Renewing Your Mind
Your mind is more important than you may ever imagine! Your life now and life eternally is directly related to what is in your mind and the condition of your mind. Since God created our mindas well as our bodyHe is vitally interested in this aspect of our life and has much to say about it.
God says, Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). In the Hebrew, the heart usually refers to the mind as the center of thinking and reason. It includes the emotions, the will, and the whole inner being. The heart is the depository of all wisdom and the source of whatever affects speech, sight, and conduct (The MacArthur Study Bible). Therefore, when the Hebrew Bible speaks of the heart, we can see that it is very much related to what we call the mind. The heart or mind regularly refers to the center of ones inner life and orientation to God, from which a person does all thinking, feeling, and choosing (ESV Study Bible). How vital the mind or heart is to our life and our relationship with Godfor from it flow the springs of life!
The Mind of the World
God our Creator gives us His view of our natural mind that hasnt been touched by His saving work. He says that the mind set on the flesh is death, whereas the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6). Which one describes you? He continues, The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God (vv. 7-8). This is the mind of the average person, the natural person, the person that all of us have beenuntil God rescues us from this state of condemnation and spiritual death.
The Word of God is quite realistic. It tells us the truth, whether we wish to hear it or not. When God describes our mind that has not been touched by His Word and Spirit, He informs us of how unreliable, how darkened, and how alienated it is from His own view. He says that every one of us comes to the place where we are dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1). In this condition of spiritual death, we indulge the desires of the flesh and the mind, and are under Gods holy wrath because we have gone our own willful way of wrongdoing (vv. 2-3).
God further says that His people are to walk no longer just as the [lost] Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness (4:17-19). We see from this that we fall into a state where God says we have a futile mind and are darkened in our understanding. This describes all of usuntil we come to God for His free forgiveness. Sadly, most of the people around us continue with this corrupted mind and they persist in feeding this mind with all of the influences that hold the mind captive. Paul graphically describes the mind of those in the world. The apostle says that their mind and their conscience are defiled (Titus 1:15). This defiled mind is cultivated and formed through numerous influences of contemporary life.
What Forms this Fallen Mind?
Many aspects of modern life serve to mold and fashion our minds into the fallen ways of the world that is influenced by Satan, our supernatural enemy. These influences of the contemporary scene seem to pervade society. Notice a few of the many:
The Power of Music
Music in a variety of different forms affects nearly all of us. Whether it be modern rock, rap or hip hop, country, heavy metal, disco, pop rock, blues, jazz, punk rock, funk, and many other genres, music has influenced society at large. Young people are addicted to music and most listen to it every day. It serves as a conduit that allows Satan to effectively influence the masses and corrupt the minds of all. Both the perverted lyrics and the worldly beat drag down the mind and spiritually influence it for evil.
The Pervasiveness of TV
This medium is a devastating influence for evil. Some 98 percent of American households have at least one television, and many have two, three or more! The average youth living in the U.S. watches television 25 hours a week and plays computer games an additional seven hours (National Institute on Media and the Family). By age 18, a U.S. youth will have seen 16,000 simulated murders and 200,000 acts of violence (American Psychiatric Association). Reports state that sexual content appeared in 64% of all TV programsincluding 4.4 scenes per hour. Nearly every child is affected! Some 52 percent of children, age 5 to 17, have a TV in their bedroom! (BJK & E Media report, The New York Times). The TV is on 7 hours and 12 minutes a day in the average American home (BJK&E Media report, The New York Times). It is clear that TV is a devastating influence for evil in our lifeone that will affect our thinking, decision-making, and lifestyle. The TV pollutes the mind and influences it for evil.
The Daily Exposure to Radio
This means of communication continues to be popular, especially in the car but also at home. Surveys indicate the number of minutes people listen each day, and the results are between 74 minutes and 132 minutes (The State of the News Media). The world spews forth its poison into unthinking minds, influencing the average person through talk shows, music, sports broadcasts, and other means. The airwaves have become polluted with perverse and evil content that programs the mind of the listeners.
The Menace of Movies
Hollywood has done a perversely effective job of influencing the minds of young and old alike. The Internet Movie Database reports that 1,437,070 titles were released, including 450,711 movies released theatrically, 768,724 TV episodes, 74,659 made for TV movies, 61,234 TV series, 76,062 direct to video movies, and 6,680 live action video games! The Hartford Institute for Religion Research says that fewer than one percent of teens surveyed watched no movies! Some 17 percent of U.S. teens, aged 13 to 17, who say that their religious faith is extremely important in shaping how they live their daily lives report that all or most of the movies and videos they watch are R-rated. Of those teens who say that religious faith is not important, some 48 percent report that most of the movies they watch are R-rated (youthandreligion.org). Nearly every movie that comes from Hollywood is contaminated by vulgarity, immorality, violence, foolishness, and many other sinful attitudes and behaviors. When all of this is watched, people themselves are corrupted in mind.
The Propaganda of Elementary and Secondary Education
At least 96 percent of American elementary and secondary students are attending the humanistic state schools. Therefore, their minds are being influenced by humanistic, secularistic, atheistic, prideful, nationalistic content. Every school of the land is required to teach the lie of evolution. The curricula, teaching staff, and entire atmosphere is worldly and this has disastrous results in affecting the worldview and lifestyle of those who graduate. They may have educated minds but lost souls. It has been said that education produces better educated sinners.
The Brainwashing of University Education
Higher education has a corrupting influence on the average student, especially those who live on campus or around the campus. Various professing Christian studies have been conducted, indicating that between 2/3 and 90 percent of the young people who profess Christianity who go to college will lose their faith by the time they graduate, many by their sophomore year! The evolution, pragmatism, humanism, relativism, hedonism, and moral compromises on campus generally warp the students mind, pervert his morals, harden his heart, dull his spiritual perceptions, and change his personality.
The Pollution of Literature
Books, newspapers, and magazines are produced by those who are of the world. When this literature is read, the reader partakes of these false and frivolous philosophies. This includes books required in elementary school, high school, and the university. It includes the daily newspaper. It includes pornography that is so widespread. It includes the dozens of magazines that are available in the supermarkets. It includes the novels that are so addicting to many women. Literature exerts extensive influence for evil on young people and adults of both genders!
The Contamination of the Computer, the Internet, and Computer Games
Most households now have computers and this allows an avalanche of worldliness and immorality to overwhelm those who are exposed to it. It has been said that 75 percent of Americans use the Internet and spend an average three hours a day online (Brad Stone, “Hi-Tech’s New Day,” Newsweek, April 11, 2005, p. 62). We also read: “[T]hree quarters of all Americans have access to the Internet, spending an average of twelve-and-a-half hours a week online…for those between 12 and 18, usage approaches 100 percent. Though e-mail is still the No. 1 activity, the study concludes that the Net has profoundly changed the way we spend money, keep in touch with our friends and get information (Internet users use the medium as their No. 1 source of news, despite worries about credibility).” (Steven Levy, “No Net? We’d Rather Go Without Food.,” Newsweek, October 11, 2004, p. 14). Today, these statistics would probably be even higher. All of this internet access has huge ramifications in how we think, speak, make choices, and live our lives! Most people are filling their mind with faulty and sinful entertainment and information.
The Defilement of Fashion and Compromised Appearance
The closes that we choose to wear has a profound effect on our heart and life. Scripture says that our clothes can reveal a humble and godly heart or they can manifest a proud and lustful heart. Young people generally adopt the immodest and bizarre clothing styles that their friends are wearing as well as the styles that they see modeled and advertised on the TV and in the magazines. It is extremely difficult for impressionable young people to stand alone in this world and choose to dress in a respectable, modest, humble, holy, and God-fearing manner.
The Effective Influence of Ones Family
Since most families are worldly and are not spiritual, each of the members is influenced wrongly. We know that ones home life and the way he was raised has a profound influence on views and life choices. What parents believe about religion, politics, morality, finances, clothing, food, material things, sports, and entertainment is generally reflected in that of their children. Many of a persons views and much of his lifestyle is cultivated by the pervasiveness of sin and the flesh found in the home (Romans 8:6-8).
The Danger of Friendships
Young people, especially those in their teens, are greatly influenced by friends and acquaintances. Teenagers are more likely to be influenced by their friends than their parents during this period of their lives. Since most young people are dominated by the flesh, have faulty worldviews, and have a worldly lifestyle, we can see the far reaching effect of teen friendships. Rare is the friend who will exert a wholesome influence on a young person. In general, peer pressure is a deadly and evil influence for most people.
Renewing the Mind
We have seen many of the factors that influence the mind away from God and His will. These insidious enemies of our soul virtually guarantee that the mind will be formed with wrong values, evil desires, ungodly philosophies, and false views. However, these enemies of our soul may be overcome by God and the help that He provides! How can we change our heart and mind to make them conformed to what pleases God?
1. Saturate your mind with the Word of God. Since Gods ways are perfect and true, you must determine to read and study the Bible regularly! The blessed man has delight in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night (Psalm 1:2; Joshua 1:8). Jesus said, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). Read, study, memorize, and meditate on Gods Word that you may think like God!
2. Do not be conformed to the world. Since the world has corrupted our mind, it is vital for you to renounce the world and cease to walk in its deceitful ways. Paul says, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is (Romans 12:2) We must keep ourselves unstained by the world (James 1:29), and not have friendship with the world (4:4). Instead of thinking like the fleshly, secularistic, amoral or immoral ways of the world, think Biblically and spiritually!
3. Develop a deep spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. If Jesus has saved you from the world and have escaped the corruption of the world through Him (2 Peter 1:4; 2:20), you must now enjoy, develop, and nurture your continuing relationship with Him. Let Jesus be your very life (Colossians 3:4; 1 John 5:11).
4. Be filled with the Spirit of God. We must be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and through the Spirit we must put to death the deeds of the body that we might live (Romans 8:13). The Spirit will strengthen you inwardly so that you might stand firm against the world (Ephesians 3:16). Allow God, through His Spirit, to empower you in your own spirit.
5. Purpose to set your mind on the things above. In your determination to put away the corruption that you have received through the TV, literature, music, education, and movies, you must now seek God and His will. Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2). You are part of Gods own kingdom on earth, thus you are to seek first this kingdom (Matthew 6:33).
6. Seek the Lord regularly in prayer and praise. When you focus on God in prayer and thanksgiving, your heart will be occupied with spiritual things rather than carnal things. A song puts it well: Turn your eyes on Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. Fix your eyes on Jesus and let your heart be filled with songs for Him (Hebrews 12:2).
7. Think and meditate on the true and holy, not on the false and evil. By many means, your mind has been perverted through dozens of worldly influences, but now you must deliberately fix your attention on the fruit of the spirit and heavenly matters. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things (Philippians 4:8).
8. Cultivate sweet fellowship with people who love God. Determine to find and cultivate a closeness with men and women who walk like Jesus and have fellowship with Jesus. Follow their example and listen to their wisdom. Paul told the young man Timothy: Flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22). We also read, He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm (Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33). Imitate true men and women of God who love the Lord (Hebrews 13:7; 1 Corinthians 11:1).
9. Pursue a Biblically based education. Most of us have received twelve years of humanistic, secular, unspiritual, and worldly education for nine months of every yearand many have received four or six years beyond that! Now try to immerse and saturate yourself in good books, edifying literature, helpful recordings, along with home and group Bible studiesall of which should help to reform your mind according to the perfect ways of the Lord (Hebrews 3:13; 10:24-25).
10. Let your daily life reflect your desire to please God and live for eternity. This means that you should dress differently from the world around youin a way that shows that you want to please the Lord. It means that you should only listen to pure and godly music rather than the perverse and fleshly music of the world. It means that you should guard your use of the internet or even eliminate it completely. It means that you should renounce the worldliness on the TVand probably simply eliminate this means of communication entirely. Beware also of the radio which is another form of Satanic influence. Beware of the books and magazines you read, the places you go, the things you think about, the things that you speak about. Beware of the computer, for the same reason. Begin to wear clothing that fully clothes and hides your body. Beware of your friends and family members who may want to influence you wrongly and make you to become like them.
The Old is Gone and the New Has Come
Remember that your past lifeeven if you were religious and church-goingwas characterized by false ways, perverted views, humanistic perspectives, political and nationalistic propaganda, false religion, worldly pleasures and entertainment. Now you must turn away from all of this and pursuewith even more zeal, determination and devotionthe Word of God, the Will of God, and the Ways of God!
If you have been spiritually born of God, you have laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him (Colossians 3:9-10). Notice that your new self is in the process of being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of God! Furthermore, Paul says that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your mind and are to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Ephesians 4:23-24). From this passage, notice that your new self has been created in the likeness of God and it is in righteousness (not evil) and holiness (not wickedness) of the truth (not falsehood). This is your present perspective, if indeed you have been born of the Spirit of God!
Paul gives us this truth: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are no longer the old person you used to be, one who was far from God and whose mind was corrupted by sinful music, television progrfams, books, computer games and websites, worldly fashions, and false educational content! Your old things are passed away, and new things have comesince you are a new person in Christ!
As you pursue your new life in Christ, and seek to renounce and turn from your old mind that was fashioned by the world and filled with the deeds of the flesh, determine to give your heart and life to a new pursuit: Loving, trusting, obeying, and serving God your Father and Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior! As God works in your mind and heart, you will have a capacity to truly love Him as He wants. Jesus said that the greatest command is to love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark 12:30). How can you really love God with all of your mind if that mind is filled with corruption, evil, fleshliness, and the perversity of sin? As you allow God through His Spirit to renew your mind to true holiness, you will have a capacity to deeply and sincerely love Godthe very God who has loved you and demonstrated this in the giving of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord!