But what if they told you to renew your mind? Would you know what they wanted? Probably not.
The renewing of the mind doesn’t have a clear protocol like a quiet time has. Maybe because it’s so messy.
The Renewing of the Mind
With a quiet time, you know you’ve done it when you’ve “read your Bible and prayed.” With the renewing of the mind, you know you’ve done it when you’re seeing life–and more specifically, your current situation–from a biblical perspective.
It might take a simple prayer to get to that point, a long truth journaling session, a sermon, a Bible passage, a chart, a visit with a wise friend, a five minute run-through of some questions, or a one day retreat with God.
In order to be a true renewing of the mind experience, our thinking needs to be transformed. And in order for our thinking to be transformed, our minds need to be actively engaged.
Listening to a sermon while planning our goals for the week isn’t going to cut it. Neither is having a quiet time just so we can check it off our list for the day.
A Taking Off. A Putting On.
We’re taking off that old self and putting on the new self. Taking off the lies and putting on the truth. Taking off a cultural perspective and putting on a biblical perspective. Taking off what we learned growing up and putting on what we learned in the Bible.
So we’re not just reading the Bible–we’re taking everything we’ve learned in the Bible, talking it all over with God, and actively trying to look at life through His eyes.
You can’t do that without the Word. You can’t do it without a willingness–and a desire–to change. And you can’t do it without prayer.
In a sense, the Holy Spirit is acting as our counselor, peeling away the lies, so we can see what life is really like and how we should respond to it.
When I renew my mind, I usually start out frazzled and unhappy, thinking certain things have to happen in order for me to be happy. I usually end up peaceful and content, willing to live any sort of life for God–not always, but more often than not.
God has used this discipline in my own life and the lives of countless others to help them break free from bad habits, sins, and idolatry and to help them grow closer to Him. I’m excited to talk about it in future posts.
How to Renew Your Mind: More Help!
5/7/15 Update: If you’d like more info on how to renew your mind, I’ve recently published a book on the subject called The Renewing of the Mind Project.
It includes lots of examples and ideas for how to renew your mind, plus over 250 Bible verses you can use to renew your mind while working on breaking habits, letting go of your negative emotions, and pursuing goals.
It also includes 48 sets of questions you can use to have conversations with God about your habits, emotions, and goals. For a sample of the questions and Bible verses, click on this link: How to Stop Being Annoyed.
For more posts on different ways to renew your mind click here.