Romans chapter 12 verse two
Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is; his good, pleasing, and perfect will (NIV version).
I believe this is a key scripture in the bible that God uses to speak to us when we are truly seeking him and his will for our lives.
Our minds are incredibly powerful, and we can think many thoughts throughout the day. We often cannot help having so many thoughts, but I love Martin Luther’s famous quote,
‘You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.’
We need to take the time to think about the thoughts we are dwelling on and be highly selective over which thoughts we accept as truth and which thoughts we need to cast aside. This is a constant, daily practise.
This is a battle.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians chapter 10 verses 3-5
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
10 Practical steps on renewing the mind
1. Pray that the Holy Spirit will renew your mind.
2. Read, study, and confess God’s word.
3. Recognise the enemy and his tactics used to distract us from focusing on Him.
4. Actively set our minds on Jesus through praise and worship.
5. Listen to rich teachings of the gospel of the glory of Christ.
6. Read and ponder on the writings of great spiritual men and women.
7. Form a habit of meditating on the perfections of Christ.
8. Be careful with what you are feeding your mind.
9. Develop a strong relationship with God through regular prayer.
10. Speak God’s word with authority.
Neuroscientist Dr Caroline Leaf is an expert in how our brains work and the effects our thoughts have on the whole person. Our thoughts can either be positive or negative and sometimes it can feel like we do not have a choice over what we think.
Dr Leaf explains
‘choice is real, and free will exists. You are able to stand outside of yourself, observe your own thinking, consult with God, and change the negative, toxic thought or grow the healthy, positive thought. When you do this, your brain responds with a positive neurochemical rush and structural changes that will improve your intellect, health, and peace.’
It is amazing to me that we can rewire our brains through making deliberate decisions to choosing what thoughts we accept.
‘When you objectively observe your own thinking with the view to capturing rogue thoughts, you in effect direct your attention to stop the negative impact and rewire healthy new circuits in your brain.’
Aligning our thoughts
If we align our thoughts with God’s, as in our spirit We have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), we will create healthy, positive thought patterns.
The more often we do this, the quicker we will become at it. We will take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. This is a process.
Taking the time to think about what you are thinking about and asking yourself,
‘Is this thought producing life or death? Is this thought coming from a place of fear or love?’
This will help us know where the thought may be coming from and help us know what to do about it.
We need to actively set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:1–2); we need to set our minds on the things of the spirit (Romans 8:5); we need to think on whatever is pure, lovely, and honourable (Philippians 4:8–9).
I pray we can, with the Holy Spirit’s help, renew our minds according to what God says, so we can come to know what is the good and perfect and pleasing will of God.
References: Desiring God, John Piper, Hungrygen.com, ourkingdomculture.com, Dr Caroline Leaf
Jo Fuller lives on the beautiful Sunshine Coast with her husband, son and daughter. Jo is a teacher with an education in journalism and early childhood who loves to spend time with her family and enjoys reading and writing whenever she can.