"Do not conform to the patterns 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
"There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect." Ronald Reagan "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."
A metamorphosis is defined as a change in the form of a thing or person into a completely different one, by nature or supernatural means. To be renewed is to start again, transform. Change is to make or become a different substance entirely. This is what we are going to examine more closely; change. While metamorphosis, renew, and change are related, renewal and metamorphosis will not take place without a change of mind. When one changes one's mind, it is manifested in a change in behavior, thoughts and actions.
"Paul, in the scripture above tells his audience to "be transformed," a Greek word from which the English word metamorphosis is derived. He was urging them to change their minds to be more like God. The believer is to have a metamorphosis by making his outward appearance and lifestyle consistent with Who is within him/her and what he/she becomes internally. This metamorphosis comes by renewing one's mind and replacing erroneous thought patterns with the truths found in God's Word. So, just change your mind. Sounds simple. Right?
Well, it is not simple. Change does not come easily for anyone, and it is not easily sustained. All too often change is avoided or resisted because it requires serious thought, ongoing self-discipline, and seamless follow through. Just thinking about change can be intimidating. Maintaining change makes the decision to act or to be different even more difficult. In many ways we have been conditioned to follow the crowd; albeit the crowd of our choosing. It is the path of least resistance that we are looking for. Living in the past is appealing for some as it requires too much of them to begin anew. We sometimes "hitch our wagon" to people who are going places or to those who are standing still, or to those simply marching in place. We then have the option of blaming others for our progress or lack thereof; for moving in an upwardly mobile fashion or for our inability to make a move at all or to misstep. We desire the fruits of positive change, but we can do without investing all the time and effort to make change happen and to keep it.
Real, lasting change necessitates vigilant action. A 360 degree change, requires the mind; the heart. When I think of weight loss, for example; I have lost and gained many pounds over the years. The question is why? Answer: I did not embrace change. I rendered lip service to something that required a change of heart. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21. Emphasis will be put on what you value. Also, change will be short-lived if what you are trying to achieve is not something you have internalized to be worthwhile and doable. On some level, I did not believe that I could attain my weight loss goal. You will not be successful if you approach any undertaking believing that you cannot do it. You won't. Remember the old self-fulfilling prophecy? "A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that causes itself to be true due to the behavior (including the act of predicting it) of the believer." In essence, if you don't believe it, you will perform in that fashion, and you will not achieve it.
With the caterpillar, it is a process of nature that brings about this amazing transformation from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly, and it is free to experience a totally different existence. The lesson we can take from this is that we can mimic the totality of change. We can also envision and appreciate what it would be like to experience a metamorphosis in our lives brought on by the renewal of our minds. The butterfly cannot go back to crawling when it can now fly. A complete change in the right direction for us opens doors of opportunities for growth and fulfillment that once experienced would be too sad and irresponsible if not maintained on our part.
Unlike the caterpillar, we have to make the changes and keep our minds focused on the changes we have made and continually discipline ourselves to maintain our new way of being. Sometimes you might have to act as if you are completely changed until your mind catches up. Transformation is a process. It is a matter of being transformed into a new person by changing the way you think. Most of us want to move forward in our lives and to accomplish some of the goals we have set. However, if we have a mindset (thinking) that limits us, we will not get far. "Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the new wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. Matthew 9:17. Thinking the same way that you have for years and doing the same old things and even being wishy washy about that will not result in a breakthrough. There is power in a made up mind. It can embrace and sustain change.
"Our mind is the control tower of our life." Dr. Charles Stanley. What we think about is what controls us. How many of us have spent (wasted) too much time wondering where you could be or what you could have accomplished if: You were smarter, beautiful, taller, born in an affluent family, talented, had lots of money, were a better mother, spouse, sibling, worker, Christian, in better health, aunt, sister, brother; had a better house, job, etc., blah, blah, blah and on and on. Let me respond, you and I will never know the answer to this. We have to work with what God has allowed us to have and be okay about it. "But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9. I am encouraged by Joni Eareckson Tada, who due to an accident became a quadriplegic at the age of 17. She is an accomplished wife, speaker, author, singer, etc. She is too busy living and helping others to sit around thinking negative thoughts and feeling sorry for herself. Her advice is to those who are feeling down on themselves for having a disability or other life challenges is: "Get up, shower, get dressed, go out and find somebody worse off and serve them; meet that need." Amen to that!
"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7. Get rid of useless mental clutter; liberate your mind, the rest of you will follow.
1. Purposely set your mind on things that are beneficial. We have all said, "my mind wanders" sometimes. Usually where it wanders is not always to a good place or a productive place. We can control that. The mind is a place of reasoning, intellect and intensions, and it also where spiritual transformation takes place. Our behavior begins in the mind. What we feed our mind, will result in the way we behave. So, it makes sense that we would want to fill it with a healthy and steady diet of goods thoughts, plans, God's Word, prayer, praise, gratitude, etc. Don't put garbage in there, or garbage will come out. It's like filling your refrigerator with only starches when you have diabetes. It will not promote good health. Rather, feed your mind what it needs to be healthy, strong, and open to renewal. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is nobel whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8.
2. Do not underestimate the power of the mind. The mind is also where self-defeating thoughts and mental oppression start. We store mental clutter there and it weighs us down and distracts us and prevents productive activity. All sorts of things emanate from this environment; bad habits, addiction, low self-esteem, poor choices, etc. It is where we get stuck. Even though there are no natural constraints on the human mind, we humans put up the blockades ourselves. Nothing physically holds us back, but our thinking does not allow us to be free. Do we have any control? Can we change this? Absolutely. Take control of your thoughts. Confront your thoughts, both negative and positive with the truth. You can break a bad habit, you can overcome an addiction. You are not beyond hope and you can learn from poor choices and not repeat them. You are filled with hope. You can begin anew.
Feed your mind these truths. You are not the same. You have changed. Hold your head up high and walk in the light of the truth. "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17.
3. Embrace your newfound freedom. Stop allowing people to shape you into their mold. It is not compatible with your true identity to allow anyone to influence you into old behaviors. Following the crowd does not suit you anymore. You have been freed from those old thought patterns, insecurities, inadequacies, and inferiorities to become confident and fruitful. On your own you may be able to release toxicity from your thoughts or even to dismiss thoughts that are contrary to the new you. But, for how long? Let's take Eve in the garden of Eden. She was okay until a master deceiver came along and changed her thought patterns. She foolishly believed that she would experience freedom and find greater independence from God. We all know the story. She was wrong. As a result of this poor decision, she, Adam and the whole human race became enslaved. Embrace what it takes to free your mind. A radical approach is needed to secure our freedom. This might sound bold; but, here goes. "Put your thoughts and choices under God's authority, will and submission." Remember, God had a plan for us before we were born. When we elevate our thoughts to see the world through God's viewpoint, we cannot go wrong. When we live as He instructs, we are free. The best part is that He will help us to remain that way. The Lord wants us to walk in freedom. John 8:31-32.
4. Change your mind for good. Do not waver. Do not look back. Like the caterpillar, you have been changed to a new life. Your heart must be in it. You need not wonder if it is better. Of course, it is. When we discover and live in God's will for our lives, we can enjoy the fullness and abundance He promised. We are free to become the person He created us to be. Unlike Lot's wife in Genesis 19 who looked backed and became a pillar of salt, keep moving forward knowing that you are on the pathway to freedom. You are now different. You are free to experience all the blessings that this change brings. Act accordingly. Get your heart and mind aligned and decide for the last time that you have been changed and with God's assistance you are not going backwards.
"Only when we live within the Father's protective boundaries can we experience the freedom purchased for us." Rev. Charles Stanley
Here's to renewing our minds to live free and productive lives!
Note: Please join me on October 26, 2019, at the Hyatt in Cross County. Together, we will experience making each chapter of our lives the best! Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be served. To reserve a spot, get info by sending me an email to email@example.com. Thank you.