EXTREME MAKEOVER: MIND EDITION
INTRODUCTION: Have you ever seen the show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? They take a needy family and transform their less-than-desirable home into something magnificent. Today I want to talk about not a home makeover but a mind makeover. But, instead of Ty Pennington holding the bullhorn it will be God. He wants to transform your less-than-desirable mind into something magnificent.
1) Why do we need a mind makeover?
• Because our minds are blind. 2nd Cor. 4:4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Satan’s purpose is to try to keep us from comprehending the love of God and the message of salvation through Christ. Therefore, Part of the transformation that needs to take place is to remove the blindness from our minds so we can understand and grasp the gospel.
• Because our thinking is futile. Eph. 4:17-19. Some synonyms for ‘futile’ are useless, pointless, fruitless, unsuccessful, vain, ineffective and wasted. This is what our thinking is apart from the renewal process. ‘…darkened in their understanding’ (blind minds). Their ignorance is due not to an opportunity to understand but because of their hardened hearts. They are no longer sensitive and therefore have made a decision to devote themselves to their depravity. Paul dealt with the same problem in Rome. Romans 1:18-25. Because of their consistent futile thinking, God gave them over to their depraved minds. Our minds need to be renewed because our minds are immoral and our thinking is futile.
• Because we have our minds set on worldly things. Romans 8:5-6. Our minds are set on fulfilling our selfish desires. Without Christ we live according to our sinful nature. Before I surrendered to the Lordship of Christ I did what I wanted to do. My mind wasn’t focused on the will of God it was focused on the will of Derrick. But we need to be aware of the fact that a mind controlled by sin means death while a mind controlled by the Holy Spirit means life. If we are going to live according to the Spirit and have our minds set on the desires of the Holy Spirit then we need to have a mind makeover.
• Because our minds are corrupt. Titus 1:15, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.” Some synonyms for ‘corrupt’ are dishonest, crooked, shady and fraudulent. This is what our minds are apart from being renewed. ‘Pure’ is listed as an antonym or opposite of corrupt. If my mind is pure then it’s clean, wholesome and unpolluted; renewed.
• Because we are God’s enemies. Col. 1:21, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” It was hard for me to accept that I was God’s enemy. I wasn’t purposely trying to undermine what he stood for; I just wasn’t committed to him. However, we need to understand that there are only two sides to be on-for or against, there’s no neutral ground. James 4:4 says that friendship with the world is hatred towards God. My behavior was unholy; evil. Therefore, I was God’s enemy. My mind was conformed to the world, it thought worldly thoughts. Romans 8:7, “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law nor can it do so.” Our minds need to be renewed so we are no longer a hateful, hostile enemy of God.
2) We behave according to what we think.
• Sometimes we think too little of ourselves. What we think determines much. Norman Vincent Peale wrote, ‘You are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.’ The reality is that if I think I’m a loser, I will convince myself that I’m a loser. The reality is that I’m not, but my mind has convinced myself that I am and therefore, that is my mind’s reality. And because of that, my behavior will be conducive to my belief. I can have someone tell me something special they see in me but if in my mind I’m something else that will be the defining factor to what I believe about myself. I can read the word of God that says I’m loved by Him but if I don’t feel loved then my heart and mind will overrule the word of God. When my thoughts are self-abasing it shows how much I need a mind makeover.
• Sometimes we think too much of ourselves. Romans 12:3a, “Do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought.” Do not think you can do anything you want without seeking God’s will. Do not think you know everything and you don’t need to find answers from God. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to not lean on our own understanding. Don’t go by what you think as if what you think is undeniably the way to go. Don’t think of yourself that highly. Rather be humble and do as the beginning of the verse says and trust in the Lord. 1st Cor. 10:12, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.” Don’t think you are above temptation. Don’t think you can walk around with your guard down. Don’t test God by putting yourself in harm’s way. Don’t look down on others who are stumbling as if you’re immune or impenetrable. Don’t go around thinking that you’re invincible. Don’t think that you can take on the world all by yourself. If I’m dealing with pride, overconfidence, self-sufficiency or arrogance it shows how much I need a mind makeover.
• We need to use sober judgment. Romans 12:3b, “but rather think of yourselves with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has given you.” Instead of thinking too highly of ourselves we need to use sober judgment. We need to see ourselves in the correct light; not too low, not too high. And we need to realize that some people’s faith may not be as strong as ours and we need to remember that whatever faith we have comes from God. Therefore we have no reason to boast of our level of faith or accomplishments. We are thinking soberly when we humbly realize that but for the grace of God there go I. Having sober judgment is part of having a renewed mind.
• Proverbs. 23:7a, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (KJV). If we think angry thoughts, we’re going to be angry people. If we think melancholy thoughts, we’re going to be depressed. If we think positive thoughts, we will be happy, joyous and content. Robert A. Fryling, in his article titled, A Renewed Mind: The Practice of Humble Thought, said, “A blessed person is one who is delighted and immersed in the teachings of the Lord. Such a person is consciously choosing to have a right relationship with God and consequently exhibits a life of fruitfulness and spiritual prosperity. We use our minds to choose whom we follow, what we read, whose advice we accept, whose lifestyles we emulate. We choose with our minds whether to know God’s teachings and whether to obey them. What we think directly affects what we feel and what we do. Practically speaking, I find that paying attention to what I am thinking about in my unscripted moments is often revealing as to what is important to me. Listening to my unguarded thoughts is a valuable diagnostic practice to discern what is going on inside of me. When my waking moments are focused on how others view me or on my negative thoughts about them, I am not being renewed. I am living in conformity to the world’s values of status and power. By way of contrast, Paul encourages the Philippian believers to think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable and worthy of praise (Phil 4:8). This is not just positive thinking or temperamental upbeatness, but a genuine honoring of God and others. It is characteristic of a renewed mind that is not conformed to the world.”
3) This means war! In Romans 7, Paul highlights the spiritual battle that goes on within our minds. Romans 7:21-25. There is a war waged against our minds and we need to be ready to fight. What can we do to win the battle of the mind?
• We need to prepare for action. 1 Pet 1:13-16. We need to prepare our minds for action. Peter uses words here like ‘self-control’ and ‘obedient’. The enemy’s desire is to have us out of control, doing things under compulsion and being disobedient. He wants us to conform to our old ways instead of being transformed by the renewing of our mind. Peter said we need to set our hope fully on grace. Satan’s plan is also to undermine our faith and hope. He wants to put us in a mode of thinking that God’s grace won’t cover us when Christ is revealed. Thinking this way debilitates us and can take the fight right out of us. We need to be prepared for his actions so we can fight and win. We need to commit to holiness.
• We need to be on guard. Romans 16:17-18. We need to guard our minds against those who would be trying to deceive and mislead us. Vance Havner said, “Our defeat or victory begins with what we think, and if we guard our thoughts we shall not have much trouble anywhere else along the line.” 2nd Cor. 11:2-4. We need to not let our guard down because we can be led away from Christ if we’re not careful. Phil. 4:7 says that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds.
• We need to take our thoughts captive. 2 Cor. 10:5, “We demolish strongholds and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” To take captive means to imprison or confine; put them in a cage. It’s a picture of a wrangler chasing a steer and throwing a lasso around him and tying him up and gaining control of it. Like that steer, our thoughts can run wild and be out of control. All it takes sometimes is one negative thought and it’s off to the races. And when that happens, rarely are we going to be able to see things in the proper perspective. We’ll think the worst case scenario every time. Therefore, we need to be able to capture those thoughts and turn them over to Christ. But how? One way is to exchange negative thoughts with positive ones. If you’re focused on something negative, exchange it for something positive. If you’re thinking ill of someone, force yourself to think of something positive about that person. If you’re worried or anxious about something remember what Jesus talked about in Matthew 6 about considering the birds of the air that neither sow nor reap yet God feeds them. Or consider the lilies of the field that neither labor nor spin yet God clothes them more beautifully than King Solomon. All the while remembering that God cares and loves us much more than birds or flowers. Jesus highlighted everyday things and made spiritual applications. Part of captivating our thoughts includes making spiritual applications from everyday experiences. (Fatherhood/Shaun). When we are able to take life situations and make spiritual applications to them we are captivating our thoughts for Christ. We need to captivate our thoughts because our mind is fertile ground. What kinds of seeds are we planting there? What we allow ourselves to see or hear are all seeds. What will take root, germinate and grow in our mind? What kinds of thoughts are we cultivating? What kind of fruit will we be producing? What we allow ourselves to take in greatly effects our thoughts. The thoughts that don’t renew our mind will destroy it. Warren Wiersbe said, “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.”
4) How do we renew the mind?
• Through examination. Psalm 26:2, “Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” This will not happen apart from humility. How will we accept the fact that we need a mind makeover apart from humility? Sometimes we might think our minds are okay when they’re not. We shouldn’t judge ourselves but rather humbly seek the Lord to have him reveal the status of my thoughts. If I’m willing to deal with what He reveals then I can have a renewed mind. Jeremiah 17:9-10. We think we can follow our heart and instincts and we convince ourselves that what our mind is telling us is accurate and trustworthy but we need to realize that our hearts and minds can be deceived. We need to allow God to examine us and let his mind direct our thoughts. We need his thoughts to become our thoughts and his ways our ways. We need to allow the Spirit of God and the word of God and the people of God to point out, convict and challenge us in the areas in which we need a makeover of the mind. If we humbly allow the examination process to occur then we can experience an extreme mind makeover.
• We need to stop conforming. Rom. 12:2a “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” There was a mother peeling vegetables for a salad when her daughter, home from college, casually mentioned she was going to a questionable movie that evening. The mother suddenly picked up a handful of garbage and threw it in the salad. “Mother!” said the shocked girl. “Why are you putting garbage in the salad?” “Well,” replied the mother, “I figured that if you didn’t mind garbage in your mind, you certainly wouldn’t care if there’s a little in your stomach.” When we continue to conform to the pattern of the world we shouldn’t expect to be transformed. ‘Suppose you have a sponge and a pitcher of Pepsi. If you dip your sponge in the Pepsi and squeeze it, what’s going to come out? 7-Up? No, when you squeeze a sponge soaked in Pepsi, Pepsi is going to come out. If you saturate your mind with questionable music, videos, magazines etc. do you think that holiness, happiness and godliness will flow out? Isaiah 32:6a, “For the fool speaks folly, his mind is busy with evil: he practices ungodliness and spreads error concerning the Lord.” If my mind is busy with evil, I am going to be practicing ungodliness. If I am going to stop conforming then I need to not allow my mind to dwell on the things of the flesh. Before it’s an act it’s a thought. When Ananias lied about how much he received for the land he sold Peter said to him, “What made you think of doing such a thing.” If my thoughts are in plotting and planning how I can fulfill my sinful desires then my mind will continue to be conformed to the pattern of this world.
• We need to start transforming. Romans 12:2b, “But be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The word ‘transform’ comes from the Greek word ‘metamorphoo’ which is where we get the word ‘metamorphosis’. It’s used to describe a change of form like when a caterpillar changes into a butterfly. And it says, ‘be transformed’. It doesn’t say ‘transform yourselves’. The transformation process is the work of God. However, we are the ones who need to allow God to transform our minds. We have to put in the effort to not conform and seek after the things that will transform but the ability to have a renewed mind comes from the matchless grace of God enabling the transformation to occur. The last part of verse two shows me the great benefit in having a renewed mind. If I’m going to be able to test and approve of God’s will then my mind needs to be transformed. Eph. 4:22-25. The attitude of my mind needs to be new. The old attitude is deceit and selfishness. The new attitude needs to be speaking truthfully and to think of and share with others. This is part of the process of my mind makeover. Also, when we face a bad situation we will have the tendency to allow our mind to go places that will frustrate us even more. Having a conformed to the world mind assumes disaster. A transformed to the Lord mind realizes that he’s in control and I don’t have to worry, even if the outcome is bad. Having a renewed mind doesn’t pretend the situation isn’t real; it takes a different approach to the situation by seeing things in a proper perspective. A transformed mind doesn’t change the situation; it changes our reaction and outlook to the situation.
• We need to set our minds on things above. Col. 3:2, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Paul goes on to list some of the earthly things. He includes such things as sexual immorality, greed, rage, malice, filthy language and lying. Then he goes on to state the heavenly things our minds should be set on. Things like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, forgiveness, love, peace, thankfulness and the Word of Christ. If my mind and heart are set on these things then I will have a renewed mind. Paul said in Phil. 4:8, that we need to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. Brian Bill commented on this verse saying, “God has packed a lot of good into this world and we need to fill our minds with that which is praiseworthy. Be deliberate about what you allow yourself to think about. Just as good food is necessary for our body’s health, good thoughts are necessary for spiritual health.” If I am going to have an extreme mind makeover then I need to set my mind on heavenly things.
• We need to have a Christ-like mind. Matt. 16:21-23. At that time Peter did not have in mind the things of God but the things of men. The things Peter had in mind were: worry (Peter was worried about what Jesus’ death was going to mean for him), fear (Peter was afraid of what this turn of events was going to entail, pride (Peter didn’t think things should go this way, he had a better plan) and selfishness (Peter wasn’t as concerned about Jesus’ welfare as he was his own). Peter wasn’t seeing beyond the situation to understand the divine purpose. To have in mind the things of God involves fighting against the pride, worry, fear, doubt and selfishness to understand and accomplish the greater good. 1st Cor. 2:16, “For who has known the mind of the Lord that we may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” Who are we in our sinful, finite minds to think that we know enough, are smart enough, are wise enough to give Jesus instruction? God’s thoughts are above our thoughts. But, as we go through our mind makeover process, God allows us to comprehend more of His way of thinking and we adopt His mindset. The goal of our renewed mind is to become like Christ. To have a renewed mind is to have the mind of Jesus. When we look at the thoughts, words and actions of Jesus we see what a perfect mind looks like. So, when our thoughts match his, we’re experiencing an extreme mind makeover.
• We need to fix God’s word in our minds. In Deut. 11:18 God told the Israelites to ‘fix his words in their hearts and minds’. We need to train the brain to believe God’s truth over Satan’s lies. God’s truth needs to be the driving force behind our emotions and behaviors. Theophan the Recluse said, “Descend with the mind into the heart.” This implies allowing the truth planted in our minds to be the driving force behind the feelings and emotions of our heart. 2nd Peter 3:1, “Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.” D. L. Moody said, “The Scriptures were not given for our information, but for our transformation.” We have the Word of God to purposely motivate us toward moral thinking in order to renew our minds. I’ve shared plenty of scriptures both today and last week to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. We need to commit to studying and applying the word of God in order to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.
CONCLUSION: “She dressed in rags, lived in a tenement house amid mounds of garbage, and spent much of her time rummaging through trash cans. The local newspaper picked up her story after the woman who was known in her neighborhood as “Garbage Mary” had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Astonishingly, in her filthy apartment police found stock certificates and bankbooks indicating she was worth at least a million dollars.” This woman’s polluted mind caused her to live in filth rather than reap the benefits of being a millionaire. So it is with us. When we pollute our minds with thoughts of lust, envy, jealousy, greed or hatred we choose to live in filth when all along we could be living like millionaires. Just as this woman’s situation was a tragic one, we need to understand what a tragedy it is to deprive ourselves of the riches of a renewed mind. Are you willing to stop conforming and start transforming? Let’s allow God to perform an extreme mind makeover on us, starting today.