Here’s a confession. I’ve been trying to write about how to renew your mind for a while now with great difficulty. Then a pastor spoke on a similar subject and the Lord started bringing the thoughts together. So don’t forget about being a student of the word and being a part of a church community because the Lord will meet you there and speak to you!
It’s been said many times that people who talk to themselves might have a touch of madness. There are cases where sadly that’s true, but the reality is we all have internal thoughts that can be a bit conversational.
And I’ll say we all struggle from time to time with the nature of those thoughts, too.
Actually, the Bible shows us that the inner monologue we’re familiar with can be a good and productive thing. We see a great example of a healthy inner discussion from David in Psalm 42:5-6:
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
Another place we find this is in 1 Samuel 30:6. In that chapter, David, along with his men and their families had fled the constant chasing from Saul and were camped out in Ziklag, just across the border among the Philistines.
One day while David and his men were away raiding Philistine settlements, the Amalakites were conducting a raid of their own and had taken all of the wives and children David and his men had left at home. Then they burned Ziklag to the ground.
Of course, the men blamed David for all of it, even down to them living in Philistine territory to begin with. Plus, they were planning to stone him:
And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
Strengthen Yourself in the Lord
What does this have to do with the discipline (and challenge) of renewing your mind?
Great question. Let’s take a second look at that last sentence. It’s one of the most beautiful and encouraging statements you’ll ever read:
But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
No doubt you’ll agree that David’s situation was messy. I’ll wager you can remember times in your own life when your situations were messy, frustrating and painful.
Sometimes maybe even dire and hopeless, right?
If you and I are anything alike, we’re tempted to really feel that hopelessness and the overwhelming darkness that comes with it. You will have times of darkness, hopelessness and temptation. And the language you use within yourself while in that mess is either going to strengthen or cripple you in it.
Your flesh will want to respond to despair with more despairing thoughts. It’s your nature. With a little discipline however, you can respond as David did.
But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
See that? I can’t repeat it enough. To be fair though, I did warn you that it’s one of the most encouraging sentences ever!
The message here is to not wait until your waist deep in the muck of a life storm. Begin the discipline of strengthening yourself in the Lord.
And how? Just like David did. He spent time that can’t be counted with the Lord in worship and prayer.
Despite David’s shortcomings, he was intimate with God. You will also find that intimacy by regularly worshiping God, spending time in his word, and developing a healthy prayer life.
Captive Thoughts, Renewing your Mind and Sin
We just can’t talk about how to renew your mind without bringing up sin. Your flesh is definitely going to come into play within your thought life and that inner monologue.
Thoughts that need to be taken captive, or surrendered to Christ can be many things. Lust, greed, anger, resentfulness and a judgmental attitude come to mind.
Or is it just me that gets hit with all of that junk? Nah, I didn’t think so!
Well, I’m sorry to say there is no secret solution. Renewing your mind and surrendering your thoughts to Christ are spiritual disciplines that you’ll continue with throughout your life.
Sometimes you’ll rock at it, other times you’ll get rocked by it, and that’s ok. But I don’t want to leave you without some practical things you could put into practice right now to gain some ground in this battle.
Renew Your Mind
Paul writes that you are “to be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Ephesians 4:23).
So what better than God’s own word could I leave you with to renew your mind and bring your thoughts to Christ?
Here are 5 verses that I rely on when my thought life is threatening to wander off course. Or after it’s already gone there.
Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
1 Samuel 30:6 – “And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.“
Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 3:1-2 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Has this encouraged you to renew your mind and surrender your thoughts to the Lord? Please do share it with someone!