How can a man be born (change) when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born! 1
Some time ago I saw a bumper sticker that said “I only do what the voices in my head tell me.” I thought it was hilarious. But then I wondered how many people really do that? Not hear actual voices – but follow faulty thoughts leading them down broken paths of life.
~ “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. 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.” 2
The renewing of the mind doesn’t mean ‘brainwashing’, but just the opposite it means to cleanse the mind from brainwashing it received previously from other sources. It means to look at life from a clean and fresh perspective; one that is able to give an accurate, more precise and true frame of reference based on better interpretation of information. As a simple example, the whole world may view a diamond as something very valuable, but a renewed mind would see it for what it is: a fairly common pebble dressed and polished, having no outstanding significance other than common marketing places on it. If popular opinion says it’s valuable then it becomes valuable, with little inherent value in the stone itself.
The renewing of the mind comes to us through effort as we actively read, search, study, glean and absorb/ integrate into our life the Bible’s direction, information and wisdom. We are able to do this by way of instruction and interpretation provided by the Holy Spirit who “will teach you all things.” 2
As we progress in this we begin to take on what is often called a Biblical-worldview. That is – a mind that views the world, its values, its business by comparing those with the truths and instruction of the Bible. It doesn’t mean being contentious with those of the world’s view and values, it simply means being true to our own new direction of thought and values. Perspectives in our attitudes of mind and habits of thought are transformed.
One great benefit that begins to take root is the “peace that surpasses all understanding” is finding a new home in us, increasingly and rooting deeper.
The world is full of people who, through “self-help” try to change themselves as they think is right, only to snap back the way they were, or even to a worse condition.(Luke 11:24-26)
If I truly want to change my life, I can’t will it to happen no matter how hard I work at it, or wish it to happen. That’s like putting a screen door on a submarine – it works great until the craft submerges.
As ol’ Nicodemus perceived – true, effective and lasting change is possible only through the author of life and redemption, Jesus Christ.
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 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.(2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
- John 3:6
- Romans 12:1,2
- John 14:26