I’m on the leadership team of the New Canaan Society of Grand Rapids, a national mentoring ministry, www.newcanaansociety.org. Several times a year, three or four of us older Christian men “with mileage,” will invite a dozen young guys over to our house for an informal dinner and discussion. Most of these young men are Christians.
We don’t ever do a teaching. We just sit around two large tables and us older guys will tell a few stories of challenges we’ve had in our personal, spiritual or business lives. Those stories always provoke questions. And the real spiritual mentoring begins.
So last month, I quoted this passage from Romans 12:2.
“Do not conform 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 sharp young man asked, “how do you renew your mind?” In my business, that’s what I call a hot lead! So, here’s a brief summary of what I told him. Renewing your mind A worldview is the sum total of everything you believe to be true, whether it is or not. And every person on earth, from an aborigine to an Oxford don has a worldview. We don’t simply get our worldview from information we read or things we’ve been taught. Our experiences, our hurts, our successes, our families of origin, and our friends, also all shape our worldviews. In most cases, they actually warp our worldviews.
On the other hand, a biblical worldview is truth from God’s perspective. And almost everything God believes to be true is counter-intuitive to our personal worldview. That’s exactly why it requires faith to believe his truth.
So, renewing our mind is the process of re-evaluating what we currently believe, in light of what God believes, then choosing to believe God’s truth over our own enough to change how we live. So, how does that work?
The last section of Romans 12:2 says this, “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The two questions I ask when I read a passage in the Bible are these:
Do I actually believe what I’m reading is true? (God’s will is that my answer be “yes,” even if I don’t fully understand it.)
Do I believe it’s true, with enough confidence to live that truth out fairly consistently in my life? (Never perfectly. Nobody, but God is perfect!)
If I can’t honestly answer “yes” to both questions, I try to explore why it is that I find it so difficult to believe and obey God. What personal experiences have I had, or other information I’ve learned, that appears to contradict what God says is true? Or is it simply that what God is asking of me, just too hard?
It’s not enough just to believe that the Bible says something you and I agree to be true. Renewing our minds is about repenting of falsehoods I once believed, and trusting and obeying what God says, in spite of my personal experiences, preferences or how hard it is to obey.
So, how does that work in real life? Let’s say you have a father who was emotionally distant, or even very tough on you. God says in the first of the Ten Commandments, “Honor your father and your mother.” Our human reaction is generally, “That’s not going to happen. My father (or mother) doesn’t deserve honor.” But God says they do! (On this topic, you may want to read this BLOG).
To renew your mind means that you must read whatever you need to read, get counseling, or do whatever it takes, to make God’s truth a functional reality in your life. When you get to the point that you can begin honoring a parent God’s way, your mind and your life have been, or is in the process of being renewed.
The same is true of Jesus’ command to forgive 70×7. Is there anyone you’ve not forgiven for any reason? Until you trust God more than your gut, or even the advice of friends, your mind has not yet been renewed.
Renewing your mind will be a lifetime of learning, unlearning, and applying God’s truth to your life. If you do, and when you do, that is the stuff spiritual maturity is built on.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
How following Jesus works in real life.
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