The Way to Change
If you’ve received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have been changed in your inner person. You’ve also been awoken to the things of God, making real change possible. What’s next? We may think that’s it and that automatically everything is going to change for us, but we’d be wrong. Once our hearts have been changed, and before our behavior changes, we need to change our minds. That’s what Paul is saying in…
“That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-22
“We only learn to behave ourselves in the presence of God.” CS Lewis
A New Mind
It is of key importance to realize that when God replaced our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh that are uncalloused and sensitive to him, it wasn’t just a change of heart, it was a change…of mind. He is changing our minds. It became possible to know him and his ways and choose to believe his truth. That’s why in just a few verses, words pertaining to the disposition of the mind are used 8 times: Taught, truth, learning, understanding, thinking and so on. Just like the ABC of how unregenerate people’s lives unfold, so it is with us, but in reverse: Heart, head, habits. A) We’ve been recreated to be like God in our new self B) We’re taught in Christ and learn a new way of life, which is then C) Truly righteous and devoted. Martin Luther said, “There are three conversions necessary for the Christian life: the conversion of the heart, the mind and the purse.” Heart, head, habits.
God is Changing Our Minds
Because of what Jesus has done, he has not only released us from the guilt of our former lives in sin, but its power over us as well. And that freedom comes from the truth which will set us free, as Jesus said. He is changing our minds. In verse 20 of Ephesians 4 we see that the truth is not just a matter of believing the truth about Jesus Christ, but it’s a way of life that we’re taught. So just like in 2 Corinthians 4:16 it’s not something that we do, it is something that is happening to us. You are undergoing the renewal of your mind. He is changing our minds.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe God for the changes that are happening to us. I can imagine that for the Ephesians who were “formerly Gentiles in the flesh,” who are now told that they’re not Gentiles and not to walk like the Gentiles, it could be hard to think of themselves differently. They live in the same place, do a lot of the same things, know the same people, but the biggest change in the universe has happened to them.
So What Should I Do?
But now what should we do? Spiritual disciplines? Tried and true “steps” to a happy and victorious life? Positive thinking? Hypnotism? No, the next frontier is the attitude of your mind. Just like you were saved by faith in your inner person, so you will be in your mind, by faith. Let him change your mind. Know it, believe it, behave it.
As a believer, our minds will be renewed even if we’re passive about it, it’s being done, but we can actively submit the attitude of our minds to the truth in Christ and we’ll find that our behavior will fall in line as we remain in the truth and are retrained in the truth. Because, can we be honest? Even as believers, we pretty much call our own thoughts the truth. In our minds, what we think about things is the way that it is. But we have to submit our thoughts to the truth. We can even be in the Word, but it won’t make a difference if we’re not under the Word. Let him change your mind.
Let God Change Your Mind
The fact is that we are imprisoned to our own minds; the four walls are built by our predispositions. But if we’re in humble conversation with God’s truth in the Bible and his Spirit in us, he confronts our thoughts and says, “What makes you think that? What’s your authority on the matter? Why do you say that to yourself, when I say this about it?” Look, nobody talks to you…more than you. Nobody lies to you…more than you. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we tell ourselves what we think is the truth, but it may not be. When we think about a friend or family member, we tell ourselves what we think is the truth, but it may not be. When we think about an antagonist or an enemy, we tell ourselves what we think the truth is, but it may not be. The truth will set you free, it will. But we must believe the truth to experience and enjoy that freedom. So we must preach the gospel to ourselves throughout the day. Let him change your mind.
A doctor said to his patient, “Here’s the hard truth. You’re in terrible shape. You’ve got to do something about it. First, since your wife cook’s, ask her to make more nutritious meals. Stop working like a dog. Also, inform your wife you’re going to make a budget, and she has to stick to it. And have her keep the kids off your back so you can relax. Unless you make up your mind to have some changes like that, you’ll probably be dead in a month.” “Doc,” the patient said, “this would sound more official coming from you. Could you please call my wife and give her those instructions?” When the fellow got home, his wife rushed to him. “I talked to your doctor! Poor man, you’ve only got thirty days to live!”
There are changes that we should make (Paul insists on it in the Lord!) in order to live in the fullness of life that God has recreated us for, in true righteousness and devotion. I know that God is changing your mind. Let it take hold and take over. That change of mind comes from the change that God has worked out in our nature and it will, given time and encouragement, change everything about us.