Do not conform any longer 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. Romans 12:2
One of the subjects we talked was about in Sunday school class was about how Christians think. This class brought out that Christians all to often think as the world does. We have conformed to the manner and customs of the world just by being in the world and have forgotten that we are citizens of heaven.
Romans 12:2 places a demand on Christians to renew their mind as a reasonable worship of God. Please consider that the world suppresses the truth and for this reason we are unaware of the influence the world has on us to think in a worldly manner. This influence also affects the way we interpret the Bible as the bible speaks in spiritual manner not in worldly way. By thinking in a worldly manner we ourselves distort the truth and come to the wrong conclusions. For example, I think that all of us have all heard the words Ė I never said that, but I am finding those words are true about certain doctrines as I mature in Jesus Christ. There are a number of people in the church that trust the teachings of someone they respect so much that they repeat what they said without reproof. Because of this practice several teachings in the Christian community have placed God into a position where he can say Ė ďI didnít say thatĒ or ďthatís not what I intendedĒ. We have to ask this question. Does God have to honor promises that he did not make when we ourselves wonít honor promises we did not make? A prudent man known by God would search the bible to know facts with certainty and be able to test and approve God's good and perfect will.
The Bible tells us that we are in this world but not of it. Jesus brought out the same point several times, not only to his disciples but also to the enemies of the cross. Jesus frequently prepared his disciples for his death telling them that he would be killed and three days later rise again. On one occasion Jesus rebuked Peter.
But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." Mark 8:33
Even though Jesus was foretelling his death and resurrection, Peter had conceived his own plan in his mind regarding what Jesus was going to do. His thoughts did not conform to Godís plan. Had Satan inspired Peterís thoughts to hinder Godís plan? If so is it possible for Satan to impress worldly thoughts into our minds?
Remember when the Pharisees were challenging the authority of Jesus Christ and Jesus responded by saying, I know where I came from and where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. Where I go, you cannot come." Then he said.
"You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. John 8:23
Paul continues that theme when he said,
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2
Renewing our mind to know and approve Godís will affect your life. The outcome is a changed life that turns from the sin we once indulged in to a life that God approves of. Renewing our mind is not easy, as Paul reminds us that he committed the sin he hated and could not do the things God approved of. He said there was a war going on in his mind and the way to overcome a sinful life was to set his mind on what the spirit desired.
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:5
Christians often fail in spiritual warfare because they are bound by worldly thoughts and in the passage below Paul instruct us how meet our trial head on.
I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:2
Paul tells us to take the worldly thoughts and make them conform to Godís will. It will be a battle as you will be like the tree blown back and forth by the wind. As James says the double-minded man is unstable in all he does
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8
We must consider that if we are the children of God then become one by speaking and acting like one. In the same way the citizens of heaven and the kingdom of God need to think and act as heavenly citizens and become a follower of Christ. Regardless of where you live it is easy to recognize some one from another land by the way they react to the normal way we live. Consider this, why is that people can say they are Christians but you know that they are not? The same idea is true of God who demands that everyone that calls on his name must turn from wickedness that sinners indulge in.
Those who do not learn to think as God do not grow as Christians. The reason is simple if one does not eat the manna from heaven for nourishment they will not have the strength to develop. Godís word is Spirit and life and according to Deuteronomy 8:3 man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. God created the heavens and earth by his word and he sustains our life through his word. Therefore, we should consider Godís word is a treasure worth storing in our hearts and mind. His word is his promise and a shelter that preserves the life of its possessor.
It takes time to renew your mind because of all the world has indoctrinated into you mind. Romans 12:1 is a plea for everyone that belongs to God to offer his and her body and mind as a spiritual Sacrifice. Making the effort to memorize scripture leads to pondering the word and connecting one passage with another. When this practice or habit has been developed then you will know Gods will and think as a spiritual man.