I grew up going to church every week, often more than once. I even taught a Sunday School class in my local church. But throughout those years, I didn’t know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord.
That changed the year after I graduated from college. I was beginning a career as a kindergarten teacher. Soon after moving to the town where I had a teaching position, I did what was a lifestyle for me – I looked for a church to join. While this church was of the same denomination of the churches I had been a part of, it was very different.
For the first time, I heard the gospel clearly explained. I learned than Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin, and I was encouraged to surrender my life to Him and accept Him as my personal Savior and Lord. I was told when I did this, that Jesus came to live in my heart through the Holy Spirit. He was now my teacher and guide for how to live as a believer in Jesus Christ. And this began a lifelong adventure was walking the genuine Christian life.
This happened in 1972; it’s now 2022, fifty years later. While I’ve matured in the faith from those early days as a Christ, I’m still learning how to walk in the truth of God’s Word. In fact, I’m currently taking a nine week, in-depth course on renewing my mind in a specific area where I’m not yet walking in victory, which I chose as my “mountain” that I need to overcome.
We choose what we will believe! A belief is something that we either consciously or unconsciously accept as truth. But there is only one source of truth: THE WORD OF GOD!
Most of us, no matter how long we have been Christians, still have a few areas of our lives where we are not walking in victory. These are the areas where we need to renew our minds by recognizing the lies we are still believing and replacing them with related truths from the Word of God.
Renewing the mind is basically rewiring your brain to think like Christ Jesus – to have the mind of Christ. Dr. Caroline Leaf speaks of this in her book Switch On Your Brian: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health.
“God designed humans to observe our own thoughts, catch those that are bad, and get rid of them... You cannot sit back and wait to be happy and healthy and have a great thought life; you have to make the choice to make this happen. You have to choose to get rid of the toxic and get back in alignment with God. You can be overwhelmed by every small setback in life, or you can be energized by the possibilities they bring.
“Thoughts are real, physical things that occupy mental real estate. Moment by moment, every day, you are changing the structure of your brain through your thinking.”
In physical terms, this is what happens when we choose to renew our minds. The actual structure of our mind changes as we learn to think differently about a specific area of our lives. We learn to recognize our wrong thoughts and replace them with truths from God’s Word… and continue doing this until we have learned a new way of thinking.
An essential step in renewing our minds is understanding our identity in Christ, who we are in Christ. Our minds have been influenced since early childhood by things our family, friends, teachers and other acquaintances have said about us, things which have physically changed the structure of our brains. Renewing the mind includes building new pathways for our thoughts about ourselves.
I’ve learned that renewing the mind takes time and effort. It requires honestly facing the lies we are believing, lies that are keeping us from walking in victory in a specific area of our life. It’s important that we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in this step, because the very nature of lies is that we often don’t recognize them.
The class I’m currently taking has use begin with a “mind dump,” with listing at least ten thoughts that are currently on our minds. As I did this, I was surprised at the toxic thoughts that showed up. Then, we allow the Holy Spirit to reduce the list, one step at a time, until we recognize the “mountain” God currently wants us to focus on. A question made it easy for me to narrow my list down to one: What does the Lord see as the weighty issues in my life? Suddenly, I knew the area the Lord wanted me to focus my mind renewal on, something I had not even considered before that.
This is just an introduction to renewing our minds. If any of you are interested in a time of intense mind renewal, just leave a message in the comments after this post. I will be glad to give you the name of the study I’ve been doing – for the third time. This is just a taste of what I’m learning about renewing my mind. Each time I’ve done the study, I’ve seen major change in a problem area of my life, an area where victory had always seemed just beyond my reach. IT IS POSSIBLE TO WALK IN VICTORY IN AREAS OF PERSISTENT SIN – AND MIND RENEWAL IS THE KEY!
I think we need to continually grow as Christians. We will not be perfect this side of Heaven, and if we are really honest with ourselves, confronting as that may be, we can all find plenty of areas in which we need to grow. If we are unable for whatever reason to do a course such as you mentioned, Barbara, truly honest and heartfelt prayer can open us up to God’s leading. IF we are prepared to accept his answers. [Hope this makes sense. I have a lot on my mind]
Helen, you are so right. At this point of our lives, we should be fairly mature Christians, but we never reach perfection until we see Jesus face to face. The Lord always has something for us to work on, if we are sensitive to His voice.
This sounds like something I need! Thank you for this.
If you are interested in learning more about mind renewal, I would suggest checking out the Facebook group Tapestry of Beauty. The course I referred to will be coming to an end at the beginning of July, but other courses are offered and almost all of them include some mind renewal activities. Renewing the Mind 101, the course I referred to, is offered at least once a year, but all of their Bible studies are excellent.
I would be interested in knowing what study this is that you have done and are doing again. Thanks so much!
I would really be interested in the study you are doing. I have been on a healing journey for almost 6 years now. Although a Christian since the age of 9 it was not until I was 45 when I heard someone say “K owing there is a God is believing, being willing to get out of the boat is faith.” I realized that that is what I wanted. I wanted. I wanted faith but that would require trust. That day I made the choice to trust God, even if just a little. I started praying “Lord show me who you are and who you created me to be.”
That simple prayer has turned into a hold on to the seat of your pants prayer because he answers.
He has grown my trust in Him and myself. As he continues to lead me I often find myself saying “I trust you Jesus…even in this”
Maxine and Laurie, the information on the course is above your comments.
Hi. I am interested in the study of renewing your mind that you are doing. Thank you!
The renewing the mind study is through the Facebook Group “Tapestry of Beauty.” The
2023 focus will be on Spirit-Full Eating, based on Galatians 5.