September 3, 2021
You don’t have to accept whatever thoughts fall into your head…did you catch that? I’ll repeat another way. If a thought isn’t helpful you can reject and replace it. We are not at the mercy of whatever we think. We have the power to change our thoughts. That is the essence of renewing your mind.
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
Have you ever had a day where you woke up on the “wrong side of the bed”?
I recently had a day that started with a grouchy mindset. I woke up tired which is always a poor way to begin. Then I rolled into breakfast with disappointment because I had to eat oatmeal because I didn’t have any strawberries left for yogurt and fruit (my preferred breakfast). I mismanaged my time debating over breakfast and then was rushed to get ready for work. I didn’t have time to properly fix my hair so that led to some pretty nasty self-reflections. Then I arrived a work with a sour look on my face and was immediately bombarded by toxic gossip. I was on the downhill rollercoaster with no breaks.
Can you relate to this type of downward spiral in your thinking? I believe that most of us struggle to capture negative thoughts and renew them according to God’s word. It is impossible to just stop thinking negatively. We must find and replace negative thinking with positive thoughts and the promises of God.
I love the thoughts from Barb Raveling.
If this list wasn’t enough to begin a practice of renewing the mind we could add; all the fruits of the spirit from Galatians.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
I need a lot more kindness and goodness in my life, Amen?
So how do we actually renew our minds?
Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 NIV We are constantly being bombarded by input from our world. We need divine protection from the Holy Spirit to help us keep negative thoughts from sinking in. We start renewing our minds by asking for help.
Every time I read the word of God it teaches me something new. I make an effort to apply what I learn in my day-to-day. For example, Proverbs 27:6 NLT says, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” I consider this verse when my husband tells me something that is meant to help me grow but might sting initially.
If I told you NOT to think about a purple elephant, you would immediately think about a purple elephant. Similarly, if you are thinking the lie that you are ugly, fat, and lazy you simply cannot stop thinking it. You must find the lies and replace them with the truth. For example, for the lie listed above you could speak the following:
Another practice that I haven’t tried but I have heard is very effective is “Truth Journaling.” Why and How to Truth Journal by Arabah Joy.
What we watch, read, and listen to becomes the “programming” of our minds. It is no mistake that TV shows are referred to as TV Programs. The same is true of any broadcast media. When we engage with any form of content it creates a pattern in our mind so we have to be incredibly selective of what we expose ourselves to in order to truly renew our minds. If you want to have a more joy-filled life, stop watching shows that focus on crime, war, death, and destruction. You might be thinking but I also don’t want to be uninformed! I guarantee that whatever “news” you need to be aware of will find its way into your life without you going out and looking for doom and gloom. Trust me. I used to watch the news daily and I felt dread. When I stopped I had a much more hopeful outlook. I still got the headlines but it wasn’t on repeat in my mind throughout the day. Be careful what you consistently allow into your mind.
It is hard to capture our thoughts and change them but it isn’t impossible with God’s help. When we commit ourselves to read the word, replacing lies with the truth, and being careful about what we allow into our minds we can renew our minds. We can live lives full of peace, joy, kindness, goodness, and self-control. What is one thing you are going to start doing today to renew your mind?