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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Transforming Your Life by the Renewing of the Mind

The natural tendency of fallen man is to conform to the world around him. This is why the environment makes a significant difference in what a person will be. It is more likely that a person will be well educated if he comes from parents who are also well educated. It is as likely that a person will adopt the political attitude of his peers. Of course, there are exceptions to conforming but they are the anomalies.

It is not strange that the Apostle Paul would write to the Romans about this conformation. The strange part is that Paul says that there is a way of escape from it. He says we need transformation to renewed minds.

A renewed mind is not a mind that is made like it was at birth. We all like to think of a precious newborn as innocent. However, that child has the same capacity for selfishness as a grown man. If the mind is merely refurbished, it will still have the tendency for the same conforming as it did before. A mind made new again will return to the same state it was in becoming like the world around it.

During my days as a Singles Minister I dealt with a lot of women who were married to men who physically abused them. They divorced these men and started all over with the thought they would never get themselves in this situation again. Often within a few years (or even months) they would get married. Frequently, these new husbands physically abused them.

The problem wasn't that these women did not get a fresh start. The problem was that these women continued to conform to the world around them. They were attracted to men who had characteristics which produced abuse. They conformed to the type of women these men were looking for. I have had women black and blue from a beating ask me why this happened. The answer is simple: if nothing changes; it remains the same. The same things are going to happen if the mind remains the same as it did before.

So, the mind needs to be renewed but not like it was when it was new. It needs to be renewed like the mind was before the fall of man.

Adam's sin brought us the depraved mind. It is a mind that conforms to the world. It is a mind that exhibits selfishness and pride. It is an insatiable mind given to wanting more. This mind must be transformed.

The transformation comes from allowing God to work on it. He will restore it through His word in your life. I am not talking about merely reading the Bible. God transforms the mind by speaking to the person through a number of means.

He speaks through the time you read your Bible. He applies the written word to your life. He makes it a living word because He addresses the needs of the individual whom the original authors never knew. He makes this word become so alive you would swear you were in mind when it was written. And you would be right!

He speaks in your daily life. He speaks to you when you pray. He speaks to you on your way to work. He speaks to you at times you would never expect Him to speak. You "hear" Him speak and your mind is transformed.

The mind Adam had before the fall was one of an unhindered relationship with God. Adam would speak with God and God would speak to Adam. The relationship was Father to son and friend to friend. It was one of clarity for there was no doubt what Adam could or couldn't do in the garden.

The renewing of the mind is that restoration or the relationship before the fall of mankind. It is a continual process that gets sweeter with time as the mind becomes like it was. The person with the renewed mind is able to prove God's will because he has a clear relationship which understands what God seeks in his life. He does not resist God's will even when obedience to God means certain hardship for himself because he knows God's love. He walks through hardships with God continuing to speak to him.

Many Christians would say that their lives are stagnant. This is the result of a mind conforming to the world. The Christian life should get better with each new day. The mind should be renewed into its pre-fallen state each day. The Christian should willingly prove the will of God as the relationship between himself and God.

So, are you being conformed or transformed? Are you getting closer to God or farther away? Believe me, you are moving one way or the other. You just need to know which way you are going and if you are satisfied with things as they are.

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