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.
This is why the Scripture 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).
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 that have God’s life in their spirits and thus light in their souls.
The minds of the unbelievers have been blinded by Satan, the god of this world. Therefore, every unbeliever is walking and abiding in darkness.
Paul states: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 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.” (2 Cor. 4:3-4 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 any significant change or transformation in the lives of many believers?
Sadly, 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 or a new 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. That 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 the same as it was when you were not yet born again. The carnal mind is set or fixed on the things of the flesh and of the 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. 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 you to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:2 NKJV).
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.
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 attitudes, conducts, emotions or actions 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). While your spirit has experienced it fully, your soul and body are still in the process of experiencing it in full measure.
That 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 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 can deal with them effectively (Rom. 8:5-6, Phil. 2:1-11, 2 Cor. 10:3-6).
Second, Break the Fallow Ground of your Mind: Before you became born again, your mind was left to be cultivated and seeded by the corrupt old man who once lived in you before he was crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6).
Consequently, your mind is overgrown with diverse weeds, tares and thorns. No matter the good seed you sow in this kind of mind, it will be choked and rendered unfruitful.
Consider what Jesus said about the good seeds that fell among the thorns in the Parable of the Sower.
“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matt. 13:22 NKJV).
Therefore, before you can expect God’s Word to bear fruit in your life you need to first of all break the fallow ground of your mind by ploughing and tilling it and eradicating all the weeds, tares and thorns that have been growing in it (Jer. 4:3).
How do you break, plough or till your mind so that you don’t sow among thorns?
Identify the thorns, take hold of them, and uproot them completely!
You need to identify the cares and worries of this life, the pleasure and delight, the glamour, lure and deceitfulness of riches that are suffocating or choking God’s Word in your life, thereby making it unfruitful. Then, consciously, constantly, and consistently deal with them until you have completely removed or eradicated all of them from your mind.
The Word of God is like a fire and a hammer. God said: “Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jer. 23:29 NKJV).
Therefore, having identified the thorns that are choking the good seeds in your mind, confront them with the truths of God’s Word constantly and consistently until they are totally removed and consumed out of your mind.
The Word of God is also like water that can wash, cleanse, purify or sanctify your mind from every filthiness or pollution of the flesh and the spirit (Heb. 10:22, Eph. 5:25-26). Therefore, you need to constantly and consistently expose, soak, and immerse your mind in God’s Word.
Jesus said: “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3 NKJV).
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17 NKJV).
Third, Cultivate your Mind with Good Seeds (God’s Word): Naturally, when a farmland is broken, ploughed, or tilled to eradicate unwanted weeds or thorns, it has to be immediately cultivated and sowed with good seeds lest it becomes overgrown with weeds again.
Similarly, if you don’t cultivate or sow your mind with good seeds (the truths of God’s Word); it will naturally overgrow with weeds and thorns. Therefore, as you are putting away the imprints, programs or mindsets of the old man in your mind, you must also see to it that you are putting on, imbibing or inculcating into your mind the mentalities or mindsets of Christ.
How do you do this?
Read, listen to, study, meditate in, memorize, confess, sing and pray God’s Word constantly until it begins to rule, control, dominate, influence and direct your thoughts, words, emotions and actions (Eph. 4:17-24, Jam. 1:21-25, Deut. 6:6-9, Josh. 1:8).
This is what the Scripture means by saying: “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24 NKJV).
Lastly, Daily Guard with Diligence the Gateways to your Mind: It is a waste of time and futile exercise to be seeking to renew your mind while exposing it daily to the garbage of this world. You must diligently guard your mind by constantly turning your eyes and ears away from anything that is impure, corrupt, ungodly and unedifying.
That is why the Scripture admonishes: “Take heed what you hear.” (Mark 4:24 NKJV).
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:23 NKJV).
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” (Philip. 4:8 NKJV).
Beloved, what are the urgent and necessary adjustments or changes that you need to make in order to make significant progress in the process of renewing your mind?
Make a list of the weeds, tares and thorns (the cares, worries or anxieties of this life) that have overgrown in your mind which need to be eradicated without any further delay. Then, list your diligent plans on how to get rid of them all one after the other. Do it now; don’t postpone it!
Also, make a solid plan on how you will begin from today to cultivate your mind daily or regularly with good seeds (God’s Word). Don’t just say you will do it when it is convenient for you. Fix a definite time of the day when you will consciously and effectively cultivate your mind with the truths of God’s Word. If you don’t schedule time for it; you may never get to do it.
Moreover, you need to make a list of things you will stop hearing or listening to which you have identified as the sources broadcasting or inculcating evil seeds, weeds or tares into your mind. Then, commit all your plans, decisions and resolutions to God, trusting Him to strengthen you daily to follow them through.