Renew the Mind
by Tom Brown
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. —Is. 55:8
Thoughts precede actions. Every deed came forth from a thought. People often say, "I don’t know what got into me to do that." They did that because a thought got into them. The thought may have been brooding for a long time, but finally the seed of thought produced a harvest of action. You might as well accept the fact that all actions are preceded by thoughts.
Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) says, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he". The word "thinketh" is a continual verb. It means that a person becomes what he constantly thinks about. Proverbs 4:23 reaffirms this, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the well spring of life." Put in contemporary terms, "Your mind is the manufacturing center of your life. It produces your life." Jesus is even more pointed: "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him" (Matt. 12:35).
The Mind is a Computer
Your mind is like a computer—it stores information. A computer can only perform functions according to the software that is in it. The mind is the hard drive. The software is the information your mind has received and accepted. Just as there are viruses in the computer world, there are viruses of the mind. Viruses are contracted when people copy unauthorized software.
Listen, when you receive unauthorized knowledge from people, you are copying unauthorized software and may receive viruses from them. This will cause your mind to malfunction. The only hope is to clean your mind from these diseases that others have given you. No one is authorized to impart knowledge to you. The only authorized software is "Word Perfect—the Bible." This will make your mind perfect. The Bible is the only authorized software available.
This is why God says, "My thoughts are not your thoughts." God shows us that He is the only One authorized to change your mind. He is the only One Who can brain wash you—clean your mind from filth.
God says, "Without My thoughts, you will continue on your ways." We want to follow God’s ways, not our own. This can only be done by receiving God’s thoughts. His thoughts are in the Bible.
The Bible is God’s Thoughts
No one knows the thoughts of a man, except the man himself. You cannot read minds. There is only one way to find out what a person is thinking, and that is to listen to what he says. Words reveal the thoughts of a person.
1 Corinthians 2:11 says, "No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." The Bible was produced when "men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet. 1:21). The Bible is a Spirit-produced book. "All Scripture is God-breathed" (2 Tim. 3:16). God breathed on the Bible. Have you copied on the computer of your mind this wonderful software?
Renewed Minds Produces Transformed People
"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." (Romans 12:2)
One translation of this verse says, "Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold" (Phi). Squeezing describes perfectly what the world is trying to do to you. It’s trying to squeeze the life of God out of you. Don’t let it.
God put His divine nature and power inside your spirit. Your spirit is the new person created like God. Your spirit has all the divine attributes to radically change your life. But the world wants you to act like them—sinful, sick, defeated, and poor!
Many Christians act like the world because their minds have never been renewed with the Word of God. Worldliness is more than living an immoral lifestyle. It is living like the world. The world is powerless. God wants believers to live in the power of God.
God wants "transformed" believers. "Be transformed by the renewing of the mind." The word "transformed" is the same word that is used in the "transfiguration" of Christ. The Greek word is metamorphoo. It is where we get our modern word "metamorphosis."
A metamorphosis is a complete transformation, much like a caterpillar turning into a beautiful butterfly. You can’t tell by looking at a butterfly that it once was a creepy, ugly caterpillar. This is the way it should be with us. We should not resemble the ugly world. We are set apart. We are a "peculiar" people. The only way to change is by renewing our minds.
We are to be "transformed into [Christ] likeness" (2 Cor. 3:18). A believer thinks he is transformed if he is a nice moral person. Even sinners can act moral. We are called to be radically changed so that we resemble Christ in every way.
When confronted with people with diseases, Jesus stretched forth his hands and healed them. When facing a storm, He rebuked it, and the storm became calm. When demons used the vocal chords of the possessed to shout blasphemies at Christ, Jesus simply told demons to shut up and come out, and they did.
This is the way you should act. You will have to be transformed to act this way. The only way to change is to renew your mind.
I believe that the Church is partially responsible for the rise in cults in our day. Many of the people who have joined cults were once part of the Christian religion, but they did not see transformed people in the Church. Instead, they saw hypocrites. They saw the Church like a country club. It’s time that we get serious, and be radically changed and be like Christ. But to do this we have to get rid of a lot of religious traditions.
Those who work to help get people out of the cults talk about the need to deprogram those in the cults. Well, not only do those in the cults need to be deprogrammed, but so does everyone else.
The world and religion has given you a lot of wrong information about life that you need to erase. When you work on a computer and program new information, the computer will ask, "Do you want to delete?" You answer either yes or no. When you answer yes, it asks, "Are you sure?"
When you are confronted with the truth of God Word, God’s Spirit will ask you about the old program that you received from the world, "Do you want to delete?" Answer, "Yes!" But the devil comes and asks, "Are you sure?" He wants you to keep the old program of the world.
What wrong information do you need to delete? Everything that does not line up with the Word of God needs to be deleted. For example, the world says, "If it feels good do it." Yet, the Bible says, "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell" (Matt. 5:29). You need to delete the old and replace it with the new program of God’s Word.
The world says, "If you’re sick, take two aspirins and call the doctor." The Bible says, "I am the Lord, who heals you" (Ex. 15:26). God’s Word is medicine to all your flesh (Prov. 4:22).
The world teaches, "If someone hurts you, then don’t get mad—get even." However the Bible says, "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath" (Rom. 12:19). Turn the other cheek (Matt. 5:39).
The world convinces people, "If you are in financial straits, then worry." God’s Word teaches different, "So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…But seek first his [God’s] kingdom, and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matt. 6:31, 33).
The world and sometimes religion says, "You’ll be saved if your good deeds out weigh your bad deeds." But God’s Word says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ep. 2:8-9).
There are many other philosophies that the world has adopted which you need to delete from your hard drive—your mind!
Three Sources of Thoughts
All thoughts come from one of three sources: God, the five senses, or the devil. God’s thoughts are recorded in the Bible. When you think on that book, then your thoughts come from God. This is the only sure way of knowing whether the information you have received is truthful. "Let God be true, and every man a liar" (Rom. 3:4).
The second source of thoughts come from your five senses. How do you know whether something is cold or hot, dark or bright, sweet or sour, loud or soft? You know it by your five senses. Normally, the five senses do not mislead you. Sometimes, though, the five senses get in the way of trusting God.
This is why the Bible says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" (Pro. 3:5). Your own understanding may bring fear, worry, anger, and all kinds of ungodly emotions. After all, if there is no money in the bank, it seems logical to worry.
Your senses may tell you what is factual, but not truthful. Facts can change; God’s Word cannot. God’s Word will read the same today as it will a thousand years from now. God’s Word still says, "My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). That’s a Scripture that you can bank on.
Another example of the five senses contradicting God’s Word is in the area of sickness and health. You may have a debilitating sickness, and therefore, believe that it is permanent. God’s Word tells you differently. Not only does God’s Word tell you that you can be healed, but from God’s perspective, He does not even see you sick. He sees you well. The Bible says that you are already healed by the stripes of Jesus (1 Pet. 2:24).
You may wonder how you can believe this when your five senses tell you differently. This is faith. "We live by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). Sight is one of the five sense. Sight represents the senses. You cannot live by faith and go by the senses at the same time. You must choose either faith or sight. Abraham had to make this choice:
Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (Rom. 4:19-21)
Notice that faith does "face the fact". Faith does not deny the existence of facts; it only affirms the preeminence of God’s Word. God’s Word overrules any facts.
I like to use the word F.A.C.T. as an acronym for False Appearance Contradicting Truth. Facts often do contradict truth. Facts relate to situations and circumstances; truth relates to God’s Word. Jesus prayed, "Thy word is truth" (Jn. 17:17, KJV). God’s Word is truth. It is not fact. Problems are facts. Facts can change. They change when we apply God’s Truth, His Word, to the circumstances.
Knowledge based on the five senses is called by many "sense knowledge." I like that term. Many try to have faith based on sense knowledge. You can’t base your faith on sense knowledge. Paul writes, "However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.'— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit" (1 Cor. 2:9-10).
The mind that bases its knowledge on what it has seen or heard can never conceive what good things God has given to the child of God. You can only know what God has given you if the Spirit reveals it to you. "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us" (1 Cor. 2:12).
This kind of knowledge is "revelation knowledge." It is knowledge that is supernaturally revealed to you by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit takes the Scriptures that He inspired and then reveals them to you. You will receive knowledge that your senses may not agree is true. But your senses cannot be trusted in spiritual matters. God’s Word can be trusted!
It is important to base your spiritual life on "revelation knowledge" instead of "sense knowledge." This is especially true when it comes to understanding the devil and demons. You can’t see them, so how do you know they are real? You know it by the Scriptures.
People often say, "I don’t believe in the devil. I haven’t seen him." Ironically, in the same breath they say, "I believe in God." Yet, they haven’t seen Him! You believe in God the same way you accept the existence of the devil, and that is through revelation knowledge. This kind of knowledge is the only bases for understanding the devil and his kingdom.
Finally, the third source of thoughts is from Satan. The devil works on the mind. Paul warns about Satan’s operations in the mind:
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (2 Cor. 11:3)
This is what happened many people who have fallen away from God. Many of them once had a "sincere and pure devotion to Christ" until they got caught up with the world. Satan works to lead your mind away from Christ and His Word. He has done this to many people who started good in their walk with God. Two biblical examples are Judas and Ananias.
The worse act recorded in the Bible is when Judas betrayed Christ. What made him do such a terrible thing? John 13:2 (KJV) tells us what caused him to do it: "the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him." Betrayal began in Judas’s heart and mind. The Bible says that the devil put the thought in his mind.
This is what happened to Ananias. "Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit?" (Acts 5:3). Ananias’s lie was produced by Satan filling his heart with a lie. The thought-seed planted by Satan produced the harvest-action of lying. Peter asked, "How is it that Satan has so filled your heart?" The question is rhetorical. The answer is obvious. How has Satan filled anyone’s mind? By them refusing to renew it.
Any part of the mind which is not renewed will become fertile ground for Satan to plant his satanic thoughts. Those areas are the battleground for Satan. He will fight you there. And you don’t stand a chance against him, until you renew that part of your mind.
You will not be prepared to battle Satan with a mind that is not renewed. The renewed mind has a "NO TRESSPASSING" sign for Satan. He can’t trespass on a renewed mind. Conversely, a mind which is not renewed becomes an open door for the devil.
The point is simple: We cannot think that we are going to free people from Satan, the flesh and the world without using the Word of God.
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