Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect ((Romans 12:2, ESV).
There is a bull’s-eye, and then there’s the center of the bull’s-eye. If you threw a dart that truly hit the mark on “how to change,” and someone else threw another dart, splitting yours right down the middle—that dart, the one pointed directly in the center of the dartboard—is “the renewal of your mind.”
The process of renewing your mind is at the heart of real change.
It’s how you…
Protect your mind. When Jesus was forty days in the wilderness, fasting and praying before setting out on the public portion of His ministry, the Word of God was His protection against temptation. You know this: how He answered every challenge with Scripture. “The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written…'” (Matthew 4:3–4a). “For it is written…” (verse 6). “Again it is written…” (verse 7). Jesus could have made up new words if He liked, and those would’ve worked too. But He wanted us to see how these words, from the Word we’ve already been given, are mighty for our safety. When faced with temptation, you can guard your mind from defeat if you’ve renewed it in the Word of God. It’s also how you . . .
Wash your mind. You alone know the things you’ve seen, the things you’ve heard, the things you’ve looked at and thought about—and how they can still factor into the sins you’re drawn toward. But the Word of God can wash your mind clean. Paul speaks of what Christ has done for us, for His church, how He “gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (Ephesians 5:25b–26). Through continuous exposure to Scripture—reading it, studying it, memorizing it, meditating on it, and sharing it with others—His truth can wash away what’s been infused or allowed into your mind, and in the process can sanctify (make holy) your thoughts. Let the Word cleanse your mind, and . . .
Set your mind. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). Just as you “set” a nail by taking a few strong cracks at it, anchoring it into position so you can drive it down into the wood, the Bible sets your mind in a sure and steady place. Maybe you’re waking up today to a thousand decisions needing to be made. Maybe you can feel the pressure building already, afraid you won’t be up to the task, afraid you’ll cave to old habits of coping. No, you’ll be fine, if you “set your [mind]” on the Word of God.
“Why can’t I get any traction with these problems in my family?” you may be asking. “Why can’t I seem to get ahead and make progress? Why can’t I get these temptations in my rearview mirror once and for all? Why can’t I change?” Take that dart in hand, and aim it squarely at the center of the bull’s-eye. Discipline yourself to pick up the Word, even if you don’t feel like it. Seek it for your protection, your cleansing, and your strengthening in Christ, and it will soon become your desire, then your delight. It will renew your mind every day.
- What other alternatives can seem more urgent, useful, or desirable than the Word?
- How has having a renewed, biblically-thinking mind protected you in recent days?
Father, thank You, thank You, thank You for Your Word. It is such a generous gift, perfect in all it asserts. It is healthy and helpful and nourishing. I need it—for comfort, hope, strength, and wisdom. Forgive me for times I neglect it and act like it’s optional. Bring me into a season of life where I’m digging into Your Word more intently than ever, with deep gratitude. Renew my mind in Your Word this day, in the name of Jesus, amen.
— James MacDonald
For more from James MacDonald and the “Walk in the Word” Bible teaching ministry, visit WalkInTheWord.com.