“…for we have the mind of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 2:16b
“Do not conformto 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, pleasingand perfect will.” – Romans 12:2 NIV
What we believe determines how we will live. This is why internalizing the Word of God is the primary way we grow. The truth about all reality has been breathed upon the pages of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16) and our minds become renewed as we take it in on a regular basis. The Bible actually has a supernatural effect and builds our faith unlike anything else can (Romans 10:17). Perhaps this is why the prophet Jeremiah said:
“Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart,
for I am called by your name,
O Lord, God of hosts.” – Jeremiah 15:16
The Word of God can become a joy and a delight to your heart. Not everyone feels this way about the Bible. I have found, though, that by making a commitment to study and grow while asking for the Holy Spirit’s help, my hunger for God’s truth begins to grow. Remember, Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:21 NIV.
Like many things in life, we lead out with a commitment to treasure a particular thing and then our hearts follow.
Think about physical exercise. When we’re out of shape we don’t “treasure” exercise. Over time though, as we develop a consistent routine it becomes a life-giving habit we greatly enjoy. The same is true spiritually. Our hearts begin to burn within us as we read and hear God’s truth communicated (Luke 24:32). This is how the Word begins to change us:
…hearing or reading God’s Word and applying it accurately to our lives (“doing the Word”) will make us into the very thing that God ultimately created us to be: mature human beings with character and moral qualities like those of the perfect God-man, Jesus the Messiah. We call this transforming process spiritual formation.
As stated in an earlier footnote, spiritual formation is the direct action of the Holy Spirit upon our inner person. Our character and moral qualities become more and more like Christ as we avail ourselves to the Spirit’s renovating work within us. The time-tested pathway to renewing our minds in Christ lies in the spiritual disciplines. These are soul-training exercises like Bible intake, Scripture memory, biblical meditation, silence, solitude, generosity, service and so on. A spiritual discipline is not an end within itself, but rather a vehicle the Holy Spirit can use to help a person arrive at his destination of being conformed to become more like Jesus (Romans 8:29a).
How is Jesus currently changing your mind? Can you identify ways that your thinking has changed since coming to know the Lord? Maybe you’d like to copy the questions written below and go over them this week with a friend. We encourage you to do that! We will never drift into godliness. Following Jesus always requires a plan and diligence in the Spirit to follow through!
Where Am I?
- Think about the main factor(s) that have helped you spiritually over the years (e.g. Bible memory, the body of Christ, solitude, corporate worship at church, etc.) What have you found to be most helpful in the process of having your mind renewed in Christ? Why do you think this is the case?
- What is the biggest challenge you believe you face in the “renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2):
- Jot down one thing you will commit to do this week in an effort to see your mind renewed in Christ
 Walt Russell, Playing With Fire: How the Bible ignites change in your soul (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2000), 19.
 While spiritual disciplines or “soul-training” exercises are helpful in positioning a person to experience renewal of the mind and other healthy transformation, it is important to remember they can do nothing to make us acceptable to God. The cross of Jesus Christ is the only ground upon which we are made right with God. Dr. John Coe offers helpful insight here: “As we grow older in faith, we discover that the Christian life is more about Christ and less about our efforts. It is about what He has done, and about our life “in Christ,” and how to open the heart to this New Covenant life dependent on the Spirit. This is an obedience of abiding in the Vine and opening to the life of God living within. It is an obedience, but not one of moralism. In fact, true obedience is a movement away from moralism to an obedience of trust that opens to Another person to live through us based upon the work of Christ on the Cross. As we will see, it is more about participation in a new life than imitation of that life, though the latter is involved as well.” – John Coe. “Resisting the Temptation of Moral Formation: Opening to spiritual formation in the cross and the Spirit” – Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care Vol.1, No.1 (2008) 54.