“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” -Romans12:2
Last Friday night was one of the best nights of my life. Other than the thought of meeting up with special siblings in Christ, I knew I will be seeing trees and trees on the mountains so the idea of going to Antipolo with my Saturday-bible-study-group kept me literally cheerful the whole day.
It was already late when we arrived at the place, so after having our fill of fish (OR chicken), we spent the night meditating on God’s Word and lifting all our personal and ministry concerns to Him in prayer.
The following day, I woke up excited to hear God’s Word through my personal study, and wait for sunrise. So I had my quiet time. I sat at a nicely carved bench with my journal and bible. The place is so quiet that you cannot hear anything but the sound of soft wind blowing and birds chirping.
I started by whispering a prayer; but for the next 15mins of reading God’s Word, I realized nothing was really getting in. All that I was thinking about were: facebooking, blogging, the “ministry” we came for at the mountain to pray about, the trees, and a lot of other things. The place around me was so quiet but the noise was inside my mind. I was hearing my thoughts. And I realized how polluted my mind was. I got excited to hear His voice early in the morning but my mind was filled with a lot of unnecessary things that it could not welcome God’s Word.
That morning, I set to study Psalm19. But before I could do that, I thought God wanted me to learn (and apply) something else: Renewing of Mind! Romans12:2!
I. The Command: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” –Romans12:2a
When we put our trust to God, as John Piper would say, our “bondage to the world and its overpowering lure is broken”. As we died with Him, and live with Him, we have been set apart from the world and became a “new creation”. That is justification. I think verse2a is talking about sanctification. Sanctification, now, is the process of setting us apart from this world, in conforming us in the image of Christ.
In my personal study, this is how we renew our minds:
1.Do not think like how the world thinks
Whenever I get reminded of the command in Romans12, I always take the verse to mean: studying God’s Word and figuring what He desires so that I would know what He wants for me and where He is leading me. That is true. But I just learned that renewing one’s mind, first and foremost means cleaning our minds by emptying it from all unnecessary thoughts. Everything that is not of Him.
2. Enough of the selfish thoughts
The more we push our dreams and desires to God, without wearing an attitude of submission for His will, is like a “chase after the wind”. It is “meaningless” as described in the book of Ecclesiastes. I just thought that “insisting” to God without considering what He really wants, leaves no room in our hearts for His voice.
Yes, we can insist. In fact the bible teaches us to pray fervently, without ceasing. But how do we know His will, if all we choose to listen to are our voices?
3. “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. Meditate on God’s word.
The Word of God brings transformation. We renew our minds by occupying it with Jesus Christ; and that results to a transformation. It is Christ who transforms us.
Romans12:2 tells us two things: we either conform to the world or be transformed by the Word. First, we empty our hearts and minds by asking God to cleanse us from everything that is not of Him; and then we ask Him to fill us with the fullness of Him. This reminds me of a verse: “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”-Matthew5:8.
II. The promise: “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– His good, pleasing and perfect will” -Romans12:2b
Less of this world, gives more room for His Word. Focusing not on ourselves, increases the volume of His voice. Then we will be able to hear clearly what He is speaking to us.