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!