Renewing our minds, from what we read in the Scriptures, is a very important thing:
to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds.
In context with other passages that address renewing the mind, we can only put off the old self by renewing our minds. That new person is the renewed person, which is fashioned “after the likeness of God” and which – in a better translation of the last phrase – takes place within us as we practice righteousness and holiness. There is a direct connection and synergy between filling our minds with Scripture and practicing what it tells us to do. God does not just tell us to obey for no reason, and one of the reasons that He gives us this command is because what we put into our minds affects our behavior, and what we practice as behavior affects our spirits; which, in the closing of a complete circle, in turn affects our minds. The more we renew our minds and walk in obedience to the Word of God, the stronger our spirits and minds become to do the same. Another passages is:
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
It’s not just knowledge, but knowledge is the beginning of renewing one’s mind and, eventually, putting on the new man, the new creation in Christ. We are a new creation in Christ simply because in Christ we have the Spirit of God dwelling within us, but God wants more than just an inward change in the spirit, He wants us to conform to the image of Christ, which we cannot do unless we first renew our minds…
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
A better thought-for-thought translation of the above text reads:
Because those whom God foreknew, He also predestined to walk in conformity to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
In other words, the text does NOT say that God causes those who He foreknew to be conformed to the image of Christ, it says that God has, in so many words, ordained that those who come to Christ are to conform to His image. We cannot conform to the image of Christ without first renewing our minds – mind renewal is the first step, to many things. And finally…
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Again, renewing the mind is a start, a starting point of which we cannot move forward in God in many areas of our lives if we do not renew our minds. For example, we cannot walk in the Spirit if we do not first renew our minds…
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
It is nigh impossible to set your mind on spiritual things if you have not first renewed your mind, and walking in the Spirit is paramount to our spiritual survival and spiritual growth, because it is the only way to put to death the deeds of the flesh:
Because 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.
If we are not renewing our minds, then we cannot walk in the Spirit, we cannot put to death the deeds of the flesh, which means that we will not be able to walk in holiness. If we cannot walk in holiness, then we will never be able to draw closer to God, because the more we practice holiness, the closer we move toward God…
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James, the brother of the Lord Jesus, says to draw near to God, and then he tells us how to do that…by cleansing our hands from sinful things, and by purifying your hearts from sinful things. What is he talking about when he says to cleanse and purify? He is talking about holiness…”Touch not the unclean thing, and I will accept you” the writer of Hebrews quotes from the OT. Walking in holiness is how one moves closer to God, being “set apart” from the things of the world that contaminate our souls, minds, and bodies, and “set apart” unto God. That means that we dedicate ourselves to living a pure life so that we can do the things that God wants us to do…
But I say, walk in the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Because the desires of the flesh war against the Spirit because they are opposed to one another, and the flesh tries to keep you from doing the spiritual things that you want to do.
Ever wonder why you might be experiencing the same dilemma that Paul talks about in Romans 7? It’s because you have not yet renewed your mind with the Word of God so that you can walk in the Spirit. Listen to what Paul talks about…
For I do not understand my own actions, because I do not do the things that I want to do, but I keep doing the very things that I hate. Now, if I do what I do not want to be doing, I agree with the law that it is good. So now, it is no longer I who keep doing these evil things, but it is the sin that dwells within my flesh. I know that nothing dwells within my flesh that is good, because I have the desire to do what is right in God’s eyes, but I don’t have the power in the flesh to carry it out. Because I do not do the good things that I want to do, but I keep doing the evil things that I do not want to keep doing; now, if I do what I do not want to be doing, then it is no longer I who do it, but rather it is the sin that dwells within my body of flesh.
How does Paul teach us to get over this dilemma? In the very next chapter, which we have already quoted from, he tells us that we must begin to walk in the Spirit, because that is the only way to put the desires of the flesh to death so that we can walk in obedience to God. Yet, we cannot walk in the Spirit until we first fill our minds with enough Scripture to renew it so that we can have spiritual things in our minds in order to be thinking (minding) about them.
This is the goal of this new page that I am starting today…to give us prime passages of Scripture to meditate upon daily so that we can renew our minds and begin walking in the Spirit. There are two ways (or a combination of both) that you can do in order to work on renewing your mind:
- Read one passage from the following list a day, preferably in the morning, and meditate on what that passage means throughout your day.
So, for example, instead of listening to the radio while driving down the road, meditate upon what the passage means to you, explore everything that you can think about what the passage might be saying. The key is to keep the idea of the passage rotating through your mind…the goal is not so much trying to memorize the passage. Memorization of Scripture is good, but it does not work very well in renewing the mind because you are not being active in thinking about the Scripture and what it means, you are only trying to remember the words stated.
2. Read a couple of the passages, one after the other, meditating upon one after the other, thinking about what the text is saying. In this suggested way, you can “pop” into the page (for example) in the morning, read about 3-4 of them, spending about 15 minutes or so (the longer the better) and also meditating upon them while you are out and about doing your things. Then come back in a few hours and read a few more, repeating the process.
We will go through a passage as a meditation so that you can see what I am talking about when I say meditate upon what a passage might be saying. IT IS NOT IMPORTANT TO MEDITATE UPON A WHOLE TEXT…rather, we pick out of the text the most important thought to meditate on; for example…
I Peter 2:24
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Here, we will focus on the thought, “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” The thought incumbent here is that we should be putting to death all manner of sin because we cannot walk in righteousness if we are so busy sinning all the time. The thought behind what Peter is saying is this, we cannot practice doing what is right in God’s eyes (righteousness) if we keep practicing sinful things.
This is the same thing said to us in other places in the Scriptures. We just finished reading how Paul was explaining that we cannot put to death the things of the flesh unless we are walking in the Spirit, the goal being to pursue righteousness and holiness. We must die to sin – in other words, we must stop practicing sinful things, whatever they may be, because if we keep practicing sinful things, Hebrews 10 tells us that we can cross a line of no return (Heb. 10:26-29). Not only that, but we cannot practice doing what is right in God’s eyes if we continually keep practicing sinful things.
As James puts it, a spring cannot produce both fresh water and sea water, it is an impossibility. We cannot partake of both the table of the Lord, and the table of demons (I Cor. 10:21). Why do we need to die to sin so that we can live to practice righteousness? Because practicing righteousness is doing the will of God, and according to Jesus in Mat. 7:21, no one gets into heaven unless they are practicing the will of God. On top of that, practicing the will of God is how Jesus and John tell us that we love God – we love on God by doing what He commands us to do, which also entails not doing what He commands us not to do.
That was a small example of meditating upon a passage, you don’t need to stay within the parameters of the passage you are meditating upon, as I demonstrated above. When your thoughts lead to something said in another passage, that’s great, just keep going with it. The important thing to do is to keep your mind centered upon what the Scripture is saying…to keep your mind revolving around direct application to what you do today in walking in obedience to what it is saying. For example, if something that keeps plaguing me in my walk with God, such as looking at women in a sexual way, then that should be part of the meditation. What I mean is this: in accordance with the verse above as a meditation verse, I could apply it in this way: “I need to die to the sin of looking at women in a sexual way…so that I can walk in righteousness…” and so on.
I am going to begin this “series” on this first day by giving you at least 5 passages, maybe more depending upon how late it gets, and then add passages as we go. I want to do that so that I won’t have to make one long list, but rather each following page will be a small grouping of its own.
Blessings in your efforts!
Post Script: Apparently I don’t know how to use “Pages”…so I will have to keep coming here when I post new passages for mind renewal, which means that you won’t receive notifications when I do since they will only be add-ons to a previously already established posting. Sorry!
The passages of renewal will be posted in the “Comments” section below this article…that is, if I am doing it right!