how to practice grace with a renewed mind

My mind works overtime. Maybe you can relate. I will fixate on a thought and let to myself I will let that thought turn over in my mind until it is all that I can think. In my flesh, these thoughts are most often based in worry, fear and insecurity. As an enneagram 6, it comes naturally but still sinfully to my mind.

What I mean is, it is easy to fixate on the wrong thing. But that doesn’t make it right. Yes, we are bombarded, especially these days, with bad news, things to fear and worry about and big questions of insecurity.

Yet Scripture calls us to something very different.

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect,” writes Paul to the Roman church in Romans 12:1-2.

When, as a young believer in my early 20s, I chose this passage as my “life verse,” I had no idea what that meant. Not sure I know now. But I do know that this passage has continually drawn me back to the grace practice of renewing my mind that has been literally life changing for me.

After walking through a very dark season several years ago, my mind was a wreck. Honestly, I only walked into the dark season in large part because my mind was a wreck. What you think, you do. That is absolutely true. “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he,” is not just Proverbs 23:7 but it is the story of my life.

For a time I dealt with the shame of sin and felt constantly reminded of how many ways I had failed the Lord. The enemy had his way with me as I was in constant turmoil mentally over my shame. I had repented, turned from my sinful season and yet I took the same thinking with me into the new season. I felt unworthy and unforgiven. Until I put Romans 12:2 into action!

I began to renew my mind with the truth of Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west so far has he removed my transgressions from [me].” I wrote this verse on an index card. I personalized it for me, not just us. I read it aloud no less than 1000 times per day. Every. Single. Time. the feelings of shame and doubt crept up in me, I would say that verse. And not just one time. I said the verse over and over and over in my mind, out loud, to the dog, to friends, to the chick at Walmart, to anyone in earshot. I needed my own ears to hear it and my mind to think differently.

And you know what? It worked!

The grace practice of renewing my mind absolutely worked. About a month into saying this verse more often than my own name, I was just waking from sleep one morning, still mostly in the unconscious state of dreaming and the old thoughts began to creep in and you know what happened? Without even trying the words rolled off my soul and into my mind, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed my transgressions from me.” My mind had made the connection! The Lord had renewed my mind and I actually felt shame melt away for the first time in a while. I continued the practice for several more weeks any time the thoughts tried to push their way in. But eventually the truth over road the lies in my soul and I began to walk in the truth.

I continue this grace practice every day. My mind will still get the best of me if left to herself. Currently I am memorizing the book of Colossians. That is a practice I began 2 years ago, so it has not come easy or quickly. But I never run out of what to chew on in my mind.

When I am driving, folding clothes, or doing a mindless activity, I can choose to let my mind wander. And sometimes it does before I catch it. But I can also choose to set my mind, with purpose and intention, on the things that are above (Colossians 3:2).


The best way to practice a renewed mind begins with digging into the word. Drop your email below and get a simple, effective tool for studying the Bible for yourself!

Processing…
Success! Check your email!

23 thoughts on “how to practice grace with a renewed mind

  1. Yes! I do this same thing with my memory verses. I have to repeat them again and again to myself, preaching the truths as reality until my heart can’t help but believe. Colossians 3 was the first chapter I memorized in full as an adult and I still review it often so I’ll never forget it. So many important truths in it. Blessings to you as you memorize. Glad you linked up at Grace & Truth.

    1. Thank you for the sweet encouragement, Lisa! I love that you, too, memorized Colossians 3 early on. It is a powerful chapter and so worthy of memorizing! 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting!

  2. I love the verses you chose to go with this post, Mariel. The one from Proverbs is especially telling. I seem to have acquired an unhealthy habit of “overthinking” lately too. Many of us are suffering from a dark season of anxiety and grief these days. I love how you put Romans 12:2 into action. What a wonderful way to remind yourself of God’s abundant love and grace.

  3. I’m going to highlight your post this Friday at my blog for the Grace & Truth linkup to give everybody one more look at the importance of memorizing scripture to renew their minds!

  4. I have often thought about what I chose for my life verse in Christian school. It would not describe my christian life. A better verse would be one like psalm 126:5.

  5. Mariel, there was a time when I had to constantly say a verse (often out loud) so that my mind would stay fixed on the Lord. It was a lesson learned well and still practiced to this day. So grateful His Word renews us day by day!

    1. Same here, Joanne!! I did it again this morning, reminding own heart to “trust in the Lord with all your heart lean NOT on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” <3 grateful we have this life-giving word to be able to cling to!

  6. I love the way that God’s Holy Spirit brings His Word back to our minds with verses that we hadn’t even remembered memorizing. I had this happen to me when I was in a fearful situation, one that was totally new and shocking to me. As I closed my eyes, a Scripture came to my mind, and then another and another, totally unbidden by me. God knew that I needed to remember HIS faithful promises for me! Thank you for reminding us of the gift of hiding His Word in our hearts.

    1. oh yes! What a gift of His Spirit, our Reminder!! We just have to trust Him as we work to hide it in us and know that He will bring to mind what we need when we need it ❤

  7. Mariel, this post was an amazing encouragement to me! I have dealt with shame most of my life, and just this week I was overcome with my sin and how I have disappointed God in my disobedience. So, true the mind is the battlefield and it was a great reminder for me to get my thoughts reined in and cover the overwhelming thoughts with scripture! Thank you for sharing on the link up!

    1. oh Donna, praise God for the mind-healing gift of His word! May He use His word to transform your mind as you press into Him and release that false shame at the Cross. Grateful to have blessed you❤

  8. Thank you for sharing your experience and insight on memorizing scripture and how that shapes our lives for good. I saw your post featured on the Grace and Truth link up today. Have a beautiful weekend!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: