It’s easy to look at my weaknesses and think, I can’t believe how messed up I am. But then I look back at the 13-year-ago me and think, But at least I’m not as messed up as I used to be. 13 years ago I began a discipline that’s done more for my walk with God than anything I’ve ever done other than reading my Bible and prayer.
That discipline is the renewing of the mind. Today I want to take a little time to answer some frequently asked questions about the renewing of the mind. If you’re not familiar with the renewing of the mind, read this post first: How to Renew Your Mind. For more info on the renewing of the mind, look at the renewing of the mind project tab or check out my book, The Renewing of the Mind Project.
How do you know when you need to renew your mind?
Renew your mind whenever you feel the stress that corresponds to your goal. The first hint of annoyance if you’re working on anger. The tiniest urge to eat outside your boundaries if you’re working on eating. The initial reluctance to have your quiet time if you’re trying to have consistent quiet times.
How is it different than asking God for help?
Our usual strategy for goals is to go to God and say, “Help me, God!” There’s nothing wrong with that, but the purpose of the renewing of the mind is to see life from His perspective, not get Him to fix life from our perspective.
When you renew your mind–with Bible verses, truth journaling, questions, Scripture meditation, or anything else–it’s usually a time of deep fellowship with Him as you give up your own ideas about life and take on His ideas about life, willing to do whatever He asks you to do.
Why is it important to see life from His perspective?
Do you remember how Jesus said, “My burden is light”? That’s true. If we’re only concerned with doing the Father’s will, life is pretty simple.
It’s when we take on the cultural burdens that life gets difficult. Burdens like I need to be successful. I need to be skinny. I need to be perfect. I need to get the best possible life so I can be happy.
Those beliefs fuel our negative emotions and bad habits. When we take off those lies and put on the truth, we experience the fruit of the Spirit and we feel hopeful about pressing on again.
What should you expect when you go to God?
It depends on how much of a stronghold your emotion or habit is. Sometimes you’ll see a change right away. But if the habit or emotion is deeply entrenched, you probably won’t experience a lot of transformation right off the get-go. It’s kind of like tackling a huge cleaning job on one of those hoarder TV shows.
Everything is so messy in the beginning that you can clean for hours and barely make a dent. Or you make a huge dent right away, but then someone comes along (you) and messes up the house again.
If you give up early on, you’ll never see the beauty of the house. But if you persevere, eventually it will get clean. You just need to persevere, even when it seems like it’s not working.
The nice thing is that we don’t need to clean the house alone. God is with us and “cleaning” (renewing) is a project that brings us closer together as we turn to Him for insight, strength, and comfort.
Will it ever be fun?
Some of you will enjoy it right from the beginning. I did. Even though it was painful, I loved those times with God because it felt like He was right there beside me counseling me.
Others of you, though, won’t be excited about it in the beginning. It will be a dying-to-yourself experience. Especially if you don’t enjoy thinking or writing.
It’s kind of like exercise, though, for people who don’t like exercise. If you keep at it, you’ll grow to love it. You just have to persevere.
Question: How has God changed your life through the renewing of the mind?