There is an ongoing process that believers must understand if they are going to live in a manner that pleases the Lord. We are no longer under the bondage of sin, but we continue to live with what Scripture calls the flesh. It is the unredeemed part of man that will ultimately be disposed of when we are glorified. This unredeemed element within man affects our thinking. It is critical that we understand the importance of being renewed in our minds.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
…and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, …
Notice the context of Ephesians 4 and how critical it is to put off and put on:
So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
We are able to put off the deeds of the flesh and put on righteousness when we are being renewed in our minds. After all, we ultimately live out what we think about. If you allow yourself to dwell on sin, be it immoral thoughts, anger, anxiety, etc., you will eventually live in ways that are consistent with how you are thinking.
To be renewed in the mind is a continuous present. That is, it is something that has started and must continue. In renewing our minds, we are learning day by day to think how our Lord thinks. As we learn to think like Him, we will learn to live like Him.
Tim Challies reminds us that “Through the rest of life you are faced with the constant challenge, ‘Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind’ (Romans 12:2). This choice is set before you each day: Will you allow the world to conform your mind, or will you invite God to transform your mind? To not choose is to make a choice—the world is so immersive, so powerful, and so present that unless you actively resist it, you will inevitably be conformed to it and consumed by it.”1
The next several articles will help us understand how, specifically, we can learn to be renewed in our minds. After all, this is where the battle is won or lost in the believer’s life.
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