result?
1. SATAN IS DEFEATED
Through personal renewal, relying on God’s power, I can completely and utterly destroy the work of Satan in my life.
That doesn’t mean I won’t be tempted, but the temptation will not be given into because I am now experiencing something much greater than anything Satan has to offer me.
2. GUILT IS REMOVED
Keep me from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. – Psalms 19:13
How would it feel to go through life with absolutely no guilt on your conscience?
We can know exactly what it feels like when we have been renewed in our mind.
God promises us that not only will every sin be wiped from our record, but that the guilt will go out the door right along with it.
3. GOD’S WILL IS DISCERNED
The closer you walk with God, the more you know God, the more you know God, the better you understand God, the better you understand God, the more you think like God, and the more you think like God, the more able you are to discern His will.
WITH THE MIND OF CHRIST YOU ARE FREE TO BE THE PERSON GOD CREATED YOU TO BE.
IN JESUS NAME …AMEN !!