Renewing The Mind – Key To A Lasting Change
By Mark R. Anderson
I heard this testimony of a man in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, who was afflicted with multiple sclerosis. The disease had taken a severe toll on his body confining him to a wheelchair. During that time his Pastor started teaching on healing and faith. This man sat under the teaching consistently and began to apply what he learned to his circumstances. Within a few months he was out of the wheelchair, walking with the aid of a cane. A little later he discarded the cane and could walk a little on his own. As he continued to renew his mind to God’s word regarding healing, within a year he was running. This came about as he refused to accept the world’s verdict and diagnosis of multiple sclerosis that he would only deteriorate and there would be no improvement for his condition with the passage of time. Rather than embracing that fact, he choose to embrace God’s answer for his circumstance and was healed, not instantly, but over the passage of time as he consistently renewed his mind to God’s word. That is a perfect example of the power of renewing our mind and doing what God’s word says about our circumstances. This can happen to any believer who will have the tenacity to believe and do what God’s word says.
What is True Mind Renewal
In order to witness miracles and healings on a consistent basis renewing the mind to the truth of God’s word and who we are in Christ is unprecedented in importance. The concept of renewing the mind can be successfully applied to any area of life, whether for health, holiness, prosperity, marriage, joy, etc.
3 John vs. 2 says, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” In this verse God’s desire for us His children is very clear. He desires that we prosper and walk in health. Personally I adhere to the opinion that we should walk in divine health consistently, rather than constantly being in need of a miracle.
As my wife Sharmila and I age, by the grace of God and by standing on His word, we continue to walk in excellent health. Some assume that to walk in health as one ages is impossible, as it is only natural for the body to deteriorate with age. However as the above scripture puts it, prosperity and health are contingent on our soul. Our soul prospers as we apply God’s word to every aspect of our lives. We can and will prosper in those areas of our lives where we apply God’s word. More important than medical insurance is the medical assurance God’s word gives to believers, those knowing who they are IN CHRIST and what they have IN CHRIST.
Romans 12:1-3, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each person a measure of faith.”
When one gets saved, what is saved? The spirit! Personally I do not believe that the body or mind is saved. But the salvation Jesus purchased for us includes healing for the body and deliverance! James 1:21 says, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your soul.” I believe the soul in this text includes one’s mind, will and emotions. For an example some people are saved but still struggle with cancer in their physical bodies. In such situations one needs to renew the mind to the word of God, by studying scripture and applying them to our situation, then our body will come in line with the benefits of the salvation/ healing Jesus provided at Calvary.
In spite of being saved, some of us may struggle financially, or battle sickness or demonic torment, even though Christ has redeemed us from all of these. God’s word is full of promises for abundant life, and if we stand on those promises and apply them to our lives we will witness a positive change in our circumstances. It is our choice to walk in healing, prosperity, joy etc. God will never force His will on us.
Keeping Romans 12:1-3 before us, we know that we are a three part being. Verse 1 refers to the physical body… “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God…” Verse 2 refers to the mind, which needs to be renewed… “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind….” Finally verse 3 refers to the inner or spirit man… “through the grace given to me….”
Our emphasis in this chapter pertains to Verse 2, “And do not be conformed (Greek: fashioned, patterned after) this world, but be transformed (Greek: to go through metamorphosis, to change from one form to another) by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Here verse 2 says not to be conformed, which means patterned or fashioned to this world or its ways of thinking, but on the contrary, to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. The word transformed here in the Greek means to “go through metamorphosis, to change or transfigure.”
I do not make this statement. This is God’s word, and it says you and I, and our circumstances can change or be transformed when we renew our mind. What do we renew our mind to? Read on! To the perfect will of God! God’s word is His will (see
1 John 5:14-15). Also keep in mind Jesus and His Word are the same (see John 1:1-4, 14). Jesus and His Word are inseparable. The focus needs to be Jesus and the Word in order to change our circumstances.
1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.” According to this scripture we have the mind of Christ. Walking in the wholeness of the mind of Christ is an everyday task that may take a lifetime. We acquire His mind by diligently studying the Word and applying it to our lives. The more we learn the word of God, the more we have His mind to think, act, and go through life successfully.
Romans 12:2 refers to the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. When pertaining to healing a number of people are not sure of God’s will. How do we know that it is God’s will to heal anyone? We know that the Bible is His will and it talks at length on healing. In fact healing was an integral part of Jesus’ ministry on earth and we are commanded and commissioned to follow in His footsteps (Mark 16:15-18, John 14:12).
Changing the Inside
Unfortunately we live in a society of instant gratification. Stores are stocked with microwaves, fast food restaurants are always busy, individual needs are met instantly. Often in our Christian walk we desire the principles of instant gratification to apply as well to our finances, health or circumstances. Often our answers do not lie in the instant quick fix but rather they are achieved over a period of time, so that we can mature, learn and something positive is birthed within us for a lifetime. This process comes about as we renew our minds to God’s word.
Many are unwilling to go through the steady process of transformation. They want a quick fix. They think that just casting out a demon; popping a pill or blaming others will solve their problems.
When we continually blame outward circumstances such as others, the government, our spouse or children for our problems, but are unwilling to change the inside, we are buying into the enemy’s lie that will blind us and bind us and will keep us from lasting change. Renewing our mind, changing the inside, not just the outside will bring about lasting change and freedom. On some occasions, to bring about change, controlling or demonic forces need to be dealt with, but if the mind is not renewed and the inside changed many end up dealing with the same problem time and time again. (see Matthew 12:43-45) If we renew our mind to God’s word and live according to the Word, it can bring deliverance and permanent change.
It is unfortunate many embrace a lie that the root of their problem is their spouse, or job, the area one lives in etc. One tends to blame difficulties on external circumstances, deceiving oneself. We may move to a different town or change jobs, where for a while life goes on smoothly, but soon the same problems rear their ugly head once again. Why? Because the problems are within us and we brought them with us! For the most part problems will not change unless we make a conscious decision to change by renewing our mind to the word of God.
Many marriages would not be falling apart if spouses would cease blaming each other and start looking inward. True change comes one heart at a time, when each person involved deals with their own thoughts and heart. The power of God’s word within us has the ability to change any circumstance, or solve any problem, regardless of its magnitude.
Notice verse 3 says not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. To truly change, alter or transform our negative situations we have to understand the need for humility. Many are not humble enough to acknowledge the need for change and thus continue to be beaten up by their sickness, poverty, depression, discouragements, marital problems, etc. Many do not take evaluations that cause them to acknowledge their need for change. Pride stands in their way of making a lasting change.
One of the best ways to be humble and teachable is with your mate. Sharmila and I have given each other permission, to lovingly bring correction to each other, if we see areas that need to change. It takes humility but the end result is lasting change and a great marriage. We want to grow in humility and that is one we are growing in humility. Change is good if God is in it! In order to do this in a marriage, you cannot have one mate always in control. Husbands and wives need to walk and work together as joint heirs of the grace of life (see 1 Peter 3:7).
There have been a number of times in my life where I had to acknowledge my thoughts and actions were not in line with God’s word and I had to humble myself, repent and DO WHAT THE WORD SAID TO CHANGE MY NEGATIVE CIRCUMSTANCES and transformation (change) took place.
I have noticed many Charismatic/ Pentecostal churches believe (at least mentally) in divine healing but see very few if any healings. Why is that? One of the reasons is there is no foundation laid (in-depth teaching or renewing of the mind) on the subject and therefore no transformation (change) takes place in the physical bodies of those needing healing and/or deliverance. Secondly true mind renewal is not just mental ascent to a truth in God’s Word. It is in doing what you believe that brings about the true and lasting change. It starts by changing the inside!
If we are beaten up by sickness, poverty, and mental and demonic attacks, then those that are sitting under our teaching and leadership, as a result get beaten up with us. Renewing our mind to what God’s word says, and doing it, will take us down a road to victory. It all comes down to our willingness to allow the Word to change our outlook in life. We need to be examples of the Gospel working powerfully and transforming our lives. The Gospel is loaded with the good news that Jesus has come to heal, forgive, bless and deliver. We can walk in all these things on a consistent basis.
Romans 10:17 says “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith comes by the hearing God’s word, then acting upon God’s word. Faith is what activates God’s miracle working power! Faith based upon renewing our mind to what God’s word says transforms our circumstances.
Many times to bring about change in our thought life and circumstances, we need to be open to learning from others. Some are unwilling to go outside of the belief system of those with whom they fellowship. As a result things never change. Some have the knowledge of what to do for their circumstances but never act on what the Word says. 1 Corinthians 8:1 says “We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.” Just having a knowledge of God’s word without any practical experience has led some down a road of pride and arrogance that just puffs them up but has no power to change their lives for the better. It is a lot like leaven that Jesus described; it inflates but offers no nutritional value. Change and transformation comes when we do God’s word. Love is an action, something we must do, not just something we think or feel.
God’s Thoughts vs our Thoughts
Isaiah 55:7-11, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Just how far are the heavens above the earth? The heavens are much higher than the earth. That might give you somewhat of an idea of how much higher God’s thoughts and ways are compared to our thoughts and ways.
The above scriptures emphasize abandoning our old way of life with its thoughts once we come to Christ. Why? Because God’s ways and thoughts are much higher and superior to man’s! Our ways and thoughts are usually influenced by our upbringing. If it has been without the word of God, then in all likelihood that lifestyle and thoughts will not be pure and not conducive to producing positive results in our lives.
God says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways….” How are we to successfully change our ways and thoughts to align with His? By studying His word, as His thoughts and ways that are found in the Word. This should make every Christian extremely hungry for the word of God.
How are we going to witness miracles of Biblical proportions – the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the dead resurrected etc.? By tapping into the power of His word, and thinking like He does. So much of what is taught in Christian circles today is just natural thinking that does not include the supernatural power of God. All it does is help Christians to cope, but never to walk in the supernatural power of God or to live in victory over their circumstances. We need to go beyond that kind of thinking and tap into God’s thoughts and ways.
I am absolutely convinced that the word of God has the power and ability to change us – spiritually, mentally, financially and physically; to change any negative circumstance to a positive one. If we call upon and use the word of God it does not return void, but as it says in the above scripture, “…it (the word) shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper (Hebrew- succeed in its fulfillment) in the thing for which I sent it.”
If God says that something is ours, whether it is joy, healing, peace, prosperity etc. then IT IS OURS. But how do we appropriate it? By renewing our mind to His word. It will change our circumstances because His word has the power to do so, to literally transform us or our circumstances.
I was ministering on the Blood Indian Reserve in Alberta, Canada years ago, where a lady was healed of a hernia, without anyone laying hands on her. I called out her condition as a word of knowledge and later she testified that she felt a hand push the hernia back into her body. Within a month and a half she also lost 50 pounds.
About two years later I returned to the same Reserve and ministered in a healing service. I shared with them the lady’s testimony from two years earlier. A charismatic catholic lady in the congregation felt that God was speaking to her through the testimony. She appropriated it for herself and was healed of a hernia while sitting in her chair. She was healed as she heard God’s word regarding her physical situation, before we even started ministering to those needing healing. That is the power behind God’s word and sharing testimonies of His power and love.
How to Renew Your Mind, Key to a Lasting Change Part 2
By Mark R. Anderson
How do we renew our minds? It is like planting seed. It starts with a thought. The thought becomes an action, the action a habit, the habit a lifestyle and the lifestyle a stronghold. We can have positive or negative strongholds in our lives, depending on how we were raised and what we are being taught right now. We need to build on the positive things in our lives and tear down the negative strongholds in our minds and hearts.
2 Cor. 10:4-5 says “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Our mind is where the battle takes place!
Jesus said Mark 4:17 says “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.” Jesus is referring to people with no roots in the word of God. They quickly received the Word but the results were temporary. As they had no roots, when trials and persecution arose for the Word’s sake, and they immediately fell. The way we wage war with an enemy that Jesus already defeated is with the truth of God’s word. That is how we enforce his defeat and walk in all that Christ provided for us 2,000 years ago.
Satan and his demons’ plan is not to allow the Word to work in your life. That is why Jesus said “persecution arises for the word’s sake”. (Mark 4:17) They know the only way they can defeat Christians is when they do not apply God’s word to their circumstances. This battle we fight with the enemy of our soul all comes down to what we do with the truth of God’s word. Do we apply it and experience it or do we listen to demonic lies that will bind us and blind us to the truth (God’s word) that can set us free?
If believers really understood the power of God’s word to transform us we would see lasting changes in our lives for the better. We would get our roots down deep in the Word and not be shaken by anything the enemy throws our way. Jesus said “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:26-27).
Examples of God’s Thoughts –vs- the World’s Thoughts
Let’s look at a few examples of the world’s thoughts vs. God’s thoughts. According to Romans 12:2 we need to remember that we do not have to be fashioned and patterned after the world and that we can change our circumstances when we apply God’s word.
1) The world says its flu season; you are going to get it. Get your medicine chest stocked with anti-flu medication, allergy medication etc. Once during the supposed flu season a gentleman greeted me with, “the flu is going around; you are going to get it”. I did not receive his confession, but I awoke the following morning with the flu. During those days I was starting to learn and understand faith. I started confessing God’s word of healing over myself, as I parked cars in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota in 30 degree below zero weather. My office was a little shack that could not keep the cold out. I listened to tapes on healing by Kenneth Copeland and listened to radio preachers sharing on Christ the healer. Within two hours I was completely healed. Then when people said the flu was going around, I would say “yes and praise God it going way around me. It is not coming near me.
As opposed to the world’s view on sickness the word of God says to lay hands on the sick and they shall recover ( Mark 16:17-18), by the stripes of Jesus we are healed (ref. Isaiah 53:4-5, 1 Peter 2:24), that God’s word will be life unto those that find it, and health (Hebrew-medicine) to all their flesh (Proverbs 4:22)
2) The world says if you grew up in poverty, then that has to be your portion for the rest of your life. However God’s word is so contrary to the world’s way of thinking. God’s word promises abundance for us and enough to get the gospel out if we just obey it. ( Duet 8:17-20 and 28:1-14, Gal. 3:13-14, Phil.4-15-19, Mal.3:8-11, Luke 6:38, Ps.35:27)
1 Peter 3:9 says, “not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” According to this scripture when we are cursed we should not retaliate, rather bless the offender. This is what we are called to do. We are called to be blessed and to be a blessing.
God spoke to Abraham in Genesis12:2-3, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” We are the seed of Abraham. He was called to be a blessing – we have to learn to give it away and then we will be blessed. The world cannot fathom the theology that giving away will cause increased return. Practicing this principle has enabled us to do what we are doing all over the world today – giving as the Lord leads. Not just 10% but 100% of our finances belong to the Lord. We give what He tells us to and we are never left shortchanged.
3) The world says one has every right to be depressed and have self-pity when everything is going awry. One can also accept the world’s diagnosis that one has to live in depression because of chemical imbalances, using medication throughout life. Or on the contrary one can rise up with what the word of God says regarding depression in Neh. 8:10, “the joy of the Lord is our strength”, and to put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness or depression (see Isaiah 61:13). Joy and praise can turn around one’s circumstances and give strength to rise out of those circumstances.
James 1:2, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials (Greek also means tests and temptations).” and 1 Peter 1:7-8, “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
The best way to break out of negative circumstances is to rejoice and praise the Lord. Joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit. It should automatically flow from within us, regardless of our circumstances, because of the nature of Christ within us. A fruit tree does not have to struggle to produce fruit, because the fruit is the outcome of what is within the tree; similarly as Christians we should not struggle with operating in joy, the fruit of the Spirit within us.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “in every thing (Greek- every way, every manner, every place) give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” This is not implying that we thank God for our trials and tribulations; rather we thank Him through them. This way we walk in victory! I believe that joy and praise are powerful weapons that can pull us through or out of the worst situations that may confront us during our lives. Jeremiah 15:16 in the amplified version reads, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and the rejoicing of my heart.”
4) The world says that if something feels good, if you desire to do it, then go ahead and indulge, regardless of the consequences to follow. This attitude does not foresee or care about the fruit of impulsive living. The Word on the contrary cautions us in our actions, warning that we reap what we sow. If we sow in the Spirit we will reap everlasting life – the Bible encourages us not to be weary in well doing for in due season we will reap if we faint not (see Galatians 6:9).
My friend, singer Kenny Marks, wrote a song that was one of the top songs on the Christian music charts entitled “The Party’s Over”. It talked about the effects of teen sex and how a little indiscretion destroyed two teens’ lives. Enjoyment of sin is short-lived. What happens when the season is over? You reap what you sow and that sin can affect you for the rest of your life! (See Galatians 6:7-8)
Can you see a pattern here? The world thinks one way; in fact many Christians are given to thinking as the world does because they have not heeded the need to renew the mind to God’s thoughts and ways. As Christians we can and should think at a higher level, which can only happen as we renew our minds and think God’s thoughts.
John 8:31-32, “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, if you abide (Greek- permanent residence or continue) in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Unfortunately a lot of Christians know the truth, yet are bound. Why is that the case? They know the truth but do not continue or abide in the truth.
We are greatly blessed in North America where we have access to Christian books, tapes, TV etc. as compared to many nations where these tools are not available. We deceive ourselves when we hear the word of God time and again but do not act upon it. We are not changed because true transformation does not come by merely hearing the Word, but by living it; putting it into practice even if it means getting out of our comfort zones.
James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself.” When we do not act upon the word of God we are deceiving ourselves, which in turn leads to apathy and hardness of heart.
Proverb 4:18-23 reads, “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines even brighter unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble. My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ears to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those that find them, And health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”
According to verse 18, the closer we get to the return of Jesus Christ the brighter out path gets. What makes our path brighter? Psalms 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” Psalm 119:130 says, “The entrance of your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” According to these scriptures what is lighting our path? His Word, which will bring about more revelation, more miracles, signs and wonders! The wicked stumble because they do not have positive solutions for the situations they may find themselves surrounded by, because they do not walk in the light of the Word.
Proverbs 4:21 says, Do not let them (God’s words) depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart.” Do we as Christians really adhere to this truth? Some people complain that they received prayer for healing once, but healing was not manifested, hence they do not believe it is God’s will to heal. If we are truly keeping God’s Word in our heart then it will lead to a transformation of the physical circumstances. Unfortunately there are some people I should not even pray for, as I know that they do not desire to change their lifestyle and deal with issues that brought about the sickness or problems initially. What will prayer avail if individuals that know better, refuse to renew their mind to the word of God and change the very thing that opened the door to problems, sickness or demons? At the most a temporary cure! Sometimes the Lord will have me tell a person to press into something specific in the word of God for permanent change, healing and deliverance.
Proverbs 4:22 says, “For they (God’s word) are life to those who find them, And health (Hebrew-medicine) to all their flesh.” Thus the word of God is medicine to our flesh. In 1974 my mother was diagnosed with cancer. My parents called healing verses in the word of God the “Gospill.” Each day they confessed different promises in God’s word regarding healing over my mother. That is how my mother said she took the Gospill. The Gospill was life, medicine to her flesh. Her healing was not manifested instantly but soon the doctors were amazed, as they found no trace of cancer in her body. Today, many years later, she is alive, well and in very good physical condition. She is one of our main prayer warriors. This experience also taught me to stand on God’s word and about the power of renewing our mind to God’s word at a young age.
Proverbs 4:23 says “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” Many miss it in this area, as they do not keep their heart with all diligence. What if I chose not to clean my house on a regular basis, do the dishes, laundry etc? Pretty soon I will have a dirty unkempt home. The same analogy can be applied to our (spiritual) heart. If we chose to neglect our hearts, not tending to it, then it will gravitate towards evil and defeat. In Mark 7:15 Jesus says, “ There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.”
Jesus said “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:33-37).
A tree will only produce what is within it. It’s the same with our heart or belief system! In terms of healing, if a person is constantly afflicted with sickness and disease, then there is a good chance sickness is in the person’s heart. The principle applies to poverty, depression, victory, health, joy, etc. Some Christians say they believe one way but continually experience the opposite. For the most part you will only live out what it is in your heart (what you really believe) whether good or bad. If you do not like what you are experiencing in life on a continual basis then begin to renew your mind to what God’s word says about your circumstances and let His word transform any negative circumstances in your life. Simply have the tenacity to believe what He says in His word is true and apply it in your life and you will experience His word at work for you eventually.
What is the foremost thing we hear everyday? Our own words (voice)! Jesus cautioned us to take heed to what we hear, for with the measure we hear, it will be measured back to us (see Mark 4:24). Jesus said “…For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). What is inside your heart will be spoken out, whether sickness, victory, defeat or prosperity. What is in your heart is your future. If we do not like what we see and hear then we need to change.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he….” In other words, we are what we think. Many desire to know what the future holds. Each and every one of us can know what is in our future. All we have to do is to take a deep look into our hearts. What picture is within us? That is what we are going to live each day. If we do not like what is within us, then we can change it by renewing our mind to the word of God. Once again Jesus said in verse 34 “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” We can tell what is in the heart by what comes out of the mouth, especially when our circumstances do not look good.
Ephesians 4:21-24, “If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: That you put off’ concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
In these scriptures we see three essential actions to renew the mind. Firstly, putting off, secondly, renewed in the spirit of our mind and thirdly, putting on.
Often we are guilty of the willingness to put on, without putting off i.e. dealing with the old self with its thoughts and habits and soon enough, problems arise. Would it not be ridiculous that when a baby needs a diaper change, instead of changing the diaper, one just puts on a clean one over the messy dirty one? What happens? In a while there is a bigger mess to clean up than previously. Similarly renewing the mind is not merely adopting new thought patterns, but also entails completely giving up old ways of thinking that are detrimental to positive living. It is being renewed in the spirit of our mind, which in the Greek is the principle part of our mind, that will change our negative circumstances.
Every individual grows up with certain strongholds, negative or positive, that tend to govern that person’s reactions to circumstances in life. These are stored in the subconscious or spirit of your mind and manifest themselves in our reactions during various situations in life. Taking myself as an example, earlier when I would go through hard times, I would indulge in self pity, till I realized that I had to break this pattern of behavior and renew my mind to God’s word when trials came, responding in joy, which I have since done. With that attitude I now walk in victory over those circumstances that used to beat me up.
The children of Israel are a prime example of an entire generation that chose not to put off the old way of thinking. They wandered aimlessly for 40 years, despite the fact that God had promised them possession of the Promised Land. The entire generation except Joshua and Caleb had to pass away before the Israelites could take possession of the Promised Land. Why did this happen? Did God turn back on His promise? No! It was the disobedience, the negative mind-set and confession of the people that kept them in bondage. They had grown up in bondage as slaves in Egypt. God supernaturally delivered them from Egypt, now it was their responsibility to renew their minds to God’s promises, get rid of the slave mindset, believe in what God said they could do and possess the Promised Land, which they failed in doing.
They confessed that they were grasshoppers in the sight of their enemies, even though their enemies believed something entirely different and were in fear of them (see Numbers 13:30-33, 14:11, & Joshua 2:9-11). They were never able to possess the land. They never dealt with the slave mentality. In fact they often complained and wished themselves back in Egypt as slaves. They did not renew their minds to what God said they were and what God said they could do. Was God to blame for that? No, the Israelites were to blame for their own failure that brought about defeat and destruction. God supernaturally delivered them from Egypt but it was their job to renew their minds and get Egypt out of themselves. It is our job as believers IN CHRIST to renew our minds to what God says about us and what we are IN CHRIST.