“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2 NIV).
January is the time for New Year’s resolutions, right? I am considering joining a gym and need to get in better physical shape. You may seek to spend more time with family, find a new job, etc. All of these are fine goals. I read a recent article that indicated that most New Year’s resolutions will be abandoned or broken by January 19. Wow!
Most New Year’s resolutions are addressing a physical need such as my desire to get in better physical shape. Some may address a mental need such as a desire to slow down and work less. Regardless, we want a new self to correspond with the new year.
Millions of books have been written about military battles in the past. The greatest battle ever fought and the one with the most significance for each of us is being fought with or without your awareness in your very own mind. The best way to obtain a new self is to focus on our spiritual health, and the most important component of our spiritual health is our mind because it is in our mind that we tell ourselves who we are.
I am reading, The Four Voices, by Patrick Morley. This is an excellent book and in it, Mr. Morley helps the reader to understand that there are four voices competing for attention in our mind: the world, the flesh, the devil, and the Holy Spirit. The author provides useful and practical advice on how to identify which voice is that of the Holy Spirit.
It is important to identify the Voice of the Spirit because that allows us to renew our minds and claim the promise of Romans 12:2. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
We all have a desire to “fit in” to society. We typically seek to conform to the ways of the secular world. However, if we want to be transformed, we can not also be conformed. On earth, our fleshly tendency is to stop up treasure on earth, rather than in heaven. On earth, we think that the first will always be first, rather in heaven where the opposite is true.
When we conform to the world, there are many benefits with educational opportunities, employment, social advancement, etc. However, it is important that we do not conform to the world to determine wisdom. In the world, we determine what is wisdom in our minds. By renewing our minds, we better understand that true wisdom comes from God and His Word.
1 Corinthians 3:18-19 reads, “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness.”
The best New Year’s resolution is to change the way you think. However, please realize that you can not do this alone. Ephesians 4:23 says, “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”
Renewing your thoughts begins by knowing and living the Truth. You may already know these famous words of Jesus: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
But did you know that the night before Jesus went to the cross, He prayed, “Use the truth to make them holy. Your words are truth” (John 17:17).
God is the Truth and to know Him and live in Him and for Him is the only way to be complete. The best New Year’s resolution has nothing to do with willpower. The best New Year’s resolution is to study and live Scripture, which is Truth.
The more we get to know Jesus, the more Truth (i.e., God) we will know. As we know more Truth, we are better able to reject the lies from other sources. Now, we can renew our minds and with the help of the Spirit we can be transformed more into the likeness of Christ. So, the Truth really does set you free!
Prayer: Thank you for the Truth that is found in Scripture. Forgive us for the times we do not seek You first and Your righteousness. Please help us to yoke ourselves to Your Spirit to renew our minds. Amen!
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist under the direction of the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is concurrently in training to become a Lay Minister under the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He enjoys writing inspirational Christian blogs at toddshupe.com.
Gulf South Men is a regional ministry coming along side churches and men’s ministries by offering Education, Training, Resources, Men’s Events and Mentoring to help churches build effective men’s ministry and make disciples for Christ.
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