It takes commitment, but it’s well worth it.
Shawn A. Akers
As we often do, my brother, Kevin, and I became involved in a deep theological discussion. It was the evening of a Good Friday, and it seemed appropriate.
We began talking about purity, grace and transformation, and it all led to one point: renewal of the mind.
Kevin and I came to an agreement that you can indeed be a Christian by confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and that He died for our sins. That’s the easy part. Anyone can do that—even the staunchest atheist.
But, then comes the hard part—living for Jesus every day in a way that is good, acceptable and perfect, according to Romans 12:2. That, my friend, does not come by watching football, playing golf or by playing video games.
And while none of those things is sinful (unless you put them before your relationship with God), they certainly won’t put you in the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.
The only way to do that is to renew your mind, and the only way to discover the mind of Christ is through prayer and immersing yourself in God’s Word. Joyce Meyer says that “God offers us a new life, but His Word makes it clear that we must completely renew our mind (learn to think differently) before we will experience the new life He offers.
It could take a long time. Even the rest of your life.
But it’s well worth it.
My salvation came in 1989 at 23; but it wasn’t until recently that I began the process of allowing God to renew my mind. What took me so long, you might ask? I had to convince myself I really wanted the wonderful life that God offers, and that nothing else in this world could satisfy me like He can.
The only way to do that is to renew your mind, and the only way to discover the mind of Christ is through prayer and immersing yourself in God’s Word.
Once I realized Alabama football or St. Louis Cardinals’ baseball or watching movies on TV or even food couldn’t bring me happiness or fulfillment, I turned to Jesus. My only regret—the years I wasted with all that other stuff.
I now find myself hungry for God’s Word and what it means to live for Him. It’s a spiritual hunger I never have experienced before. I want desperately to know what God wants from me every day. I want desperately to know what I can do to help bring others into the kingdom. I want desperately for Him to use me for His purposes.
IHOP-KC’s Mike Bickle says that our lives are to give evidence that God’s will is good, acceptable and perfect. Our lives are to display the goodness of God’s will. He says that when refuse to be conformed to this world, then we “identify and resist the spirit of the world and its values. “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life—is not of the Father, but it is of the world.” (1 John 2:16).
We need to learn to think as God thinks, and that means we think according to God’s Word. As Meyer says, this process won’t take place automatically, but it is something we need to chose to do and it is a process that requires a commitment of time and effort.
“There are multitudes of people who believe in Jesus, but they never experience victory in their lives to a lack of knowledge or an unwillingness to apply the principles they have learned,” Meyer says. … The good news is that although it is quite a battle in the beginning, it does get easier. We learn to recognize wrong and destructive thinking much quicker, and because we have learned the value of thinking properly, we can immediately choose thoughts that benefit us and help us enjoy God’s plan for our lives.”
If I think it is impossible for me to ever behave the way Jesus did, then I will never do so. If we believe it is possible and begin to live it out, then purity and holiness will take hold in our lives. You won’t be perfect, but you will see a tremendous transformation.
And once there’s transformation, you will be a shining example to help others renew their minds. Can you imagine what that could lead to?
Confess these things out of your mouth every day:
“I am greatly loved by God (Rom. 1:7).
“I am strong in the Lord and the power of His might.” (Col. 1:11).
“I have favor with God.” (2 Cor. 13:14).
“I have the mind of Christ.” (Phil. 4:7).
“I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me.” (1 John 5:18).”
And, remember to do something today to rise up higher in your kingdom calling.
Step Out of the Boat is a ministry created by Charisma Media Content Development Editor Shawn A. Akers and dedicated to help Christ followers to become spiritual champions and come to a more intimate relationship with Jesus. With its articles, podcasts and other forms of media, Step Out of the Boat encourages Christ followers to daily reach to a higher level in their calling. Shawn is a 35-year veteran sportswriter, a published poet and he published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.