“And do not follow the customs of the present age, but be transformed by the entire renewal of your minds, so that you may learn by experience what God’s will is–that will which is good and beautiful and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 WNT).
The entire being of man (spirit, soul and body) was totally contaminated, corrupted, impaired and marred by the advent of sin into human race through the disobedience of Adam, the first man.
In one word, the result of sin was “death.” It was both spiritual and physical death! While the spiritual death (alienation from the Spirit and Life of God) was instant, the physical death was gradual but the process was set in motion instantly.
The Scripture clearly states that “…In Adam all die.” (1 Cor. 15:22 NKJV). And that “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12 NKJV).
Consequently, we all came into the world spiritually dead, being alienated from the life of God. One of the devastating effects of man’s alienation from the life of God is a futile, darkened, corrupt or carnal mind.
The mind is the most dominant part of the soul. It is the seat of intellect, knowledge, reasoning, perception, judgement, emotions or feelings.
After the fall, all men began to walk and operate “in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” (Eph. 4:17-18 NKJV).
Without God’s life in the human spirit, the soul is thrown into total darkness; for God’s life is the light of men (1 John 1:4).
The Lord Jesus said, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12:46 NKJV).
It is only those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour who now have God’s life in their spirits and thus have God’s light in their souls.
The minds of the unbelievers are still blinded by Satan, the god of this world. Therefore, every unbeliever is walking and abiding in darkness.
Apostle Paul points out this truth in 2 Corinthians 4:
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJV).
While the unbelievers are spiritually blind and dead in their sins, the born-again believers are spiritually enlightened and alive in Christ.
The Scripture states: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Eph. 2:1-2 NKJV).
“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12 NKJV).
The born-again believer is a New Creation – a divine, dynamic, holy and living new being or self in Christ.
The Scripture clearly states: “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17 RSV).
Why then does it take a very long time for the world to see or notice significant changes or transformation in the lives of many believers?
Even in some believers today, nobody even notices the departure of any old thing or the arrival of anything new in their lives. What is responsible for this?
The unrenewed mind! The carnal mind!
At the new birth, the believer receives a new spirit but not a new soul and body. While the believer’s born-again spirit now possesses the mind of Christ, his soul still possesses the same futile, darkened, corrupt and carnal mind, the mind of the flesh. This is why believers can be double-minded (Jam. 1:8).
Every born-again believer still possesses or retains the mind of the flesh which is consistently hostile, hardened and rebellious to God’s Word.
The Scripture testifies that: “the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be.” (Rom. 8:7 WEB).
Therefore, though you are born again, if your mind is not renewed; your lifestyle, character, conduct or attitude will still remain what it was before you became born again.
The carnal mind is set or fixed on the things of the flesh and things of this world. It is a self-centred, self-reliant or self-dependent mind!
All the values, mindsets, desires, principles, conducts, patterns and passions of the old sinful and selfish man are embedded in the carnal mind. Therefore, until you consciously put off all these and begin to imbibe that of Christ, nobody will notice any significant transformation in your life.
This is why the Scripture commands: “And do not follow the customs of the present age, but be transformed by the entire renewal of your minds, so that you may learn by experience what God’s will is–that will which is good and beautiful and perfect.” (Rom. 12:2 WNT).
The renewing of your mind is the continuous process of getting rid, clearing away, or putting off the remains, imprints, mindsets, desires, values, principles, patterns or passions of the old sinful and corrupt man (your old self) which are still stored in your mind after you are born again.
It is also the process of re-setting, re-programming or re-installing your mind with the truths of God’s Word.
It is simply putting off the old man’s mindsets (self-centred attitudes) and putting on the new man’s mindsets (Christ-centred attitudes). It is a continuous process. You must continue to renew your mind until you leave this world.
Renewing, restoring, sanctifying, or resetting your physical mind according to the truths of God’s Word is a continuous, progressive and dynamic process. It is your personal responsibility that you cannot shirk or shrink from if you want to be progressively transformed into the likeness of Christ in your emotions, actions, conduct or character.
It is as your physical mind is being renewed that your life will be changed from glory to glory. If the way you think, perceive, judge, view, see or understand things don’t change; your confessions, emotions, actions, conduct or character will not change.
The Scripture states: “For as he thinketh within himself, so is he…” (Prov. 23:7 ASV).
Beloved, although your spirit is totally redeemed, restored and sanctified at the instant of experiencing the New Birth, your soul (will, mind and emotions) and your body are not yet totally redeemed, restored and sanctified.
What Jesus Christ purchased for you with His precious blood is total redemption for your entire being – spirit, soul and body (1 Thess. 5:23). However, while your spirit has experienced it fully, your soul and body are still in the process of experiencing it in full measure.
This is why the Scripture speaks of the day of redemption or glorification in the future (Luke 21:28, Eph. 1:14, 4:30), and that the end of your faith is the salvation of your soul (Jam. 1:21, 1 Pet. 1:9) and the redemption of your body (Rom. 8:23, Phil. 3:20-21).
Your soul gradually experiences the redemption Jesus Christ has purchased for you as your mind is renewed by the truths of God’s Word.
How do you get your carnal mind renewed or sanctified?
Consider carefully the following practical steps!
First, Analyse and Understand Your Mindsets:
After experiencing the New Birth, the process of renewing your mind starts with you understanding what your physical mind has been set or fixed upon. Your thoughts, words, emotions and actions are controlled, influenced, and directed from your mind.
Your life goes in the direction of your mindsets. It is therefore very crucial for you to thoroughly examine your mindsets or mentalities and then contrast them with that of Christ revealed in the New Testament.
Friend, you need to discover your mindset, belief or philosophy on every issue of life or subject one after the other and compare them with what the New Testament teaches on the subject.
What is your mindset on money, position, power, fame, beauty, relationship, or things of this life?
It is your mindset that is making you act and react the way you do! Therefore, begin to apply yourself to discovering the mindsets you have that are contrary to that of Christ, so that you may begin to deal with them effectively (Rom. 8:5-6, Phil. 2:1-11, 2 Cor. 10:3-6).
Learn about more practical steps to renewing your mind in the second part of this piece!
Prayer: My Dear Holy Spirit, expose to me and help me to discover and deal with every mindset, belief, value, or philosophy that I still hold but which are contrary to that of Christ, in Jesus’ name. Amen.