Be Transformed By The Renewing of Your Mind

 
 
Ephesians 4:17 (NKJV) This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind.
 
Here Paul is admonishing believers to stop living the old life of sin like unbelievers who do so because of the “futility of their mind”—and to start living new lives of holiness and purity for God. The phrase “futility of their mind” means the “empty-headedness of worldly thinking”.
 
The Bible teaches that the power to live a changed life comes from the Holy Spirit working thru a changed (clean) heart. But David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart—O God because he knew he couldn’t create a clean heart in himself. We don’t have the power to change our hearts—but we do have the power to change our minds.
 
That’s what the word “repent” literally means in the Greek—“to have a change of mind”. If I stop thinking that certain behaviors that God condemns in His Word are okay.
 
If I stop justifying sinful activities and old habits—in other words, if I change my mind, God will change my heart. And a changed heart always leads to a changed life! Paul is telling us here in Ephesians 4 that the main difference between Christians and non-Christians—is in the way they think.
 
Once a person repents (has a change of mind) and receives Jesus as Lord and Savior they receive the new birth with a new nature. In other words—a new heart! But we still have the ‘old heart’ (old fallen nature we inherited from Adam)—and which ‘heart’ (the old or new nature) that will control our lives still depends on how we think.
 
Even as Solomon said, “as a man thinks in his heart—so is he!” And that is why we are commanded as Christians to stop thinking like the world and to start thinking like the redeemed children of God we are in Christ.
 
Romans 12:2 (NLT) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…
 
Ephesians 4:21-23 (NLT) Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.
 
The main way our thoughts are changed as Christians—is thru the study of the Word of God.
 
Psalms 119:9, 11 (NKJV) How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word… Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!
 
God’s Word teaches us that godly living always flows from godly thinking—which is only possible by the renewing of your mind through the Word of God. I am absolutely convinced that the reason so many Christians are living worldly lives is because—they’re still thinking worldly thoughts.
 
Their minds are still conformed to this world’s way of thinking because they have not allowed them to be transformed by the renewing that comes from God’s Word. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t reading the Word of God or going to Bible study (although I doubt they are).
 
It simply means that the teaching of God’s Word is not being allowed to go from their head to their heart where it becomes a part of their core convictions and therefore living and powerful in its ability to radically transform their life!
 
As a Christian, when you go to Bible study and hear the Word of God taught—you should immediately internalize that teaching and make it a part of the core values of your heart.
 
You see, when you internalize God’s Word—when you hide it in your heart with the intent of living it out in your life—the truth of God’s Word energized by the power of the Holy Spirit will give you victory over the sinful attitudes and thinking of this fallen world that you come in contact with on a daily basis.
 
We have an expression—“Taking it to heart” which refers to this very thing.
 
James 1:21-22 (NLT) So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
 
Now this is all very important to us as Christians because most spiritual warfare takes place in the mind for control of your thinking. Satan wants to control your thinking because, once again—“as a man thinks in his heart so is he” (Prov.23:7).
 
And so, the devil wants to flood your mind with images and messages that will destroy your relationship with God by keeping you brain-washed in his way of thinking—which James tells us is ‘earthly, sensual and demonic’ (James 3:15).
 
Now, if he’s successful—it will manifest itself in a love for the things of the world more than a love for God.
 
1 John 2:15-16 (NLT)
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
 
That’s why it is imperative that, we as Christians, constantly be on guard as to what enters our minds.
 
If you stay away from the more obvious ways the devil will try to pollute your mind (internet pornography —then the most dangerous junk never gets into your mind in the first place! However, the internet isn’t the only way Satan corrupts people’s minds.
 
There are many High Schools and Colleges that teach ungodly ideologies (naturalism, socialism etc.) as well as the movie industry, the music industry and many others who are promoting everything from sexual immorality to occultism to eastern mysticism (yoga, T.M. and so on).
 
But it’s more than that—godly living is not just the result of the absence of what’s bad—but also of the presence of what’s good—
 
Philippians 4:8 (NLT) And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
 
Colossians 3:16 (NKJV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
 
You see, as you fill your mind with God’s Word you begin to think like God thinks—which means you stop thinking like the world thinks. The result will be a renewed mind and a transformed life!
 
Even as Jesus said, “Cleanse the inside of the cup (the heart) and it will overflow and cleanse the outside also (transform the way you live).”
 
If you come to church and hear the Word of God taught but you basically let it go in one ear and out the other without any real desire to obey it—then it will do you no good. The Word of God, although living and powerful (Heb.4:12), will be rendered lifeless and powerless to change your life—because you are not really serious about doing all that it says—
 
Matthew 4:4 (NKJV) [Jesus] said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ “
 
But it all starts (a godly life) with the way you think about God’s Word and your willingness to feed on it every day and hide it in your heart—then and only then will it transform your life!
 
Here Paul is admonishing believers to stop living the old life of sin like unbelievers who do so because of the “futility of their mind” and to start living new lives of holiness and purity for God. The phrase “futility of their mind” means the “empty-headedness of worldly thinking”.
 
First of all, let me say that the Bible teaches that the power to live a changed life comes from the Holy Spirit working thru a changed (clean) heart.
 
But David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart—O Godbecause he knew he couldn’t create a clean heart in himself.
 
We don’t have the power to change our hearts—but we do have the power to change our minds. If I stop justifying sinful activities and old habits—if I change my mind, God will change my heart.
 
But He won’t change my heart until I change my mind—that’s what the word “repent” means—“to have a change of mind”. Paul is telling us here that the main difference between Christians and non-Christians (a part from new life)—is in the way they think.
 
Once person repents (has a change of mind) and receives Jesus as Lord and Savior they receive the new birth with a new nature (the divine nature—2 Peter 1:4) and with it a new heart. And now we are commanded to stop thinking like the world and to start thinking like the redeemed children of God we are in Christ.
 
Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…
 
Ephesians 4:21-23 (NLT)
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.
 
Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. The main way our thoughts are changed as Christians—is thru the study of the Word of God.
 
Psalms 119:9, 11 (NKJV)
How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word… Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!
 
God’s Word teaches us that godly living always flows from godly thinking which is only possible by the renewing of your mind through the Word of God. I am absolutely convinced that the reason so many Christians are living worldly lives is because they’re still thinking worldly thoughts. Their minds are still conformed to this world’s way of thinking and they have not allowed them to be transformed by the renewing that comes from God’s Word. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t reading it or even going to Bible study (although I doubt they are).
 
It simply means that the teaching of God’s Word is not being allowed to go from their head to their heart where it becomes a part of their core convictions—and therefore living and powerful in its ability to radically transform their life.
 
As a Christian when you go to Bible study and hear the Word of God taught—you should immediately internalize that teaching and make it a part of the core values by which you interpret the world around you and interact with it—in other words you should hide it in your heart with the intent of living it out in your life.
 
We have an expression—“Taking it to heart” which refers to this very thing.
 
James 1:21-22 (NLT)
So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
 
Now this is all very important to us as Christians because most spiritual warfare takes place in the mind for control of your thinking. Satan wants to control your thinking because “as a man thinks in his heart so is he”. (Prov.23:7).
 
And so the devil wants to flood your mind with images and messages that will destroy your relationship with God by keeping you brain-washed in his way of thinking—which of course is ‘earthly, sensual and demonic’ (James 3:15).
 
Now if he’s successful, it will manifest itself in a love for the things of the world more than a love for God.
 
1 John 2:15-16 (NLT)
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
 
That’s why it is imperative that, we as Christians, constantly be on guard as to what enters our minds. If you stay away from the more obvious ways the devil will try to pollute your mind (internet porn)—then most of the more dangerous junk never gets into your mind in the first place.
 
However the internet isn’t the only way Satan corrupts people’s minds. There are many High Schools and Colleges that teach ungodly ideologies as well as the movie industry, the music industry and many others who are promoting everything from sexual immorality to occultism to eastern mysticism. But it’s more than that—godly living is not just the result of the absence of what’s bad but also of the presence of what’s good—
 
Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
 
Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
 
Now as you fill your mind with God’s Word you begin to think like God thinks—which means you stop thinking like the world thinks. The result will be a renewed mind and a changed life—even as Jesus said, “Cleanse the inside of the cup and it will overflow and cleanse the outside also.”
 
If you come to church and hear the Word of God taught but you basically let it go in one ear and out the other without any real desire to obey it—then it will do you no good.
 
The Word of God, although living and powerful (Heb.4:12), will be rendered lifeless and powerless to change your life— because you are not really serious about doing all that it says—
 
Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)
[Jesus] said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ “
 
Pastor Phil

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