Summary: Allowing the Spirit to transform one’s mind, enables the Spirit to shape one’s life into God’s image
SOUND INVESTMENTS FOR THE NEW YEAR
JANUARY 9, 2005
Romans 12:1-8 “Renewing Your Mind—Setting It On Higher Values”
We are rich—rich beyond our comprehension and our imaginations! We may not be rich financially speaking, but we certainly are spiritually speaking. We are a new creation and everything that is old has passed away. We have a new, living relationship with God. We have been filled with the Holy Spirit, and we have a new purpose—a meaningful reason—for living. Truly, we are rich!
If a person from outside the church were to look at us, he or she probably would have difficulty believing that we are rich. We don’t act like it. Nicky Gumble, the author of the ALPHA Course, tells of a London street woman who died. Upon her death it was discovered that she was a very rich woman, and the daughter of a prominent family. She couldn’t accept her wealth and chose to live on the streets.
We face the challenge of accepting who we are in Christ and living in that reality. How do we change? How does the Holy Spirit move within us to mold and shape us into the people God wants us to be. One important process is by investing and renewing our minds.
THE PROCESS OF CHANGE
According to the prophet Ezekiel, God gives us a new heart. Ezekiel writes, “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” This is the first step of the change process in our lives.
Many people move directly from a new heart to behavior modification. They try hard to act like they think Christians should act. This is, at times, a valid way of change, but for a Christian it often means that he or she ends up trying hard to be something different.
Cognitive change is another way of change. We change our actions because we believe something different. Changes can be seen when parents begin to praise their children for the things they do well rather than criticize them for things they do wrong.
Change comes for the Christian when he or she begins to believe what the Bible says about who Christians are, who God is, and how God moves in our lives and in the world.
We need to ask ourselves how we begin to think differently. How and why do Christians think differently than other people?
Paul encourages his Colossian readers to, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” We can do this through Bible Study and prayer, inspirational reading, good music, etc. To his readers in Philippi Paul writes that they should set their minds on what is commendable and good.
In Galatians, Paul encourages his readers to be led by the Spirit and to allow the Spirit to bear fruit in their lives, love joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Christians literally march to the beat of a different drummer. They occupy themselves—especially their minds—one spiritual things, higher things. Putting good things into their minds eventually bears fruit in their lives and positive changes are made.
Reading good books and having times for personal devotions and prayers in only one way that Christians can invest in their minds. Another way is through fellowship. Christians were never meant to be hermits. The people of God in the Scriptures were always people who were part of a community.
The writer of Hebrews encourages his readers not to give up meeting together, because he understood that Christians need community. One way we begin to think and act differently is to associate with other people of faith.
¨ We gather with people who struggle with the same struggles that we have. We learn from each other and help each other.
¨ Prayer support, verbal encouragement and physical presents are important elements that enable us to renew our minds and live on higher values.
There is a saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” It is true that this world is filled with a lot of garbage. It takes effort and determination to set our minds on good things and make positive investments to our mental and spiritual health.
Our investments, however, produce great dividends. We are changed into God’s image, enjoy the riches that are ours and influence the people around us in a positive manner.