Changing Your Mind

I got a new book in the mail last week. No, it isn’t a page turning suspense thriller, a fantasy novel or even a spiritual devotional. It’s a cookbook. Specifically, one targeting heart-healthy living. It’s not that anyone is particularly interested in changing the numbers on the bathroom scale or altering appearance in our household, but upping our activity level and being more careful about what we eat is never a bad idea. And besides, everyone knows that when you make changes that affect your inside (ie lowering cholesterol and increasing heart health), the change on the outside (ie appearance, stamina etc) will take care of themselves.

Isn’t that the way it is with our spiritual health too? If you’ve been a Christian very long, you recognize that some things in your life are probably different. But at the same time, haven’t you also had relapses into your old patterns? Haven’t you made some stupid decisions that you knew were not in keeping with your new identity? Don’t you still sometimes struggle with the same thought patterns from years ago?

That’s because lasting change comes from the inside out. If we major only on making changes in behavior… like stopping bad habits or starting good ones,  then most likely, the alterations won’t last long. Real change – whether physical, spiritual or emotional – begins first with a change of mind. I think that’s probably what Paul was getting at in Ephesians 4:22-24. He told the new Christians to to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

The key to walking in concert with God and benefiting from the transformation He made in your spirit when you became a follower of Jesus is to be “made new in the attitude of your mind.” That’s because how you think influences how you act. If you allow your mind to dwell on unrighteousness, sin and disobedience, it won’t be long until your feet devise a way to indulge in your fantasies. But the good news that Paul points out is that the principle of renewal can work FOR you as well. That is, when you think rightly, you’ll also begin to act rightly.

In 2 Corinthians 4:16, Paul writes, “we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day.”
The answer to how this happens is revealed in verse 18 “Because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” Alternation in perspective comes through filling your mind with the unseen truths of eternity that eventually push out the temporary longings of this world.

And  in Romans 12:2, Paul commands: “Do not conform to 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, pleasing and perfect will.”
The corollary between thinking and action is unmistakable. When you renew your mind with truth, the will and way of God becomes clear.

So if you want lasting transformation, take a tip from my new cookbook and strive for spiritual health by focusing on the inside. Begin to actively take notice of where your mind rests. Strain out the thoughts that aren’t in keeping with the truth of God’s Word. And in their place, fold into your life a steady diet of right thinking, letting Scripture tenderize our hearts and “manifest through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him” (2 Cor. 2:14)

19 thoughts on “Changing Your Mind

  1. This post is so true. I think that the journey of changing from the inside out that involves picking up our cross daily and following Him. Thanks for sharing on the #LMMLinkup this past week.

  2. Straining our thoughts – what an awesome illustration! You’re right, it’s imperative to set our minds, and hearts, right to see external results of being transformed by His glory and grace!

  3. Thank you for this great reminder, to keep our focus on Christ, and to let Him bring inner changes to us! This outer body of mine is definitely wasting away! 🙂 But what hope He brings us to know that our inner man can be renewed in Jesus. And, I like your thoughts that speak to even the outer man showing the changes that Jesus brings when He renews the inner man! Blessings to you!

  4. Great verses, we often go back to those old ways of thinking. I have to renew my mind all the time. well, Jesus does.

  5. You are so right that “lasting change comes from the inside out.” It’s so easy to fall back into old patterns, but God will help us. May He help us as we focus on Him and spend time in His word. Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #Glimpses.

    1. It’s also easy to become discouraged when we don’t see changing happening as fast as we’d like it to happen. It’s then that we need to remember to keep pressing on, knowing that His mercies are new every morning!

  6. I’ve been drawn to that verse of Paul’s teaching us that our flesh may be wasting away but our spirit is renewing more every day, when we draw closer to Him. No matter where we are, what our physical body is going through, we are always growing beautifully within when turned to Him. Great post!

    1. It’s so easy to look in the mirror and see only that which is ‘wasting away’ and forget that when we lean toward Jesus and yield to Him, we are growing more beautiful! Thanks Lynn!

  7. Thanks for sharing, Karen.

    Your writing is always fresh, timely and scripturally on point.

    “Changing Your Mind” was no different. It was exactly what I needed to hear at the right time.

    Keep ministering exactly as the Lord leads you. God bless!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write this encouraging comment. It’s always wonderful to know that the Holy Spirit used these posts to edify and guide! God bless you too!

  8. I love the verse that tells us to take every thought captive. I think if we continue to allow our minds to stray, then it will be harder and harder to have lasting change. Thanks for bringing awareness to this topic!

    1. That’s a great verse too. I think most believers need to be more diligent about policing our thoughts and making sure they line up with scripture. Thanks for stopping by!

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