Terry R. Baughman
“Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (Ephesians 4:23–24 NLT).
Spiritual renewal is born in the Spirit. A New Birth experience is more than a singular occasion in time but a radical change that will affect a person for all of life and eternity. When we are renewed in the Spirit there is not only a reshaping of our spiritual being, but also a renewal in our natural thinking. An alteration in our worldview is accomplished. In Paul's letter to the Romans he instructed them to become a personal living sacrifice and to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. (See Romans 12:1–2.) The two are connected. When we present ourselves to God completely we abandon our own desires and dreams and begin to live in a way that becomes a pleasing sacrifice to God.
Paul also declared our bodies to be a “temple of the Holy Spirit.” We are owned by God and filled with His holy presence. He reminded us that we were purchased by God and that all should, “Glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). The New Living Translation says, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2 NLT). This is not a passive possession by God, an involuntary submission, but we are actively giving ourselves to Him and must surrender our thoughts and our actions to Him daily. Since the Word of God commands it, apparently it is within our power and ability to participate in the process.
So how does one renew the mind?
In the New Living Translation (above) the “renewing of your mind” was expressed as the renewing of “your thoughts and attitudes.” We can control these things, though often some will claim they cannot. There is a willful discipline in directing our thoughts and restraining our attitudes to embrace and include those which are God honoring. We are to take control of our minds, “Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Again, Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). To become more like Jesus we must allow His thoughts to become our own. As we do we will take on His attributes, His holiness, and become more like Him. In the renewing of the mind we can, “Put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
A spiritual renewal must include a change in our thinking and our attitudes. Naturally, we are influenced by the culture and the society at large. We often make allowances for things that are approved by those around us. However, when we begin to take on the new mind of the Spirit we begin to recognize those things that are not like Christ. Attitudes that are contrary to the teaching of Scripture and a worldview that approves of sin can no longer be justified. Repentance of sin and renewal in the Spirit will bring about a new spiritual reality. Allow His Holy Spirit to invade our minds and fill us to overflowing. Think God inspired thoughts and allow your mind to be renewed.
“whatever is true, …noble, …right, …pure, …lovely, …admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).