Creflo Dollar - The Necessity Of Renewing The Mind
Now, you know I said to you before that the most important thing you can do as a human being is to be born again, to make Jesus your Lord and Savior. But as a born-again Christian, the most important thing you can do as a born-again Christian, is to renew your mind. Renewing the mind is not a one-time event. It's a lifetime process. And when you renew your mind, you're exchanging your thoughts for God's thoughts, your ways for God's ways. You renew your mind, you're taking the way you think about something, and you're lining it and putting it on top of God's Word. And if your way of thinking doesn't line up with that Word, then you allow that Word to change your way of thinking. You don't go and try to change the Word. You allow the Word to change your way of thinking. I am saying to you tonight that it is vital that we renew our mind.
I'm not putting this out as if it is optional or something that if one day you decide you wanna do go ahead and do it. I am saying it is vital for you to renew your mind, and so in Romans chapter 12, verse 1, it says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service". And I said to you last week that this is a request for dedication, even down to your body. You know, you've heard people say, "You know, I wasn't there last night, but I was with you in spirit". Well, God wants you to be there in body, so he's asking, in view of this grace and in view of this mercy, he's asking for dedication. But then, look at verse 2. He says, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God". And verse 3 says, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think".
Now, let's focus in on verse 2, and I want you to look at this. Look at verse 2 in the Amplified, and there's a lot going on here in verse 2. I mean, it'd do us good to spend all our time on it. He says, "Do not be conformed to this world," and then he has in parentheses "this age". Now, you understand there's a difference between the world and the earth, okay? And I wanna make that distinction tonight. He says don't be conformed. When you're conformed, you are in harmony with something. When you conform, you are in compliance with something, and so he's asking do not harmonize and do not comply with this world. He's not talking about with the earth. He's talking about with this world, or with this age, with this age. Don't comply with this age. Don't comply with the things that are going on in this age. Don't harmonize with the things that are going on with this age. Don't harmonize with the way of thinking in this age. Don't harmonize or comply with the way of doing things, a systematic way of doing things in this world.
He says don't harmonize or comply with that. He said, "Fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs," he says, "but be ye transformed". Come on. "But be transformed (be changed)". So, I mean, if you wanna change, the way to do it is to be transformed by renewing your mind, by the entire renewal of your mind, by its new ideas and by its new attitudes. So, if you haven't renewed your mind, then you're still in conformity with the ways of the world. If you haven't renewed your mind, then you're still complying with the way of the world. And you can be a born-again Christian and still be in compliance with this age, with this worldly way, or this way, this systematic way of doing things, this age.
Now, I wanna stop here. I wanna look at the word "world" for a moment and spend a little time on this. The word "world," again, it's not talking about Earth, but most of the time it's talking about age, or it's a systematic, it's a system. It's a system. The world's way of doing things is a system hostile to God, a system that is hostile to God. If it's not lining up with the Word of God, it's going against God. And God is saying, "Don't comply with that". Look at James chapter 4:4. I believe he will explain it better here. This is something that got my attention this morning when I was looking over this teaching. James chapter 4:4. He says, "You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world," the friendship of the world, "is enmity with God"? So, he says when you are... he calls compliance with the world, he calls harmonizing with the world's thoughts and how they do things, he calls that friendship. And he says to comply and to harmonize with the world, with this age is enmity with God, and he does not want you to be enmity with God.
Now, it's important that you understand that change isn't change until you've changed, and you've got to understand how important it is not to comply and harmonize with the ways of this world. 2 Corinthians chapter 10:3 said something here. I wanna read it to you out of the King James, and then I wanna read it to you out of NIV. I want you to see if you'll pick this up. King James first, and then the NIV. 2 Corinthians 10:3. He says, "For though we walk in the flesh," underline that, though we walk in the flesh, "we do not war after the flesh". So, right here he's talking about though we walk in the flesh we don't war after the flesh, but look at the same Scripture in the NIV. Notice what he says here in the NIV. He says, "For though we live in the world". All right, so one translation says "though we walk in the flesh". The other one says we live in the world.
What is he saying here? When you comply and harmonize to the world, you are walking in the flesh. When you all comply and harmonize with the system that's hostile to God, he says you are living in the flesh. A lot of times people don't really understand how to define worldliness. What does it mean to be worldly? How do you know when you're complying with the world and thus living in the flesh? Well, I'll show you. Look at 1 John chapter 2:16. I want you to look at this in the King James Version, and then I wanna look at it in The Message. 1 John 2, verse 16. What does it mean to be in the world? How would I even know that I am in the world and operating worldly? We use that all the time.
We say, "Oh, that's worldly. Oh, that music worldly". Or "That dress is worldly". How do you know if something's worldly? Well, verse 16 says, "For all that is in the world", and he names it. All that's in the world. All that's in this age. All that is of the flesh. "The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, it's not of the Father, but it is of the world". So, when something's worldly, or fleshy, it involves lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, but I wanna take it a little further than that, because, I mean, you may be a new Christian. You're like, "I still don't know what that means when something is worldly".
Well, let me break it down to you a little bit more. Go to 1 John chapter 2:16 in The Message translation and watch this, 'cause he amplifies it a little bit so we can see it. He said, "Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out the love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world," watch this, "wanting your own way," that's the lust of the flesh, "wanting everything for yourself," that's the lust of the eyes, "wanting to appear important," that's the pride of life, he says, "has nothing to do with the Father". It has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from the Father.
See, when you're worldly and you have the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, when you're wanting your own way, when you're wanting everything for yourself, when you're wanting to appear important, he says all that does is isolate you from God. "The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out," amen. He says, for yourself, wanting to appear important, it has nothing to do, keep going. Let's start over again. Go back, and I wanna read it all the way through where we was. "Don't love the world's way. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out the love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world, wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important, has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out, but whoever wants what the Father wants," God wants, "is set for eternity".
All right, so it's about what you want versus what the Father wants, so to be worldly is simply wanting your own way, wanting your own way. That's fleshy, and it's worldly. That is called the lust of the flesh, wanting your own way, wow. That's simplified, ain't it? Wanting your own way, the lust of the flesh, that's worldly. The lust of the flesh. And the lust of the eyes, wanting everything for yourself. That's the lust of the eyes. That's worldly. That separates you from God, keeps you from God. It's worldly. It's fleshy. The pride of life, wanting to appear important. That's worldly, and that's easy to do with the appearance of social media. Wanting to appear important. That's the pride of life. Pride of life. Pride is always about this overestimation of yourself, this over importance, this exaggerated importance of yourself. That's worldly. That's fleshy.
So, when you can see that you are pursuing wanting to appear to be important, that's worldly. That's lustful. That's enmity with God. When you see that you're wanting everything that you see, you're wanting everything for yourself, that's lustful. That's worldly. That's the lust of the eyes. It's enmity with God. That's what it means to be worldly, so don't be so quick to call something worldly unless it has the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, unless it deals with wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, and trying to appear important. That's what it means to be worldly. That's what it means to be fleshy. If you understand that, praise God, hopefully. Amen, see?
Now, let's go to 2 Corinthians chapter 4. Well, let's finish this out. I think we need to just, I came here tonight, "I'm not rushing". Let's go to 1 John 5:4 and 5. So, how do we overcome the world? How do we overcome the world? How do we overcome the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life? How do we win when that happens? Because that's probably touched all of our lives at one time or another. I mean, that's probably something that's faced and challenged all of us one time or another, but how do we defeat this? I wanna look at these verses, 4 and 5. He says, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world". Now you know what that means. Whatsoever is born of God overcomes the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. Whatsoever is born of God will overcome wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, and wanting to appear important. Well, how does that happen? Well, "Whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world".
Now, watch very carefully, because it's important that you know the victory that overcomes the world. He says, "Well, Brother Dollar, that's no problem. The rest of the Scripture says that our faith is". Not quite. That is totally the truth, but you gotta read the next verse so you can get this in context. He says whoso, or, "Who is he that overcome the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God"? So, put those two verses of Scriptures together and here's how you overcome the world: your faith in Jesus Christ. "What are you saying"? Well, I'm saying it's not just your faith that overcomes the world, but your faith in Jesus Christ is what overcomes the world. Your faith in Jesus Christ. "Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God," okay? Verse 4, says, "This is the victory that overcomes the world, even your faith".
But your faith in what? Your faith in Jesus Christ. Your faith in Jesus Christ. Your faith in the finished works of Jesus Christ. That's how you overcome the world, because when you have faith in Jesus Christ and you have faith in what Jesus has done for you and you receive what Jesus has already done for you, then you're gonna overcome the lust of the flesh. And you're gonna want your not own way because you have faith in Jesus Christ. You're gonna want his way. When you have faith in Jesus Christ, you're not gonna be overcome by the lust of the eyes, wanting everything for yourself, because now it's no longer about you. It's about him. When you have faith in Jesus Christ, it's no longer, you know, the pride of life defeating you. You will now defeat the pride of life, not wanting to appear important because you know who the one who's important in your life. So, it's not just your faith. It's your faith in Jesus Christ.
And then, look at Philippians chapter 2. Philippians chapter 2, verses 5 through 8. This really blessed me. I could've picked a time to share it with you a little later, but this is really good, verse 5. Watch this. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," all right? "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being the form of God". All right, so what kind of mind should we have enough in us that's in Christ Jesus? "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God".
Now watch this. Here's what we're supposed to have. Verse 7, "But made himself of no reputation". See, when you have this mind that's in Christ Jesus, when you have that mind, you will be of no reputation. You're not trying to get a big reputation, protect your reputation. He says you will be of no reputation. And then, it says, "And he took upon himself the form of a servant". Second thing, you're gonna wanna be a servant. You're gonna wanna have a servant heart because that's the mind of Christ. Let this mind be in you which is in Christ Jesus. What mind? The mind of a servant, the mind of someone that is of no reputation. And then, he says, "And he was made in the likeness of men". Verse 8, "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself".
Let this mind be in you. What mind? A mind of humility. A mind of humility, a mind of servanthood, a mind of being of no reputation. That's amazing. See, when you are of no reputation you don't have to worry about trying to do something to make it better. When you are no reputation you're not gonna crumble when it seem like it's worse. You are of no reputation, and I tell you what. When you are delivered from people, God can use you to deliver people. That is so, so very important, and so let's move on. 2 Corinthians chapter 10, verses 4 through 5. Let's look at it in the King James and then the Amplified. 2 Corinthians chapter 10, verses 4 through 5. Let's look at it in the King James and then the Amplified Bible. I hope I didn't spend too much time on those Scriptures, but it's just so much in there. Look what he says. He says, "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal," they're not fleshy, "but they're mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds)". Strongholds are fortified thoughts in your mind.
Next verse. He says, "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalt itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity," what? "Every thought to the obedience of Christ". Now let's look at this in the Amplified. Let's look at this in the Amplified, all right? Here's what it says, "For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of the flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and the destruction of strongholds". And that weapon is the Word of God, amen? Go ahead. He says, "[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself against the [true] knowledge of God," so there's a true knowledge of God. If there's a true knowledge of God, there's a false knowledge of God. "And we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)".
And so, the important thing here is that we understand, is there anything else? Go to it. He says, "Being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate of his] disobedience, with your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete". So, here's the deal: you can use the Word of God to pull down every thought that goes against God. But you don't fight false with false. You fight false with words. And so, when there's a negative thought or a thought that doesn't line up with God's Word, speak God's Word out and pull that thought down. In other words, you're supposed to be a good custodian of your thought life. You're careful about what you think about, amen?
Now look at this. Isaiah 55:7 through 9. And ladies and gentlemen, this is the introduction. I mean, just to get into this is gonna be amazing. Look at Isaiah 55:7 through 9, and he says this, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon". Now look at verse 8. He says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts", wow. Now, pay attention. God's saying, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways. My thoughts are higher than your thoughts".
Now here's the thing that just gets me. God's thoughts are higher than my thoughts. God's ways are higher than my ways, so how do I reconcile this? He's given us his Word. He's given us his Word and in giving us his Word he's given us his thoughts. He's given us his Word and in giving us his Word he's given us his ways. Now, he didn't give us all of his thoughts in this book, and he didn't give us all of his ways in this book, but think about it. In this book, it gives us thoughts that are higher than the thoughts we had before we knew the book. In this thought, he gives us ways that are higher than ways that we had before we knew this book. How in the world do we think that our college education, whatever, can be greater than God? And he's given us opportunity to taste some of his thoughts and to know some of his ways and there are people that refuse to know the Word.
There are so many things we don't know. There are so many thoughts we have never had. Think about it. God has thoughts that we have never had, and then we get in his Word. He wants to show us those thoughts. He wants to show us his ways, but we refuse to renew our mind. For some reason, people get saved, they think that's it, and they refuse to renew their mind and renew their mind, and they continue to live life based on those worldly thoughts because they hadn't gotten to the Word to get God's thoughts.
Now, I'm gonna say something here. This is pretty strong now. I'm gonna say something here. The biggest change you may have to make is whom you spend your time with. When it comes to this life of renewing your mind, you can't change without renewing your mind, but in doing this the biggest change that you are gonna have to make is who you spend your time with. 1 Corinthians chapter 15:33 in the NIV. 1 Corinthians chapter 15:33 in the NIV. Let me say this one more time. The biggest change you may have to make in order to renew your mind and enter into this place where God wants you to be is who you spend your time with. 1 Corinthians 15:33 in the NIV says, "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'" For you not to understand that the people you hang around with can corrupt who you are, he says you're being misled. "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'"