The Bible tells us in Romans chapter 12,
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2).
If you’ve been a Christian for a while you probably heard this scripture quoted many times or have even read it many times.
But what is a renewed mind exactly? And how do we go about renewing our mind?
In this article, I’m going to be answering these questions from the Word of God, along with giving you 3 simple tips to help you achieve a renewed mind.
So, without further delay, let’s dive right in.
What is a Renewed Mind?
Lets look at Romans 12:2 again,
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect perfect will of God.”
In this scripture, the apostle Paul is telling us that we are to be transformed by changing the way we think, but he is also showing us what a renewed mind is.
A renewed mind is a mind that is able to prove the will of God by understanding the will of God. It is a mind that thinks God thoughts, to prove God’s ways. Simple, right?
But there are some who will mention Isaiah 55:9 in objection and say, “But the Bible says that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts.”
Yes, that was a reality under the Old Covenant, but the Bible makes it clear in the New Covenant that since we have the Spirit of God in us we can know God’s thoughts.
“For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may KNOW THE THINGS FREELY GIVEN TO US BY GOD, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. (1 Corinthians 2:10-15).
The apostle Paul even goes as far to say that we have the mind of Christ.
“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ“ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
So what does it mean to prove God’s will?
Well, the definition of prove is to “demonstrate the truth or existence of something by evidence or argument.”
Proving the will of God is to demonstrate the will of God. The renewed mind is not simply the ability to quote a scripture for a given situation. No, it is a mind that is so consumed with the things of God, that it becomes natural to demonstrate God’s will to the world.
This is the reason the apostle Paul writes in Galatians 5:22 that the fruit of walking in the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control.” These “fruits” are the demonstration of the will of God.
Now, notice how Paul prays for the Colossian church in Colossians 1:9-11.
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
These verses reveal the results of a Christian that has a renewed mind, or a mind that is “filled with the knowledge of His Will.” The results are (1) you will walk worthy of the Lord, (2) you will fully please, (3) you’ll be fruitful in every good work, (4) you’ll increase in the knowledge of God. All this for just simply knowing His will.
How do you Renew the Mind?
The process of renewing your mind is simple. You begin by understanding how to walk in the Spirit.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the THINGS OF THE FLESH, but those who live according to the Spirit, the THINGS OF THE SPIRIT” (Romans 8:5).
This verse says to live according to the Spirit is simply setting our minds on the things of the Spirit. There are many ways to do this, but there are three main ways that we will cover.
Tip #1: Act on the Word of God.
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to SAVE YOUR SOULS” (James 1:21).
The term “save your souls” does not refer to being born again. That is the salvation of the spirit man. The salvation of the soul is referring to the mind, will, and emotions being transformed.
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, that we are made up of spirit, soul, and body. We are created as a three part being, in the image of God.
Look at what Jesus said in regards to salvation:
“Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5-6).
This verse reveals that at the time of salvation our spirit man gets “born again.” In other words, a new nature comes inside of us, God’s nature. He takes away the old man and makes us a new man (1 Corinthians 5:17), thus giving us eternal life.
But our soul and body still have to be renewed. This is why in Romans chapter 12:1-2 Paul addresses the body and the mind, but not the spirit man.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
We present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice through water baptism, and dying daily to any selfish ambition (See the article on Water Baptism).
However, we renew our mind by first obeying what the the apostle James said, “receive with meekness the implanted word.”
What does it mean to receive the word of God with meekness?
Well, James explains that in the next verse.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).
Someone who receives God’s Word with meekness is someone who hears the Word of God and then acts upon it. When we act upon God’s word, the word of God will become real in our life, and our thoughts.
However, if we only sit on what we’ve learned and never act, we will deceive ourselves. There must be an equal amount of knowledge of God’s Word and obedience to God and His Word.
Tip #2: Persuade your Heart with the Word of God.
I decided to add a bonus tip, because this one seemed a little too important to leave out.
In the above tip we addressed hearing the Word and then acting on the Word, but there is another necessary action that we must do if we want a renewed mind, and that is that we must learn to persuade our heart with the Word of God.
The Bible is flooded with scriptures suggesting people who persuaded themselves with the truths of the Bible.
Here are just a few examples:
“He (Abraham) did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced (or persuaded) that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Romans 4:20-22).
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
You see, you can’t just read the Bible once or twice and then think that you are fully convinced of everything that you read. It doesn’t work that way. We must persuade our heart if we want to be fully convinced of God’s Word and have a renewed mind.
So, how do we persuade our hearts? I’m going to cover this in tip number 3 with different terminology, but I’ll briefly address it here.
Joshua 1:8 says,
“This book of the law (the Word of God) shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein.”
We persuade our hearts through meditation on God’s Word. Meditation means to ponder over something, to think deep about a subject.
When we meditate on the Word we are thinking about a scripture or a passage, and while we do, we are convincing ourselves of it.
Tip #3: Pray and Commune with God.
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us ALL THINGS that pertain to LIFE AND GODLINESS, THROUGH the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:2-3).
In this scripture, the apostle Peter is telling us that God has given to us everything that we need that pertain to two categories: life and godliness. And He has made this provision accessible through simply knowing God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
A renewed mind and a transformed life fall under the categories of “life and godliness”, so according to the scripture above, we receive these things by growing in the knowledge of God. Simple.
We grow in the knowledge of God in two ways: His Word and prayer. There is no other way. If we try to know God through life, we’ll end up having a God that looks like the devil because the devil is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
(We have already covered knowing God through His word, if you want to understand more on this subject check out How to Start Reading the Bible).
There are two main ways we get to know a person: communication and time. God is a person, so we must learn to commune with Him and spend time with him.
This is exactly what prayer is. It is continual conversation with God.
Here are some scriptures that will help your prayer life:
“Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks ALWAYS for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-20).
“Praying ALWAYS with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
“Be anxious for nothing, but in EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Phillipians 4:6).
“Pray WITHOUT CEASING, in everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
There are many more scriptures on prayer, but if you will take these verses and apply them to your life, you will be surprised how much you will grow in the knowledge of God, and how real God will become to you.
Tip #4: Cast Down Thoughts that are Contrary to God’s Word
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
As believers we must learn to control our thought life if we are going to succeed in renewing our minds.
Every thought that rises up in our mind that directly goes against what we know about God through His word must be cast down by rejecting it.
We can’t control every thought that comes to us, because sometimes thoughts that come to us can be God speaking to us, or even the devil trying to tempt us, but we can control what we continually think about.
There is a saying I heard one time, it goes like this: “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop that bird from making a nest in your hair.” This is exactly how it works with our thoughts.
There is a difference between having a thought pass by and meditating on that thought.
Remember, meditation means to ponder, to muse over something. It is continual thinking about a given subject.
So, you need to ask yourself, “what am I meditating on throughout the day?”
Are you meditating on your job? Problems at home? Finances? Those are all well and good to think about because we have responsibilities that we need to take care of, but we are called to meditate only on one thing: the Word of God.
“This Book of the Law (God’s Word) shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it” (Joshua 1:8).
In the latter part of this verse God gives us a promise.
“FOR THEN you will make your way prosperous, and THEN you will have good success.”
Everyone wants to be prosperous and successful, right? Well here is the secret: meditate in God’s Word day and night. If we will do this, every thought that comes against the knowledge of God will seem foreign and it will be easy to reject it.