“DO NOT CONFORM ANY LONGER TO THE PATTERNS OF THIS WORLD, BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND” (Romans 12:2, emphasis mine).
God does not control the minds of His people! Man’s mind and will are sovereign to Man. “CHOOSE THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE. . .” (Joshua 24:15). Every promise, every command, every gift written in the Bible is for you, BY YOUR OWN CHOICE. God gave us our minds and our wills, that we could and would choose His way of life and benefit. It’s a command! “BE TRANSFORMED BY RENEWING YOUR MIND”. However, He put His Spirit within us “to lead and guide us into ALL truth” (John 16:13, emphasis mine). But we have the initiative! We must act out of our own will.
The original word that’s translated into “RENEWING” is an interesting word. It is used in only one other place in the New Testament – Titus 3:5. Here’s what that verse says: “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”. Rebirth is purely an act of God, in a specific instant of time. But renewal, from its own origin, is a word that carries the meaning of an ongoing work. It covers times of weeks and months and days. Used as it is in Romans 12:2, it means for us to “stop following the patterns of this world which are expressed by our ‘outer self’; but let that ‘outward self’ be changed by the expression of our inner being – our mind, our thoughts, our attitudes”. This means that we must yield to the Holy Spirit who will gradually bring us into “having the mind of Christ”.
So, to have a “RENEWING OF THE MIND”, we see that a major transformation must take place. It’s a time-consuming thing; it’s not an instantaneous act. And although we cannot do it all by ourselves, we must be the starters at each step along the way.
Well, if we must do it ourselves, we need to know here is the problem. What is there is my thinking that is blocking the RENEWAL OF MY MIND? When you go to a physician with some ailment, the first things the doctor seeks for is the symptoms. Thus, we list below a group of the major symptoms of an “UN-RENEWED MIND”. Now, you review honestly and carefully this list of symptoms to see if you might have one or more of these indicators of an un-renewed mind.
1. INABILITY TO READ & TO CONCENTRATE ON HIS WORD. How many times have you sat down to rear the Bible, and your mind just will not absorb what the Word is saying? Paul says, “You must no longer live as the Gentiles [sinners] do, IN THE FUTILITY OF THEIR THINKING: darkened in their understanding, separated from the Life of God” (Ephesians 4:17, emphasis mine). And in another place he says, “Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind” (Romans 1:28). And James says (1:22), “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways”. That brings us to symptom number 2.
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 41, August/September 1984.