David Jeremiah - The Priority of a Disciplined Mind
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God has called each of us to love the Lord our God with all of our minds. He's told us that we can have the mind of Christ, and the mind of Christ is the mind of humility. When we were together the last time, we learned that God has required of us that we gird up the loins of our minds so that we can be diligent in following him. And today, we talk about the priority of a disciplined mind, and I want to talk with you today and teach from one verse of Scripture, one verse. Don't get your hopes up, just one verse, but it's a wonderful Word from the Lord. It's a verse that we have seen before. It's usually the verse that is left off when we quote the verse before it. It's Romans 12:2, and it's up on the screen, and I'd like you to read it out loud together with me.
Let's read it together, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God". One of the joys of being a preacher is the privilege of reading and studying and devoting much of your time to that. And I've read all ages of history of the church.
One of the great men of church history is a man by the name of Jonathan Edwards, the third president of Princeton University and one of the great thinkers of American Christianity. But he had his interesting side along with his intellectual side. In fact, he had a daughter who had an uncontrollable temper. She was quite a young lady, tested him at every moment of every day. And over a period of time, as she matured, there was a day when a young man fell in love with this daughter and sought her hand in marriage. And when he came to seek for permission to marry Jonathan Edwards' daughter, he said to this young man, "You can't have her". "But I love her," the young man replied. He said, "I don't care, you can't have her". "But she loves me," said the young man. Again Edward said, "You still can't have her".
And he said, "Whatever the reason is, I don't know. Why is it that I can't have your daughter"? and Jonathan Edwards said, "Because she is not worthy of you". But he said, "Is she a Christian"? He said, "Yes". "Well, if she's a Christian, how can this be an issue"? He said, "Young man, she is a Christian, but the grace of God can live with some people with whom no one else ever could". Obviously, Jonathan Edwards' daughter had not done much to develop her Christian life.
Well, here in this well-known passage from the book of Romans, Paul makes an amazing statement about the possibility we have as Christians to grow in our faith. He tells us that the mind can be, indeed must be renewed. He makes it so plain that the difference between being conformed and being transformed is the renewing of our mind. Men and women, you can spend the rest of your lives making promises, filling out commitment cards, talking to counselors, but Paul's words are very clear. Unless you renew your mind, you won't be transformed. Things will stay pretty much the way that they are.
New Testament scholar Grant Osborne writes, "It is clear that the mind is where spiritual growth occurs, and in the mind decisions are made that determine one's spiritual direction and destiny". In other words, the ongoing conduct of the believer is based on input from the world or from God. This will determine whether you live victorious or whether you live in defeat. So today, I want to take this little verse apart and put it back together. I've studied this verse in the past, but never has it so gripped me as it did this past week. That the profound nature of this verse is so profound that it is so simple that once we get it, we can never forget it again. Let's begin with the purpose of the renewed mind. Remember the verse says, "By the renewing of your mind".
It is in our minds, men and women, that our new nature and our old nature are intermixed. It is in the mind that we make choices as to whether we will express our new nature in holiness or allow our old nature to act in sinfulness. And Paul tells us that the only way to get victory in this process is to renew our mind so that we can withstand the pressure of the world and its allurements. He says, "Be not conformed to this world". And the word that he uses that is translated in our English Bible by the word "conformed" refers to the act of an individual assuming an outward expression that does not come from within. It is not representative of the inner part of the person. Conformation is something that happens from the outside in.
J.B. Philips has a paraphrase of this that is rather timeless. He says, "Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its mold". Kenneth Wuest, who has provided us with tremendous help and understanding the Greek New Testament, has another paraphrase that goes like this, "Stop assuming an outward expression which is patterned after this world, an expression which does not come from within, nor does it represent what you are as a child of God. We are not to be like a chameleon taking our colors from our surroundings".
When Paul uses the word "world," when he says, "Do not be conformed to the world," he's talking about the condition of humanity, its fads and its fashions, and everything in the existing order of things which is outside of the kingdom of God. Sometimes, that phrase is referred to as the age, like in Galatians 1:4, we read that he gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil age, that's the world. You do know that when he says we're not to be conformed to the world, he's not talking about the round globe which is where we exist. He's talking about the system of the world, the culture, the things around us. What Paul is saying is this, "Don't allow the world in which you live as a Christian, the fashion, the fads, the culture, don't allow that world to pressure you into such a way that you become just like the world. Don't be conformed to the world".
The reason why your mind needs to be renewed is so that you do not become conformed to the world in which you live in. That's the normal, natural thing, isn't it? Even when we become Christians, we try to fit in. We try to be a part of the community. We are subject to the peer pressure that the world puts on us. And Paul says the only way you will be able to be a true Christian, to really walk what you believe, is to make sure that you do not let this world pressure you from the outside in into being something that you're really not. Now, I don't have to illustrate that because we all know it. It probably happened several times during this past week, when we found ourselves in a situation and we allowed ourselves to be pressured into acting, saying, doing, thinking something that was not representative of who we really are in Jesus Christ.
So, there are two purposes for the renewing of the mind. The first is kind of a negative one. We need to renew our minds so that we won't be conformed to the world in which we live. But secondly, and this is the positive part, we need to have a renewed mind so that we do become transformed by the Word of God. Now, the Greek word for transformed that's in this text is an interesting word, it's only used three times in the New Testament. Actually, we can boil it down to two times because two of the three times are in the gospels which are recording the same event almost in exactly the same words.
The first time is in Matthew 17 and Mark 9, where we read these words, "Now after six days, Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and he was transfigured before them". It's the same word as the word "transform". He was transfigured. Now, read the rest of it, "His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light". In the transfiguration, the Lord's glorious inner essence was allowed to show through his body so that his face radiated like the sun and his clothing was as white as light. A complete change came over Jesus, his whole body became translucent. Jesus told his disciples that this was such a significant day that they would not be able to understand what was going on until after the resurrection, and indeed they did not.
The word is used one other time in the New Testament and it has to do with us. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, we read, "But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed," transfigured if you will, "into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord". The Greek word for transformed is our English word "metamorphosis, metamorphosis". And on two occasions in the Scripture, the metamorphosis in the life of a believer was so complete as to be evident to all who are watching. Many of you remember the story of Moses going up to Mount Sinai to get the law. And the Bible tells us in Exodus 34 that, "It was so that when Moses came down from Mount Sinai and the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hands, that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he had talked with God".
Likewise, the Bible tells us that when Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, faced his enemies and they were taking him out, stoning him to death, looking steadfastly at him, they saw his face and it became the face like an angel. And the Bible tells us that one day that metamorphosis, that change from the inside out, is going to be perfectly experienced by every single one of us who are Christians. 1 John chapter 3 says, "Beloved, now are we the children of God; and it is not yet revealed what we shall be, but we know that when he is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is". Just as when Jesus was transfigured and he was totally changed from the inside out, just as Moses when he came down from the mountain was changed from the inside out, the Bible says that one day, when we get to heaven, when we see Jesus, we're going to take on this incredible metamorphosis, and we're going to be just like him. We're going to be changed to be just like him. Do we understand that?
One minister that I read about this week used to remind his people of this transformation every time they took communion. And he would ask them these penetrating and hope-filled words as they got ready to receive the Lord's supper. He would say, "Do you believe what I am telling you? Do you believe a day is coming, really coming when you will stand before the throne of God, and the angels will whisper together and say, 'How like Christ he is'"? That is not easy to believe, and yet not to believe it is blasphemy, for that, no less than that is what Christ promises to us. That one day, we will stand next to the Lord and the angels will say, "Look at Jeremiah, do you see how much like Christ he is"? Wow.
Griffith Thomas used to say it this way, "The only way to prevent the outward shape of our life from being fashioned like that of the world is to take care that the inward spirit of our being is transformed by the renewing of our mind". Do you get the picture? The Bible says we stand in a position as Christians where we are either going to be pressured by the outside world to be conformed like they are, or we're going to be transformed from the inside out to be like Christ. Now, that's the purpose of the renewing of the mind. And now, let's look at the process of this whole thing. It says, "Be not conformed, but be transformed," and then it tells us how that transformation takes place for every one of us. It takes place by the renewing of the mind.
Now, if you look up the word "renewal" either in the English dictionary or you follow it through in its meaning in the Greek text, you will discover that the word "renewal" means renovation. We may not understand renewal, but we do understand renovation. When the Bible says to renew your mind, it is talking about the complete renovation or the replacement of what was formerly present in your mind, and you replace it with something better. Some of you here may own apartment buildings, and when someone moves out and it's time to get ready for a new tenant, you renovate the apartment. You tear out the old materials that do not fit in with the new design. And if you can't find a way to use the old things in the new plan, you throw it out and you replace it with something that does. And this is what happens to us when we have our minds renewed. We take all the stuff that previously occupied our minds and we replace it with that which is in line with God's plan for our lives. When we fill our minds with the Word of God, which contains the mind of God, it helps us discover his will for our lives.
Now, the Bible says, "Don't be conformed from the outside in, but be transformed from the inside out by the renewing of your mind," and we've got it, we understand that. But the question remains, what does it mean to have your mind renewed? And I'd like to suggest three things about this that have helped me understand this. First of all, there are two agents involved in the renewal of your mind, two essential agents that are necessary. The same two agents that are necessary for you to become a Christian are necessary for you to have your mind renewed. There are two things the Bible says that are necessary for you to become a Christian. One of them is the Word of God, and the other is the Holy Spirit.
You cannot become a Christian without the Word of God and without the Spirit of God. They work in tangent with each other to bring you under conviction and to cause you to be born again. But interestingly enough, in the Bible, we are told that our minds cannot be renewed unless the Holy Spirit is involved. In fact, one of the ways we know that is the word "renewed" in its very special application is only used two times in the New Testament, once in Romans 12:2, which we are looking at today, and one other time in Titus 3:5. And here's what it says in Titus 3:5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit".
One of the reasons we know the Holy Spirit is an essential agent in the renewing process is because this word "renewal" is only used two times in the Greek Bible, Romans 12:2, Titus 3:5. Both of them refer to what happens in the process of renovation. We are being renovated in our minds, and the two agents who are involved are the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. And the Word of God, we know, we've learned that along the way in our study so far. Paul reminds us that this renewal that we are going under and that we are experiencing, Colossians 3:10, he says we are renewed in knowledge. And in Ephesians 4:23, the Word is used in a different form than the other two, and we are renewed in the spirit of our minds.
So, how does that renewal take place? How, if we're going to not be conformed to the world, if we're not going to get caught up in what the world is all about because we're Christians and we live for a different world, how do we keep that from happening? Well, the Bible says our minds have to be renewed, and the two agents that work on that process are the Word of God and the Spirit of God. The Word of God is taken in by listening to sermons, or reading, or studying, hopefully by reading some of the Bible every day. The Spirit of God then takes the Word of God that has been ingested into your system, and he uses that Word to apply it to the situations in your life. He uses that Word to show you the things in your life that ought not to be there, or to bring things into your life that should be there. And little by little, there is a replacement of the old things with the new things.
Somebody said the old things begin to fall off of your life like barnacles off of a ship, and little by little the new things begin to take hold. The Bible says, "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passing away; behold, all things are becoming new". The agents involved in that process are the Word of God and the Spirit of God. They work together in cooperation to change the way you think and to change the way you go about life, two agents. Then there are two actions. There are two actions that take place in the renewing of the mind. Not only does the Holy Spirit and the Word of God work together, but there are two actions, and this is very simple. One action is an action from the outside in. That's the Word of God.
How do you get this information in your system? The Bible becomes important to you. You begin to read things that help you understand the Bible. There is an intaking of the Word of God, that's necessary. That's the outside in action. Without it, it doesn't work. But ladies and gentlemen, there's an inside out action too. Let me say it this way. If you take the Word of God in and you're not prepared in your heart to receive it, if God has not done a work to plow up the hard soil of your heart so that he's willing to accept the seed of God's Word, then nothing will happen. And so, I want to express to you that the Bible that's going to do this, it is the preparation of your heart to receive it that God uses to make it happen.
John White, the late psychiatrist and Christian author, once wrote these words, he said, "Bible study has torn my life apart and remade it. That is to say that God, through his Word, has done so. If I could write poetry about it, I would. If I could sing through paper, I would flood your soul with the glorious melodies that express what I have found. I cannot exaggerate, for there are no expressions majestic enough to tell of the glory I have seen or of the wonder of finding that I, a neurotic, unstable, middle-aged man have my feet firmly planted in eternity, and I breathe the air of heaven, and all this has come to me through a careful study of the Scripture," end of quote.
Bishop Ryle before this time wrote, "The Bible has worked moral miracles by thousands. It has made drunkards become sober, unchaste people become pure, thieves become honest, violent-tempered people become meek. It has wholly altered the source of men's lives. It has taught worldly people to seek first the kingdom of God. It has taught lovers of pleasure to become lovers of God. It has taught the stream of men's affections to run upwards instead of running downwards. And this it has done in every part of the world, and it is still doing it today". Do we understand, men and women, the power of what God has given us in this book? And the potential that it has if we follow it carefully, if we allow these two agents and these two actions to work together in our lives to literally change us from the people we are so that we become the people that we want to be?
You say, "Well, pastor, I read the Bible, but ain't nothing happening". John Stott warns, "To suppose that salvation lies in a book is as foolish as supposing that health lies in a prescription". He said, "When we are ill and the doctor prescribes some medicine for us, does he intend that we should go home with the prescription, read it, study it, and learn it by heart? Or that we should frame it and hang it on our bedroom wall? Or that we should tear it up into fragments and eat little pieces of the prescription three times a day after our meals? The absurdity of these is obvious. The prescription cannot cure us. The whole purpose of a prescription is to get us to go to the chemist, obtain the medicine prescribed, and drink it.
Now, the Bible contains the divine prescription for sin-sick souls. It is the only medicine which can save us from perishing, but we do not worship the Bible as if it could save us, we go to Christ. For the overwhelming purpose of the Bible is to send us to Christ and to persuade us to drink the water of life which he offers. So, do you see how the inside and the outside action have to work? We can take in the Bible, but if God has not worked in our hearts so that we have an openness to receive it, then what happens is the Bible comes into us and it does nothing. It just goes kind of like right through us, it doesn't touch us.
You say, "Well, how does God prepare our hearts"? If you listen to the testimonies in our baptistery, you will get a pretty good clue of this. One time, I took these and wrote them all down after a period of some baptisms, and it was kind of shocking to me. Here's what I heard. "I was going through a divorce, God got my attention. My husband left me, God got my attention. My health went south and I didn't know what to do, and God got my attention". Usually, God gets ahold of us through life situations, doesn't he? He takes us through things and in those things that we go through, however they may be, however serious they may be to us, we discover that we are not sufficient to deal with them, and so we begin to have a hungering and a yearning in our heart for something that can help us.
And here comes the Word of God, and now our hearts are ready to receive it. And when our hearts are ready to receive it, a renewing process starts. There is a necessity in the renewing process for two agents to be involved, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. There's a necessity for two actions to be involved, the outside in action and the inside out action. And then there's a necessity for two attitudes to be involved. And if I were to tell you where this principle comes from and you happen to be any kind of a Greek student, you would be so blessed because this principle, these two principles under the attitudes come from the tense of a word and the voice of a word.
Let me explain to you what I mean. The Bible says that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. And the word "to be transformed" is in the present tense. What that means is that the transformation process keeps going. It's not something that, "Oh, on the 13th of November, I had my mind transformed and everything's fine". How many of you wish it could be like that? You could point to a date and it would be over, but it isn't like that. In fact, this is very clear, the text says, "By the renewing of your mind, keep on being transformed". It's a continuous process, so it's a serious thing. We are consistently and continually, and will be for the rest of our lives, being transformed by the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. We will becoming something other than what we are. Can we all say an amen to that?
You know, we'd like to be something other than we are. There's hope for all of us, and we're all in the process. In fact, the Bible is very clear about that. 2 Corinthians 4:16 says, "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing," watch this, "but the inward man is being renewed". How often, class? Day by day. Somebody once told me that the problem with the Christian life, the reason it's so hard is because it's so daily. Isn't that true? The Christian life is so hard because it's so daily. This is a process that goes on and on in our lives. We better be serious about this. This isn't something that's going to go away, this is where we are. We're Christians. We're being renewed day by day by the Word of God and the Spirit of God.
Douglas Moe calls this the reprogramming of the mind, a lifelong process in which the mind is taken from the world and more and more made to have in the mind the things of God. It is a process. I read this week that someone has chosen a very interesting epitaph for his grave, a Christian. He said, "I saw a sign on a strip of highway once that I would like to have copied on my gravestone. It said, 'End of construction, thank you for your patience.'" Not a bad idea for all of us who are Christians, "End of construction, thank you for your patience". But not only must we have a serious attitude, we must have a submissive attitude. And here's another little lesson from the language of the New Testament, for the word "be transformed" is in the passive voice.
You say, "What in the world does that mean"? Well, let me explain it this way. If that phrase were in the active voice, it would say something like this, "And transform your minds". You do it. But notice what it says, it says, "But be transformed," which means you do not do the action. The action is done by somebody else and you receive the action. What have we learned so far, class? We have learned that we do not have the power to transform our minds, it actually takes the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to do that. So, what is our role? Our role is to be submissive to the process that God wants to use to change us. We're to be serious about it because it's an ongoing thing, but we're to be submissive because we do not do the work, God does the work. Our role is to just say, "Lord God, I will read the Word of God so the Spirit of God has something to work with. And I will be submissive to the work you're doing in my life". We have seen the purpose of the renewed mind, now we understand something of the process.
When Paul wrote, "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind," he wrote it in this sense, that our role in all of this is to have a willingness that God would work in us. So, let's get to the end of this verse, this little verse of Scripture, and let's talk about the proof of the renewed mind. What happens when your mind is renewed? And you know, there's a crisis in the church today, it's a crisis of the will of God. Everybody wants to know, "What is the will of God for my life"? And I do believe that there are often times when God reveals his will to us, and it can be in a moment of time when God brings certain things together, we say, "Oh, so this is what you want me to do". But I rather believe having studied this passage that it's much more likely that the will of God is sort of a natural thing that happens to us that's the result of our minds having been renewed, and we begin to think about things through the mind of Christ, and the will of God becomes apparent to us.
Notice what the text says, "That you may prove what is the perfect will of God". When you have your mind renewed and you're not being conformed by the world, but you're being transformed by the Word of God and the Spirit, one thing that will happen is you will learn the will of God, you will know God's will. The new English Bible translates this verse very accurate when it says, "Then you will be able to discern the will of God, and to know what is good and acceptable and perfect". What I'm saying here is this, that if we get into the habit of willingly allowing God to work in our lives through his Word and his Spirit, we will begin to sort of almost unconsciously know what it is that God is up to in our lives. It won't be like, "Oh, I had this "aha" moment, and now my whole life's going in a different direction".
I don't find that to be true in my life. I find that God leads me kind of like a shepherd leads his sheep. My job is to stay behind the shepherd, and it's no big deal that he does this, it's just a daily kind of thing. I learn the will of God. And then the Bible says the second thing that happens is I live the will of God. It says that you may prove what is the perfect will of God. How do you prove it? You do it, and you discover that it is indeed God's will. You live what God tells you to do. You begin to do the things that he impresses upon you as you read the Scripture and as he uses his own Spirit to change you from glory to glory. And then day by day, you begin to walk in the will of God, and you discover as you look back the affirmations of God, it is true. We have proven that it is true. We will know beyond doubt what we should do. And knowing to do it, we will have a confidence that we are living the will of God.
And I don't think I'm stretching the text when I say we will love the will of God. We will learn it, we will live it, and we will love it. It says the will of God, notice this, it's good, and acceptable, and it's perfect. I believe with all of my heart, ladies and gentlemen, that the will of God for you and for me is the most exciting, most thrilling, most enjoyable way you can ever live your life. There's nothing like it. There's nothing even closely second to it. When you live in the will of God, when you do what God is telling you to do, there's an excitement about life that begins the moment you awake in the morning, and you get up, and you get started, and you sense that God is with you. And though you may go on some detours here and there, when you stay on the hard road and God is leading you, his will is good and perfect and acceptable.
Can I even use the word it's fun? And I don't know if that word belongs in the vocabulary of an evangelical preacher, some people don't think it does, but I love to serve the Lord, and it is fun serving Jesus Christ. When you know for certain that you're in his will, that you're doing the best you know how by the grace of God to live in his will, every day is an exciting day. Doesn't mean every day is without stress. I have my moments of stress.
Some people I know are always going through life thinking about what might have been. You know, "If I had done this, I could've been this, or I could've been that". I never have those thoughts because I know I'm exactly what I should be, that God has given me the wonderful privilege of finding his will for my life when I was young. And staying in that will primarily all my life, I've never thought about being a congressman, I've never thought about being a president of a school or anything of that nature. I've always wanted to be one thing, and that's to preach the Word of God and to be a pastor. I'm in the will of God, I live in the will of God, and I've come to love the will of God.
And you know how that happens? It's through the constant renewing of your mind that keeps the world from pressuring you into thinking you should be something else. It's the renewing of your mind that transforms you from the inside out so that you can become like God. As we look back on this powerful verse, just one verse, I told you I was just going to preach one verse, we realize that the renewing of our minds will enable us to be transformed by the presence of Christ, not conformed by the pressures of the world. This transformation comes about as we submit to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who uses the Word of God to renew our minds, literally renovating our minds so that, day by day and more and more, we are changed from the inside out.
The proof of our transformation will be our learning, living, and loving the will of God throughout every day that we live. This is the priority of the disciplined mind, and this is what God has prepared for every one of us. One of the words that we have not talked about during this series on the mind is the word "repentance". In fact, the word "repentance" isn't talked about hardly at all anymore. But let me tell you about repentance. Did you know that the word "repentance" literally means nothing more, nothing less than to change your mind? That's what it means.
You say, "Well, didn't I have to repent when I got saved"? Yes, here's what happened. One day, you were walking along, and you were following your own desires, and God wasn't in the picture. Somebody presented the gospel to you, and you repented of your sin, you repented of the way you were going. And what the Bible says is when you repented, you turned away from walking that way and you started to walk the other way. You changed your mind. When you change your mind, you change your direction.
Author and pastor Mark Buchanan draws an interesting connection between repentance and renewal of the mind. He said, "In Jesus' hands, repentance is an invitation, not a threat. It's a promise, not a curse. It's good news, not bad news. Repentance often does involve sorrow, but it is sorrow that likely and quickly turns to gladness because repentance is the gift of starting fresh. It's the doorway into life abundant, to life anew, and life eternal. In my church, almost weekly I ask people to repent. I ask them to change their minds, which is literally what repentance means. I invite them to see things God's way, to align themselves stem to stern with God's purposes. Initially, that alignment is a violent, dramatic 180-degree turn, but thereafter it's mostly course corrections, 15 degrees here, 5 degrees there. By every turn, but whatever degree, it's good news. Every turn moves us closer to where we want to be".
And then he closed his article by telling this story. He said, "I'm thinking of Muriel. Muriel's childhood crippled her emotionally. She began to visit the hospital psychiatry ward when she was in her teens. By her late 40s, she had seen dozens of counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists. She was on a cocktail of anti-this and anti-that medication so potent, it could have subdued a blue whale. She had logged no fewer than 61 rounds of electric shock therapy, but nothing really ever happened. The problem was what others had done to her, cruel things, malicious things, godless things. One day, she walked into the office of a new therapist. She was cynical, she had low expectations. The therapist heard her story and simply asked her a question, 'How would your life have been different if someone had come alongside you when you were 14 and showed you your strengths instead of telling you that you were sick'? In all those years, she said, 'I'd never considered that, and then I saw it. I wasn't stuck in my life as I knew it. My life could be otherwise. I decided there and then to live it otherwise. I changed my mind about who I was, which allowed me to change everything almost instantly'".
Now, this is not about her salvation. This is just an illustration of what happens when our minds are renewed and how, when our minds are renewed, the ultimate result is that our lives are renewed. In the spiritual context of today's message, it simply says this. If you want to be the same way that you are spiritually as a Christian, all you have to do is not do anything. Don't do anything. Don't change a thing you're doing. Just keep doing what you're doing and you'll keep getting what you're getting. But if you have a hunger for righteousness, a desire to have a closer walk with the Lord, and like all of us, I've never met anybody who doesn't have that hunger if they're a Christian.
The Bible says that when we are Christians, God puts within us a thirst and a hunger for righteousness. And if you want that thirst and that hunger to be satisfied, the Bible says there's no one moment of euphoria where that's going to happen. But what will happen is you commit yourself to the process of allowing your mind to be renewed day by day. And then a year from now, 15 months, 18 months from now, you look back and you'll discover that God has done something in your life sort of imperceptivity. You didn't realize it was happening, but some of the things that used to clutter up your life and your mind are no longer there. They have been renovated out, and new things have come to live in their place.
Mark Buchanan said, "This woman said, 'I changed my mind about who I was, which allowed me to change everything almost instantly.' And in a word, she repented". And he closes his article with these words, "You should see her now. You should see her now".
That's what God wants people to say about us when we commit ourselves to the renewal process. They come alongside of us, having known us the way we were, and they just can't hardly believe what we've become because we have committed ourselves to the renewed mind. I couldn't wait to share this with you. I couldn't wait to tell you the good news that there's never a time in anybody's life where we have to say, "I give up, it's never going to be different". It can always be different. It can always be different because we serve a God who makes a difference, and he's willing to make a difference in your life. Here's the question, are you serious and are you submissive? And if you are, he will do all the rest. He will do it. He will do it. And then one day, somebody will come along and say, "You should see her now. You should see her now".