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. (Romans 12:2)
When we receive Jesus, our spirit is born again. God’s Spirit now lives in our spirit. In union with God, we share in the Trinity’s eternal life.
But we can still think we are separated … and therefore live like it. Just because we have accepted Jesus does not mean we automatically become the people God intends.
What is our problem? Once saved into the Trinity’s life of love, why can’t we live the life we see promised in Scripture? Why do we still struggle so much to be “good” Christians?
Our spirit isn’t the problem; it is born again. Our body isn’t the problem; it simply reflects the thoughts and feelings of the soul. Our soul is the problem! Our mind, will, and emotions are not in agreement with God.
Proverbs 23:7 tells us, “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Thinking wrongly causes us to live wrongly. Even as believers, we don’t make known—we don’t “prove”—“the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” because we think of ourselves as less than we are and we think of God as less than He is.
When we are young and vulnerable, Satan begins planting twisted thoughts in our minds. The enemy knows that the core need of every person is to be cherished and adored. So, in order to steal, kill and destroy us human beings created in God’s image, the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10) fills our souls with wrong thoughts and feelings. He uses life experiences and traumatic events to keep us from seeing ourselves as treasured and valuable.
The lies he plants might be something like: “You are not loved because you are _____. And then the blank is filled in with words such as: “unwanted,” “not as good as your brother,” or “not smart enough.” Or perhaps the lies take the form: “You need to _____ in order to prove your worth.” And then the blank is filled in with something impossible to do, such as: “obey the Ten Commandments,” “please your mother” or “be tougher.”
It is not easy to recognize these twisted misconceptions. They hide in wordless silence beneath the radar of conscious thought, deep in the foundational structure of our mind, will, and emotions. Recurrent, distressing feelings (such as anxiety, terror, hopelessness, or separation) are the voice of your soul crying out, “Help me.” “Things aren’t right.” “I’m hurting.”
We weren’t taught the lies that manifest in these distressing feelings; it is more like we caught them. We caught them in the context of family, culture, and upbringing.
Based on our interpretations of our experiences in the world, we form assumptions about ourselves, God, and others.
But what if these assumptions are false? What if you are worth more than you can comprehend? What if God values and adores you, not as the world values you, not because you do “good” things, not with the underlying motive of changing or improving you, but just because you are you?
There is hope. In keeping with God’s Word, the Spirit reveals truth to us. We grow in agreement with truth as we grow to know Jesus in the ongoing relationship of eternal life. And so we bring ourselves as hurting, vulnerable people in desperate need and let the Spirit reveal Jesus to us. We welcome Him to search and cleanse our souls. Even in difficulties, we trust Him and accept His ways of renewing our minds.
What God says about you is true. You are His “very good” of creation. He fashioned you in your mother’s womb. He rejoices over you. He delights in you.
God is working with you and in you to renew your mind so you become the person He created you to be. You are designed to express—to “prove” to the world—“the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Ponder for a Moment
When do you tend to experience recurrent emotions you know aren’t healthy?
What untrue thoughts about yourself, God, or others might underlie those emotions?
Imagine what it might be like to have your mind renewed so that you think of yourself as God thinks of you.