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Renewing the mind

Oct 23, 2013, 12:07 PM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

The mind is the engine with which the brain works; it is the seat of all operations we set ourselves to accomplish – call it if you will the centre-piece of our whole being. No wonder Jesus instructs: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) It is at this level that decisions are taken and thereafter executed. So to renew one’s mind would mean operating a change in the way we do things, our thinking and our beliefs. For most of us, it would mean taking a firm decision in the light of the path we have trodden thus far, to give meaning to our existence.

When we renew our minds, it is because we have become aware of our position and stance vis-à-vis certain fundamental issues and truths about life. We have come to the crossroads of life and need to get our bearings right. We come to realise that the old ways have been an impediment to our social and spiritual progress and are accountable for the lacklustre existence we parade, the problems we encounter, the stalemate in our relationship with family and friends. In short, the status quo tells us there needs to be a change – not tomorrow, not yesterday either, but NOW.

First, there is a need to take stock of our lives to determine where we had left off – our point of departure, and the road travelled, in order to chart the way ahead. We ought to do it ourselves if we are sincere,because I can assure you that no one knows us better than we know ourselves. Thus we know not only where to start but what needs to be renewed - our outlook to life. Our spiritual thermostat tells us where we stand with God, who is our ‘be all and our end all.’

Renewing our minds simply means we want to turn our backs to ‘business as usual’ by putting things in their right perspective - ‘first things first.’ Jesus admonishes us to put the things of God first then the rest would follow. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) This frame of mind projects our priorities to the forefront; “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) This is a positive stage in the process; that is coming to terms with our situation and doing something about it.

This phase in our lives has to do with our mindset. No one can do so in our stead. We would have to take the bull by the horns in order to get rid of the impurities in our lives. We must begin to live the quality kind of life. When we think of doing what is right, we know we are making some headway. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, 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)

When a real renewal of the mind occurs in the life of someone it is self-evident. She assumes her responsibilities head-on. No one tells her what to do. She fulfils her obligations without being goaded on; she commits herself to a worthy course. No looking back. If the change is just outward that would be only a parade, some kind of a facade. The change must be thorough, and focused on Jesus. We need a Saviour called Jesus because we cannot save ourselves. “… he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) Jesus came into this world that we may have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Our minds cannot be renewed overnight; it is part of a steady process, but nevertheless a definite phase; and there should be no turning back. It should be obvious to onlookers that we have gone through some transformation, a radical one at that; old things have gone, everything has become new. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Henceforth, our actions should speak louder than our words. People may mock or make fun of us; they may not believe in the change; but it is not about either us or them, it is about fixing our eyes on Jesus–the Saviour of mankind.

It is time that we realise that we are not our own and therefore cannot live the way we feel best, or just anyhow. One day, we would have to render account to our Maker, our Creator, of what we have done with our lives. “You are not your own; you were bought with a price.” (2 Corinthians 6:20) That price was paid on the cross of Calvary where Jesus gave his life for humanity ‘once and for all.’ The hymn writer puts it thus: ‘There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin, He only (Jesus) could unlock the gate of heaven, and let us in.’

This life we live will come to an end. Have we ever stopped to ask the question where we would spend the rest of it after we die? This life is the gateway to another which is called eternity. This life is for a period that will not go beyond a hundred and twenty-five years. Who would I spend eternity with? Where would I spend eternity? These are important questions that we must answer now, as sound options we have to consider.

Jesus provides that answer. It is never too late to give our lives to him. He did not come to establish a religion, he embarked on a rescue mission for humanity. Do not let the devil fool you into believing you can live without Jesus, the Messiah. That is a white lie. Jesus described him thus; “He is a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) Do not listen to Satan, the deceiver, his destiny is sealed. He is a defeated foe, awaiting hell-fire.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern 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)