[Part II of Romans 12:2]
Renew your mind. . . well, in Strongs, the word renew means: a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better. So something is getting overhauled in here! What was it again? Oh yeah, our minds! That’s the place where everything that happens in life gets evaluated. It’s where our perspectives are formed, it’s where we reason, and it’s where we decide what we think is right and wrong. It’s a pretty important place, and God, through Paul, is saying that our minds need a total makeover.
OK, so this is how I randomly pictured it recently. It’s almost like our minds are a huge warehouse. Think Amazon.com warehouse, filled to overflowing with shelves and shelves of merchandise. Someone puts in an order, the matching item gets located and shipped. I hear they use robots at Amazon, so everything is automated, preprogrammed. Order in, item found, package shipped. Like clockwork.
I think that’s how our minds work. They’re like a huge warehouse full of thoughts. When a circumstance happens, it’s like an order comes in, so we go to our inventory and grab the corresponding thought. Someone frustrates us, and our little robot goes to the “frustrated” aisle and grabs the “anger” product. You know the one, it contains thoughts like, “They always do this to me! I can’t believe how awful they are! They drive me CRAZY!” It gets packaged up and sent out, and a second later that package is being delivered as you give that frustrating person a piece of your mind. . . literally!
Or an order comes in called “temptation,” your robot knows right where to go. It’s automated, it’s how you fill this order every time. He goes to the aisle and selects the “failure” package. The one that contains thoughts like, “I never seem to overcome these temptations! It’s just too hard! I don’t think I’ll ever be strong enough. Why bother? I might as well just give in; I can’t seem to do any better.”
And that package gets shipped and delivered, and we give-in to temptation yet again, and fall into discouragement.
So what do we do? The warehouse of our mind is already so full of all these awful thoughts that aren’t transforming us, they’re just conforming us! Our little robots just automatically go and get them, we don’t even know it’s happening half the time till it’s too late and the packages are sent out!
This is where the renewal part happens. We need an inventory overhaul! We need to start looking at each of those items in that warehouse and evaluating them. If they don’t line up with the inventory list that God has given us, then we need to discontinue that item and throw it away. We need to start filling those shelves with the right products. On the frustration shelf, we need to have products like “Jesus loves me even when I’m being a jerk. How can I hate on this person that Jesus loves, after Jesus has been so good to me?”
When the temptation order comes through, we need to kick the failure product to the curb and replace that item with the Romans 8:37 product called “More than Conquerors.” And if we consciously replace our inventory with God’s product line, then when those orders of life come in, they’ll start getting filled by these new products that are stored in the warehouse of our mind. When they get delivered, people will start seeing a transformation in us because the packages coming out of us look more like the fruit of the Spirit than the actions of our old selfish. . . self.
So that was a lot of words. In order to make them clearer let’s use a few more. 🙂 How does this work?
Evaluate your inventory. What kind of thoughts are you thinking now? Are they thoughts of victory or thoughts of defeat? Are they thoughts of pride or thoughts about the greatness of God? Are they thoughts of fear or thoughts of awe that the God of the universe cares about you?
Evaluate that inventory, and start discontinuing items by reminding yourself that you’ve submitted yourself to God. This is His warehouse and thoughts like those don’t belong there. (This is where the battle starts, recognizing the thoughts that don’t belong, even if they’ve always been our automatic response!)
Get a new product line! You have to know what you should be thinking, and that can only be found as you dive into who God is and the things He’s said. What’s He like? What makes Him happy? What pleases Him? What has He said about you? Find those answers in God’s own words and then start putting those things on your shelves. (Hint, the technical name here is called memorizing and meditating, but I kind of like mixing up the terminology so it doesn’t get stale and boring. 🙂
Being transformed sounds impossible, but it’s not. It can be done, and it’s simpler than we think. It’s all about renewal, and it happens one thought at a time.