Several years ago, I began giving certain clients exercises for volitionally altering their state of mind from old patterns that had been destructive to them into forms that were Biblical and Christ honoring. My favorite is the exercise that this booklet is about. You see, the problem with people is most often not that there is some defect in their brain that needs medication; there is a problem in their manner of thinking that needs alteration. So what we need to do is change this habitual practice of “stinkin’ thinkin’” into a proper outlook. Let us be clear from the beginning; if we are to say there is a proper outlook, we have to be able to point to specific instructions from God’s Word that defines what this outlook is.
The Bible first of all contains some statements that indicate what we will be about is on the right track. Foundational to the exercise is the text; For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: (Proverbs 23:7a) which indicates that for a man to change, he must change the way he looks at things in the very core of his thought processes. Many people have argued in the beginning about their powerlessness to make changes in their outlook. But I would argue that this is not so, for even lost people have through the exercise of free will worked reforms in their lives that did improve their conditions upon this earth.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, when He spoke the Words;
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (John 14:1) definitely gave us an understanding that what is allowed to go on in the thought processes is a controllable thing with men. If you could not control what you meditated on and held dear to you, you could not restrain your heart from being troubled. However, I cannot go forward from this point without pointing out a very important thing. That is, He placed in His statement the ultimate recourse to success in securing a trouble free heart lay in a person’s faith in Him. So salvation is important to absolute victory in having a renewed mind, followed by confidence in who the Son of God is and His care for the believer
Many people have problems in altering their mindset because they consider themselves unworthy of the Love of God, His blessings, and especially His divine care. People often continue holding to this attitude in the face of a multitude of evidences in their lives He does
care. They do this in spite of the numerous times He has blessed them. Let us simplify the matter a bit. The fact of the matter is they are right. They are unworthy. So am I unworthy. So are you unworthy. If God’s consideration of any man was based on his worthiness, no man would have it for all of man’s righteousness is as filthy rags in the presence of the Holy God. It is a wonderful thing to read in Romans 5:8:
But God commendeth His love toward us,
in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
Two things we should notice right off:
1. He did not wait till we were good enough for Him to commend His love to us, before He gave the supreme price for us.
2. He commended His love. It was not offered to us, but given without restriction, so that even people who are unsaved are beneficiaries of commended love while on this earth.
So we have now determined that it is Biblical that man must order his thinking because it does define who we are, and that we can do so, because the Lord Jesus Christ has said we can. But we have also seen some evidence that if we try to do so, because of the great love of God that is not based on our own merit, it is highly likely that He will martial all the forces of heaven in backing us up in the endeavor.
But there are two things we have not determined that are yet hindrances to getting on with the practice of renewing our mind in a Biblical manner. The first of these is the objection that looms large in the minds of many people who are suffering in their thought processes. They, first of all, often consider their problem to somehow be unique among all people, just as they have often considered their unworthiness to be unique among their fellow men. This objection must be dispelled. And secondly, the Scripture that defines how we should go about the practice of renewing the mind must be clearly laid out.
To the first objection we might argue that mankind has had a choice from the beginning. Biblical evidences for this is revealed in the actions of even the first man and the first woman and can be exposed when looked at correctly. First of all we can observe that the mind of the woman strayed from her calling when she listened to the Serpent. She had been made to be the helpmeet of the man, and he had been conveyed the instruction concerning the trees in the Garden of Eden before she was made. (Genesis 2: 16-17/21-25)
Secondly, her desire was turned from the Word of God and the service of her husband to the fruit of the forbidden tree. (Genesis 3:6) Finally, the husband made a clear choice to follow his wife in disobedience instead of keeping his mind stayed on the instruction of God. (1Timothy 2:14) So, we can readily see how much we have in common with Adam and Eve when it comes to the issue of keeping our minds renewed and firmly stayed on the right thing. It is written:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:
but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;
but with the temptation also make a way to escape,
that ye may be able to bear it. 1Corinthians 10:13
This passage of Scripture is genuinely good news for every believer when we stop to consider how much temptation, trauma, and difficulty we have to struggle with every day. Isn’t it wonderful that this promise does not exclude the correct ordering of our mind?
I have to admit that Adam and Eve are not my favorite example of how people have had trouble keeping their minds renewed and focused on what is right. My favorite is Elijah, the man who could be used of God to defeat four hundred priests of Baal, then flee from one small spiteful and vindictive woman because of the vagaries of his mind. It is of him that the Bible testifies:
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
This Scripture puts to an end any reasonable argument that somehow having struggles with right thinking makes the sufferer unique. It also brings to a close the idea that it is not possible for them to overcome their inner struggles of thought. There only remains to be found the fundamental Scripture that teaches us how to renew our minds in a Biblical manner.
The Fundamental Scripture
The fundamental Scripture of mind renewal is found in the New Testament. Like so many things that the Scripture teaches, what is laid out with a broad brush in the Old Testament is brought together and summarized in the New. Most of the times, Christians when they think of it at all, only consider the relevance of the Old Testament to the New as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in Christ Jesus. That is truly the pinnacle of the Scripture revelation, but there is also more. The Scripture is also concerned all the way through with how then we ought to live.
So the Old Testament lays out many of the principles of mind renewal and the New Testament contains the summary of what has been taught, along with many helpful instructions. These have often been revealed in the gleanings of those who have written devotional books but the true resource God’s Holy Word should never be set aside for devotional books. That is like abandoning the gold mine in order to sift through the mound of mine tailings piled up outside it. I am not saying that these books do not have their value, but they are no substitute for the true Word of God and the believer’s own response to the direct revelation of the Spirit through the meditation on God’s Word.
It is important that you should understand how God has worked in bringing His revelation of mind renewal together. Hopefully, you have been enough in the Scriptures to understand that this is completely consistent with what He has done throughout His message to man, The Holy Bible. This helps you to be comfortable with what you are seeing. It is wholly reasonable to see that a consistent and orderly God, who made man, would be interested in his human creation functioning in an orderly and consistent manner representative of Him. For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2Timothy 1:7) It is also reasonable that such an orderly and consistent God would present an orderly and consistent revelation of Himself, which it is widely recognized that He has done. Should it not also be consistent with His revelation that His plan for the ordering of the mind should also follow the same pattern?
Now we come to the fundamental Scripture that organizes a daily renewal of the mind. The text occurs in the concluding chapter (chapter four) of Paul’s letter to the Philippians in verse eight:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just.
whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise.
think on these things.
Within the text of the message preceding this revelation of how to renew your mind toward God on a daily basis is a recounting of some of Paul’s qualifications that prepared him to be used to give us this direction:
1. He has been in bonds so that his bonds in Christ are the more conspicuously displayed even to those of royal station. (1:12-14)
2. He has had to deal with those who are full of envy and strife, and had to set himself for the defense of the gospel. (1:15-18)
3. He has had to learn to not be ashamed, and to be abandoned to Christ. (1:20-22)
4. He has learned to be not so set on his eventual home going that he abandons his earthly responsibilities. (1:23-26)
5. He had the outward qualifications of man, but the inward qualifications of his relationship with Christ were greater. (3:4-10)
6. The fact that he was still growing in the Lord. (3:13-14)
While I could easily elaborate on the value of each of these qualifications individually, I will not. It is sufficient for our purposes merely to show that they are there and note that God qualified Paul for the message he would be impressed by the Holy Spirit to communicate to us.
Growing is a process. The individual who sees a need to have their mind renewed had to grow to the point where they could see the need for this in their life. Sometimes that growth is attained through great difficulty, which will be the case with most that read this information. That growing into awareness may have been finally achieved in you because your counselor pointed it out. The reader should recognize that how it was achieved matters less than the fact that this growth into understanding was achieved. What Paul learned through much life experience he shared freely with those to whom he wrote. In doing so he equipped them to bear their burdens in this life with greater ease without the sorrow of learning any more in the school of hard knocks. Wherever a person is in the experience of life when they learn the principle of mind renewal much future agony of spirit will be short-circuited.
There are two things you should “pick up on” regarding the what and how of the process of following the Scripture instructions that says how you should fix or renew your mind:
First of all there is the objects of your thought. The things contained in the text may be either physical or spiritual. Things important to the human senses and to the spiritual man are both involved in the proper renewal of the mind.
Secondly there is the manner in which one should think. Inherent in Paul’s direction that we should think on these things is God’s own systematic process. Paul is telling us, his readers, to take an inventory, to count these things up. He is also telling us to do this as the continuing focus of the mind throughout our day to day existence. In other words, these are the things our mind should fall back to considering at every opportunity as we go through our days. This is not merely the practice of some early morning meditation or late evening spiritual consideration before we retire.
The First Areas of Renewal Thought
In an orderly pursual of a renewed mind through following the plan of God, there are some areas of mind focus that should be obvious. Unfortunately minds have usually become scattered through the lack of systematic exercise when people come to the point of being willing to concentrate on mind renewal. What we hope will soon become obvious “first works” and clear points of beginning must often first be pointed out by some respected friend. This is a service that pastors can perform through their preaching and teaching ministry, and it can be effectively done by a mature believer who serves as a mentor. When those primary forms of discipleship fail or are not heeded, the Christian Counselor may perform a valuable service in the life of the believer.
In the preamble to categories of right thinking that renews the mind is a an instruction that is so important it is repeated twice:
Rejoice in the Lord alway:
and again I say, Rejoice.
This instruction is akin to the manner we are supposed to enter into the throne room of God in prayer and worship:
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
and into His courts with praise
be thankful unto Him,
and bless His Name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting;
And His truth endureth to all generations.
Psalms 100: 4-5
The two areas, rejoicing and entering into God’s presence (The Great King) are conjoined. Both of these must be considered at this point of our journey toward the revealing of the initial areas of thought renewal.
When we look at the instruction to rejoice it is not uncommon for modern man to look at the imperative and miss the point. Modern man has so corrupted his thinking processes that he now equates rejoicing with being happy. Happiness is an emotion attached to the vagaries of the moment. Joy is a satisfaction that should lie within the individual and not be taken captive by or be tied to either singular events or even a whole series of calamities. In order for this to take place, the pursuit of being re-joyed must be undertaken continually and with both earnestness and zeal. Focus on the different categories, things that are true, lovely, and of good report etcetera, helps us to become re-joy-ing on a continuing basis.
Through this instruction we can begin to see that simply following the Biblical process of mind renewal begins to take the believer into a deeper relationship with God. Several benefits from the continued focus are:
1. God is at the center of every category of mind renewal that we consider.
2. God is at the center of every area of mind renewal that we explore.
3. The very things that the Biblical model tells us to consider in order that we might have mind renewal are also essential to our entering into worship.
4. When things are put into perspective we are not likely to be overwhelmed by the singular events of the day if for no other reason than they are not what is dominant in our thoughts. (Phil. 4:6)
5. Your moderation or emotional and mental equilibrium becomes apparent to others. (Phil. 4:5&7)
6. You are able to pray and communicate with God in an effective and satisfactory way that results in answered prayer. (Phil 4:6)
7. God’s peace enters you and He keeps both heart and mind as His beneficial blessing to you. (Phil. 4:7)
Mind renewal with God at the center must have a correct definition of who God is. He is The True God of the Bible. This is very important because He is the central focus of mind renewal, and
always has been. This is also paramount because there exists a spiritual competition for the hearts and minds of men. People who have had their hearts and minds centered in the things of this world are subject to falling for the delusion if they are not careful and finding themselves caught in a trap of demonically inspired substitution.
For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh,
and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life,
is not of the Father,
but is of the world.
This is why these first areas of renewal thought are so important to us in laying the foundation for mind renewal. We will come to see that every area that is proper for our contemplation and concentration brings glory to God. Those areas, which fall into the categories given in the above quotation, are then areas that are not proper for us even to contemplate focusing on and should be rejected outright.
There are five areas of focus that a person should concentrate on when they first begin to develop their habit of mind renewal. These follow a Biblical pattern that we might glean from the Scripture as well as of themselves occupy chief themes within the Scripture text. As I introduce these areas to you in their order, it is my hope you will see the relevance of both the areas and the order they are presented in. These five areas are:
1. God's Creation -
2. God's Salvation -
3. God's Provision -
4. God's Deliverance -
5. God's Word -
These are not the conclusion of where a person should concentrate their minds for renewal. They are only the beginnings of the places where their minds should be focused. These will set the foundations for all the things that they will see as the heart and mind explores the wonders of God in the future. But now we must define these five areas more completely so that no room for confusion is left as we begin our journey.
As we do so, let us remind our reader that they should never forget that the test of whether mind renewal is going in the right direction or not is whether or not the contemplation is Biblical and it brings honor and glory to the true God of the Bible.
Area # 1- God's Creation - The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament sheweth His
handywork. Psalm 19:1
This is the first area of God's presentation of Himself in the Bible, and therefore it is in my understanding the first area where men should concentrate their thoughts in pressing toward the founding of a Biblical model of mind renewal within themselves.
Area # 2 - God's Salvation - But I have trusted in thy mercy,
my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
I will sing unto the Lord,
because thou hath dealt bountifully
with me Psalm 13: 5 & 6
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear? Psalm 27: 1
Salvation was a word of promise in God's message to Eve after the fall, (Genesis 3:15) and it was the theme of God's deliverance of the Children of Israel from Egypt (as a type for sin) under the leadership of Moses. Ultimately God's salvation is revealed in the promised Messiah or Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. The meditation of Salvation includes not only the truths of the Scripture related to salvation, but what it has meant in the individual's life as well as the very Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Area # 3 God's Provision - Knowing that He which raised up the
Lord Jesus shall raise us up also by
Jesus, and shall present us with you.
For all things are for your sakes, that
the abundant grace might through the
thanksgiving of many redound to the
glory of God.
For which cause we faint not, but
though our outward man perish, yet the
inward man is renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 4:14-16
I have been young, and now am old;
yet have I not seen the righteous
forsaken, nor His seed begging bread.
God's provision is both material and spiritual. Like each of the five areas it is so wide ranging that volumes could be written without any of the subjects being exhausted. The individual who turns to the Biblical model for mind renewal must exclaim, "How unsearchable are the riches of His grace that is revealed to us on every hand!" The pressures and challenges of this world lose their power in the presence of the eternal provision for us.
Area # 4 God's Deliverance - I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
The righteous cry, and the Lord
heareth, and delivereth them out of all
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of
a broken heart, and saveth such as be
of a contrite spirit. Many are the
afflictions of the righteous:
but the Lord delivereth him out of them
all. Psalm 34: 4; 17; 18-19
For the weapons of our warfare are not
Carnal, but mighty through God to the
pulling down of strongholds;
Casting down imaginations, and every
thing that exalteth itself against the
knowledge of God, and bringing into
captivity every thought to the obedience
of Christ. 2Corinthians 10: 4-5
What occupies our meditation here is God's deliverance. Whether it be from a stronghold of sin such as an addiction or some other thing that once brought us into bondage. Whether it be from our enemies or some other situation, we all have reasons to meditate on what He has done in our lives in terms of what He has brought us from and what He has brought us to. Such thinking processes instill in the individual both a sense of gratitude and an awareness of what He can and will do in our lives in the future. We can contemplate God's deliverance from the aspects of the events themselves, the process of the deliverance being worked out, as well as the implications of that deliverance. As the Holy Spirit continues to work in our lives conforming us to the image of Christ, this area of meditation is constantly being increased.
Area # 5 God's Word - For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in
Thy faithfulness is unto all
generations: thou hast established the
earth and it abideth. Psalm 119: 89-90
I will worship toward thy holy temple,
and praise thy Name for thy loving-
kindness and for thy truth: for thou
hast magnified thy word above all thy
Name. Psalm 138:2
In this area of meditation we will consider the written Word, the Living Word (which is Christ Jesus), and the spoken Word in which God commanded in the Person of our Lord and all creation did and continues to obey. This last is perhaps the greatest of all the areas. Psalm 119 alone has at least thirty-eight references to the Word that would have to be considered. And they would have to be contemplated both individually and collectively for some time in order to realize all that the Spirit of God would be pleased to reveal to them who have a heart for their mind to be renewed according to His Word.
In concluding this segment of the booklet, I confess that I have revealed a great challenge to the reader that might seem daunting at first. But remember this, mind renewal is not the practice of a few days but the exercise of a lifetime. You have all the time God sees fit to give you to work at it. The wasted time is when you are not going about holy things, not while you are doing them.
What Mind Renewal Is Not
Because mind renewal does have some elusive quality to the young Christian as well as those just starting out in the practice of establishing soundness of mind. And, because Satan always seeks to have his counterfeits of anything that is worthwhile, we must spend some time pointing out what mind renewal is not. Mind renewal is not Transcendental Meditation or any other form of occultic eastern mysticism.
It is necessary to say this because there are plenty of people, many of whom are well intentioned but misguided, who are actively promoting occultic mystic behavior in Christian circles. There are several ways in which you can readily identify various forms of false belief systems that are connected with their types of philosophies:
1. Biblical mind renewal is involved with filling your mind, not emptying it. Many of the eastern forms of meditation are involved with the individual emptying their mind. This emptying of a person allows for an unsaved individual to actually become demonically possessed. It allows for a saved person to become demonically oppressed. Surrender of the self to another is as contrary to the Scripture as their promoted process of self-emptying. The Word of God teaches that you should be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
This plainly takes some filling of the mind with thought, not the emptying of it.
2. Biblical mind renewal is not the inducing of some ecstatic state through either repetition of a word or words. In Biblical mind renewal there is no ecstatic state to be found. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3
Clearly soundness of mind is always the watchword of the Bible and it is always the status of a person genuinely about the business of God's plan for mind renewal.
3. God's plan for mind renewal does not incorporate any form of self- hypnosis. It is not intended that a person would spend hours contemplating a dot, or even a single flower. The loveliness of a field of wild flowers or even a cultivated garden bed might inspire the person involved in mind renewal to pause and look for a moment and then remember it as they continued on their way. Mind renewal does not disrupt people going about their regular activities, but rather it accompanies them as they think on the things of God as they go about their day and Consider the work of God…Ecclesiastes 7:13
4. The Biblical model of mind renewal does not include wild, rapid, or repetitious body movements any more than it requires the body to become fixated. Mind renewal that has the true God at its center does have a certain peace and tranquility about it, but it is a peace that is discovered as renewal is practiced not induced in order to obtain some benefit. …in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength…Isaiah 30:15.
In these simple principles a clear distinction between what a Bible centered plan for mind renewal is that sets it radically apart from the delusions of this world. There remains one last principle to be addresses here in closing this topic and that is the simple fact that any form of Biblical activity will honor the true God and accommodate a place for no other. Nowhere is there any justification for a false teaching that the Lord Jesus Christ is an ascended Master or a great teacher of a way (among many) that leads to God. If someone should come to you promoting such a doctrine, turn away from them immediately. Do not argue or debate with them for they are people who have the spirit of antichrist.
The Relationship Between Mind Renewal
The Fruits of the Spirit
An individual may exhibit characteristics we identify as connected with the fruits of the Spirit from out of what we often call good heartedness. This is not a testimony to their having realized Christian fruits of the Spirit within them at all. It is a proof of the continued leavening presence of the Holy Spirit in the world. I have often remarked that my Uncle Harvey was a great guy before he got saved, but after he came to know Christ he became a wonderful man to be around and share a moment with. I reflect on this to emphasize that there is an obvious qualitative difference between the natural man doing out of a good conscience the things of the Spirit and a saved man who is having his mind daily renewed through the contemplation of holy things.
When a saved person begins to work to not be conformed to the rudiments of this world, but to be daily transformed through the renewing of their mind, the Holy Spirit is set free to begin His life changing work within the believer. It is true that we set limitations upon the work of the Spirit within us by our worldliness and refusal to become Biblically separated from the rudiments of this world. The Scripture speaks of the believer causing the Holy Spirit to grieve. Quite apart from the sins of commission are sins of omission. These are literally failing to do what we know we should do. A refusal to be renewed and move forward in our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ is certainly a sin of omission because it requires we not do what the heart of every believer man knows should be done. This knowledge is the work of the Spirit in the believer. It is small wonder that a willingness to not grow in Christ would be painful to the third Person of the Triune God.
As the God-shaped void within the unbeliever can only be truly satisfied by the indwelling presence of God through the Son, so the discomfort the believer feels is only satisfied by continued growth as a believer. As a person truly grows the fruits of the Spirit are then manifested in the individual's life. These are an outward evidence of the life in Christ being realized in the believer.
Now the fruits of the Spirit are these:
Temperance, against such there is no law.
Galatians 5: 22-23
I would like for the reader to realize two things: First each of these fruits are ones that have the capacity for growth first, and secondly that growth in one area enables continued growth in succeeding areas. It is a cumulative growth in that respect. The genuine manifestation of this fruit after the rudiments of the Spirit and not the flesh requires that a foundation is laid in the preceding fruit before it begins to develop in the fruit that follows.
The fruit of the Spirit does have its antithetical fruit that stands in opposition to the divine fruit and is often discovered in the works of those who do not practice mind renewal. Now the works of the flesh are manifest which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like… Galatians 5: 19-23a
These are to be found in some degree in those, whether saved or lost, who do not have their hearts and minds totally consecrated towards God. Needless to say the mere contemplation of this list should be sufficient to propel us into desiring to be renewed in our beings and expel all that reeks of the vanity of the carnal mind.
Mind Renewal Promotes
Bible Study, Prayer, and Worship
The practice of mind renewal is not an end all in itself. It is a transformation process that enables wonderful things to take place in the life of the believer. I have often said that God is more interested in what is going on inside of a person than He is in what a person accomplishes through servitude. This is because the giving of ourselves in service should not be a matter of obligation but one of position within the household of God. Servitude should be the willing outgrowth of who and what we are in Christ. We do not labor to be saved, we give of ourselves because we are saved. But we should give of ourselves in accordance with the measure of faith that is given to us. Growth dispels those areas where faith is hampered by unbelief or failure to trust in divine leadership and authority.
Mind renewal is not a substitute for the Scripture. The desire to be renewed in our minds must of necessity send us to the written word of God so that we may be conformed in every part. We desire to search out and discover, then experience the awe of contemplating the marvelous ways and acts of God.
Mind renewal is not possible apart from prayer. We need divine guidance and illumination so that we May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Ephesians 3: 18-19
Mind renewal sends us to our knees privately and directs us to our church collectively so that we might occupy ourselves with the adoration of God, which is true worship.
Should a person declare that they are practicing mind renewal and they do not exhibit continued growth in the above three areas, they are not practicing Biblical mind renewal. True mind renewal cannot be accomplished apart from these three things being demonstrated in the believer's life. It is a paradox that these three things are necessary to true mind renewal and these three things are also the outgrowth of mind renewal after a Biblical sort.
Mind Renewal Can Become Habitual
The transition from a position where the believer must labor to force his mind to consider things from the vantage point of a person who is occupied about holy things to the place where one does so fairly naturally is the goal. It is not an unachievable goal. Otherwise the word of God would not tell us to:
…seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above,
not on things of the earth.
The key to understanding this is the simple word set. You begin first by seeking to set your mind on things above and you wind up with your affection set, or the focus your mind planted firmly, as an established order. The individual may then remain constant in his thought processes as long as he does not begin to practice sin.
It is a principle, discovered through the observation and testing of people, that to create a habit one must practice that habit for a certain number of days. There is a general disagreement about the number of days that is required for this to be accomplished but the number is relatively small. Estimates range from as few as eighteen days to thirty, a very brief time is needed to accomplish something with the potential for having great impact in your life. Strangely enough though, when people begin to work at making a change in the way they conduct their lives for the better this amount of time becomes blown out of proportion in their eyes.
The difficulty people encounter in establishing positive change in their lives is a lack of consistency of practice. When they are seeking to overcome a negative practice or manner of thinking they struggle with themselves. Every time they give way to the old pattern of living they find themselves having to begin again. The problem is that they often see themselves as having to start all over from the beginning, but this is only true if they have lingered in their old ways. Most often the process is more like what I describe as "climbing Mount Fuji."
Mount Fuji is a very high mountain in Japan that the visitor to that land often first sees from an aircraft window as they come into the country. Though the intrepid climber may walk on a fairly good slope all the way to its summit, the mountain is covered with a material that keeps the feet constantly sliding back down the slope. Each step forward is accompanied by some slippage. People often say they slide back one step for each two steps forward, but it remains that those who persist make it to the summit. But on the way up, to be willing to stand still is to begin immediately to slide backwards. This is what getting to the place where the Biblical mind renewal has become the habit of every day is like. As long as you do not stand still and slide all the way back you do not have to start all the way over from the beginning because of a brief faltering of mind.
There are two factors that are going to play into making the accomplishment of habitual mind renewal more difficult than the mere establishment of a habit. The first of these is the fact of spiritual warfare. Satan and his minions are not going to view your desire to have your mind conformed to the will of God happily. They are going to struggle against this according to the principles of the world, the flesh, and the devil. The second part is that the initial areas where the mind should be concentrated in renewal are five in number as we have discussed. The very fact that each of these areas of establishment are an issue of their own, prolongs the developmental time. At the very least the period of significant struggle should possibly go as high as five months. The believer must always remember that when he submits himself to God and resists the devil, Old Scratch and all his cohorts must flee. This is really a very small investment of effort for something so very worthwhile.
Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil,
and he will flee from you.
A Sample Mind Renewal Work Sheet
Remembering that this is an exercise of a complete day, not just some few moments of morning and evening. Also this worksheet is a composite of the five areas and not focused on a single area of mind renewal.
Date the day this page will cover
Do not omit any category listed below. Stay with it and find something for every one. God has a blessing waiting for you. Do not miss it.
Write down something that is true: My old dog faithfully came to greet me this morning. She makes me so ashamed of myself when I am less faithful to greet my Lord upon rising.
Write down something that is honest: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. (2Corinthians 8:21) Last night I had a dream that my pastor had dropped his wallet beside my car. In my dream I was struggling with the temptation to keep it because I needed money until I learned it was his. It should not have mattered whether it was my pastors or some other man's. "Lord as the day progresses please give me opportunity to demonstrate honesty in the sight of man in such a way that it brings glory to you.
Write down something that is just: Hearing about the prison sentence handed down today to that poor man for causing an airport disruption sure seemed extreme to me. It seemed that what might have been nothing more than a failure to react rationally might have been dealt with rather harshly. There must be more to it than I know. Sometimes the idea of you letting someone go to hell because they refused to accept Jesus as their Savior seems a bit harsh to me too. But at the same time I am grateful for you making me justified in the beloved and I know that there is more to your act of love that provided our salvation than I understand. I know that the judge in this world may have made a mistake in that person's life, but I praise you that I can have confidence that you will never make a mistake in anyone's life.
Write down something that is pure: At the wedding today the bride looked so beautiful in her white wedding dress. I thank you that there are still some Christian, godly young women around to marry godly minded young men. I praise you for working in her life to keep her standards high so she would be a wonderful companion for my nephew and he would have a woman his heart could safely trust in.
Write down something that is lovely: The field of wildflowers I passed on the way to work this morning were so lovely as the sun glistened through the water droplets of dew that rested upon them. I was glad I was running early and could pull off to look at them a moment. This afternoon I saw how many new blossoms had
opened through the day. How they did shine in the evening sun. I wish my wife could have seen it with me. Maybe I should have told her about it when we met at the wedding. If the flowers hold, I must take her there on Saturday. It would be geat to sit and hold hands in the old truck and look at the field like we did when we were dating.
Write down something that is of good report: The news of my dear friends death upset me for a moment, but that was just because we would not share another time together in this world. But at last his suffering is over and he has gone where he has wanted to be for so long. I will miss him. No other living soul knows those great times we had with the tape ministry and sharing our faith over at the migrant worker camp now. They are all gone. I am thankful that those good times are chronicled in heaven and will never be lost.
Write down something that has virtue: O Lord, I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for the wife that you gave me. What a blessing it was to consider how hard she had worked to provide the handmade coverlet for our friends. She is like the virtuous woman of Proverbs. I have watched her hands going to town on that thing for weeks as she watched the evening news and waited in doctor's offices and other places. She is really something. I am amazed that I am so blessed and praise you for making her for me.
Write down something that should be praised or God should be praised for: Lord I just wanted to stop and praise you for you providential care for those people who live in the trailer park the twister hit today. Seeing that wreckage on the evening news it was just amazing that not one person was hurt. It seems impossible to my mind that such a thing could occur, but with you all things are possible. I do not know why any man could not see your hand in such a thing, but it is quite plain that many blissfully go on about their lives so unaware. I know that these things are a wake up call, and even though it is so sad that man does not heed it I want to nevertheless praise you for the warning as well.
The promise of God is that when you do that which is correct, the God of Peace will be with you richly. Can you now stop and write down a little prayer of thanks to God for giving you peace? You might say at this point in your walk, "I don't have perfect peace yet." That is the element of faith. We thank God for things He has promised even before we receive them because we count Him who has promised these things to be faithful. He always keeps His Word!
All Scripture in this Booklet
is from the
Authorized King James Version
currently the only accurate
Bible translation available
in the English language
Special thanks to
My dear wife,
My proofreader confidant and friend
Reproduction of this booklet
for use as a Bible study aid
and for non-profit purposes
in a local church is authorized.
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Introduction to the Exercise 1
Some facts behind the subject of mind renewal
The Fundamental Scripture 4
The Biblical basis of mind renewal
The First Areas of Renewal Thought 7
Five foundational areas of focus
What Mind Renewal Is Not 13
The Devil's competing system
The Relationship Between Mind Renewal and the 15
Fruits of the Spirit
Why failure to grow is sinful
Mind Renewal Promotes Bible Study, Prayer, and Worship 17
God is interested in what goes on inside us
Mind Renewal Can Become Habitual 18
How to get there from here
A Sample Mind Renewal Work Sheet 20
A composite from my own daily exercises
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 I can even make a very strong case that the Lord expects even His holy angels to maintain, by their own decision a focus on that which is right in God’s sight.
 Older devotional books are most often the best. If an individual has a Christian Counselor who is really such, the counselor will most likely ask them not to read anything they do not approve first. While this is most often focused on counseling books, a well read counselor will likely have some resources that he will want to recommend as superior to others.
 The Greek word for soundness of mind (pronounced so-fron-is-mos’) is often translated as healthy, a healthy mind. But this is inadequate since the word meaning conveys both discipline and self-control.
 Let me point out that people are often credited with superior intelligence or intellect when the real answer in their ability to perform is an ordered mind. An ordered mind under the authority of the Holy Spirit is a powerful tool indeed.
 Notice the word is “alway” and not “always.” This is not merely an archaic form of English. While the Greek word it translates does mean of continued duration, similar to the word always, the original noun also conveys the impression of earnestness. The encompassing nature of the original word makes use of the common word “always” inadequate. I have not researched to determine whether this is an unplanned benefit of the modern use of the King James Version or not.
 The simple contemplation of the two united Hebrew words translated handiwork is sufficient alone to drive the worshipper to their knees awestruck with what God has to say to us about His creative operations in a single word.
 There can be the awe of worship when our meditation inspires us to enter the presence of God in giving praise to Him. If the practitioner is accustomed to having some ecstatic state they have confused for worship they have some serious problems this booklet is not designed to address.
 God the Father is the First Person; God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is the Second Person; God the Holy Spirit is the Third Person. All three Persons are the One True God.
 I am not going to elaborate on each of the fruits in this booklet. I have written on this subject before and will eventually produce that material into a booklet that may be used along with this one. For the present let me point out there are a number of good commentaries on the fruit of the Spirit written by others.
 and by extension, the household of faith in this world.
 This idea has been reinforced by counselors while they were seeking to motivate people to be consistent in their endeavors over the years.
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