“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
The Lord has commanded us to allow our minds to be renewed. This is the solution to the question of how to be a Christian in a world that is hostile towards faith. How is it possible to be set apart from the world? The renewing of the mind will transform you and the way you see the world.
So what does it mean to renew the mind? It means to have a complete change of thinking. The Bible says that unless we are born again we cannot see the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3). 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” In Christ we are made new. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says of the believer, “we have the mind of Christ.” Part of what God has made new in the born-again believer is the mind. In fact, we have been given the very mind of Christ.
Having the mind of Christ, it is the Christian’s responsibility to allow that to work out in their everyday life. We are not to be like the world any longer, but be completely different, transformed, by the renewing of our minds. To say we have the mind of Christ says that this is already done. How can we allow our minds to be stuck in a depraved state a minute longer if God has already given us a new mind? A big part of this is simply not knowing what God has done. If you are unaware of the fact that you have a particular gift from God, then you have not yet been given the opportunity to use it. When you do find out you have it though, you have a responsibility to use what God has entrusted to you. If the Christian has been given the mind of Christ, we had better stop acting like our minds are still depraved and start thinking like Christ. It is the Spirit of God in us that allows us to put this into practice.
Renewing our mind is not only something that has been completed in us, but something that must be worked out and practiced daily. Whenever an old thought pattern creeps in, we must catch it and cast it out in the name of Jesus Christ. This means we must be acutely aware of what we are allowing to enter into our minds. Garbage in, garbage out, as the saying goes. If we allow garbage into our minds, then we are going to go back to living like the world, like the depraved sinner we used to be. But if the garbage is blocked and only good is allowed in, then we will have a consistent practice of thinking with the mind of Christ. This is the ongoing process of the renewing of the mind.
The last part of this verse tells us the result of having a renewed mind – We will be able to discern God’s perfect will. Because Christ and the Father are one, knowing Christ means knowing God (John 14:10). If we have the mind of Christ, we have the mind of the Father. Therefore if we have the mind of Christ we can know God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for our lives. God is no longer unknown and distant, but known intimately. How great it is to have an intimate knowledge and relationship with the God who created the heavens and the earth, and who reached into our very lives to save us from our sin. How great it is to know the God who saved our minds from our depraved and foolish thinking, shining his light and illuminating our minds to the truth.