As we think, so do we live. We have a guiding light.
-Madeleine L. Turner-
You’ve no doubt heard the saying, “You are what you eat”.
What we choose to put in our mouths has a direct correlation to how healthy our bodies look, feel and function. We’re continually reminded to keep our bodies healthy, but how often do we consider keeping our minds healthy? Of far greater importance is the saying, “You are what you think”, for how we view the world – what we believe about God, sin, marriage, morality, for example – has far greater earthly and eternal significance. What we think ultimately determines how we live. The Bible tells us that when people become Christians they are no longer conformed to this world, because they no longer belong to the Spirit of this age [Satan] (Col. 1:13). Instead, they belong to Christ and are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).
God’s will for us is to be sanctified (made holy) and transformed into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. And that transformation process begins with the renewing of our minds: “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” (Rom. 12:2).
Renewing our minds is not about improving our minds through therapeutic techniques of “mindfulness” or positive thinking. Nor is it simply to do with learning new Bible facts. The biblical process of renewing our minds involves replacing ungodly knowledge and ways of thinking with the inspired and inerrant truth of God’s Word.
When we are exposed to God’s truth, we learn to think the way God thinks
Although we are radically dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit to transform our minds and hearts, we also have a responsibility to cooperate with Him as He begins that transformation process. This requires us to actively seek and pursue gospel truth if we want the Spirit to guide us. And God equips us to do this by giving us His Word, the Bible.
The transformation of our minds occurs when we are exposed to the faithful exposition of God’s Word. It requires us to hear, read, memorise and meditate on God’s Word regularly – “Let the word of God dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16).
When we are exposed to God’s truth, we learn to think the way God thinks. His attitudes become our attitudes. And His desires become our desires. Our response to sin and temptation will change as we begin to think differently and our lives begin to reflect Christ. Therefore what believers feed their minds with and choose to dwell on has an enormous impact on whether they will be victors or victims.
What do you feed your mind with? We must fill our minds with God’s truth.
Living in an age of media saturation, we are constantly bombarded by images and worldviews that are in opposition to God’s truth. Much of our time is absorbed by watching television, listening to music, reading magazines and newspapers or browsing the Internet. We complain about how little time we have to read God’s Word, yet in the same breath admit how we spent the evening “binge watching” the latest HBO television series.
Now I’m not endorsing some variety of Christian legalism, where we avoid all forms of media. But we ought to think very carefully how we use our Christian liberty when we digest ideas that are in opposition to God’s Word. What do you feed your mind with? We must fill our minds with God’s truth. As Jesus prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
Madeleine L. Turner completed her PhD in History and Media at Macquarie University and attends Ashfield Presbyterian Church.