I once heard the story that some scientists did an experiment with some fish. They took a predator fish and its prey and put them in the same tank. The predator ate the prey. The scientist then placed a piece of glass in the middle dividing the aquarium. They placed the prey on the other side of the glass. They predator repeatedly attacked, but kept hitting the glass. Each day it tried fewer and fewer times to go after the prey. When it quit trying, they removed the glass. They prey fish swam all over, but the predator never went after them. Whether the study is true or not, I don’t know, but the conditions of the mind is true.
Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (NLT). You and I are raised and live in a society that lives in opposition to God’s way of living. Our minds are like the predator fish. We’ve been conditioned with the mindset of this world and its values. We are in need of transformation and renewal of our minds so that we can live the way God called us to live, which starts by changing how we think. Our thoughts direct our behavior, as referenced by the predator. God wants to continually transform us through our mindset.
1 Corinthians 7:23 says, “Since a great price was paid for your redemption, stop having the mind-set of a slave” (TPT). Once we receive Christ, we are set free from being slaves to sin and our fallen way of thinking and living. Even though we are free, we will have to continually fight against the glass in the tank mentality. That’s why we need God to renew our minds and our way of thinking. We often fall short of who He created us to be because we live with our old mindset. Pray today that God would transform your mind and way of thinking so that you can live the life you were created to live. Remember Galatians 5:1: “Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again” (GNT).
One of the things I like to tell people is to choose your attitude or your day will choose it for you. I used to commute to work. Some days it was an hour, and others it would take nearly three. I drove a stick shift and would be sitting in traffic laying on and off the clutch. It was easy to get worked up and upset constantly riding the bumper of someone else while some person (not what I called them 😉) would be trying to weave through stop and go traffic. I then read where people who sit in traffic like that are susceptible to heart attacks. I decided I couldn’t allow myself to get worked up and call people names. I started choosing my attitude no matter how bad traffic was, even if it caused me to be late to a class I was training. I put on soft music and sang along in order to distract my mind. I also reminded myself that there was nothing I could do about the traffic. Some days, I just had to keep reminding myself over and over.
As a believer, there’s often a battle of the mind that has to be won over and over. It’s easy to let my past creep up on me to change my focus from what God’s grace has done to the things I’ve done in my past. That condemning mindset wants to try to tell me I’m not forgiven , I’ve used up too much grace, God could never use me, I’ve done too much, and so on. If i dwell on those thoughts, it would be easy to be unproductive, stagnant in my growth and cold to Christ in our relationship. I realize I’m unworthy of His grace, but I also remind myself that His grace is sufficient and the work has already been done. I have to choose my attitude and renew my way of thinking daily in order to keep growing and receiving God’s grace. I remind myself it’s not about what I’ve done, but what He’s done and is doing in me.
Ephesians 4:23-24 says, “And be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation]” (AMP). When I’m feeling unworthy or those thoughts creep up, I remind myself of these verses to renew my way of thinking, to remember I’m made in God’s image and to thank Jesus for what He did for me. We all have choose our attitude, how we think and what we dwell on or we can go down some dark rabbit holes that will hold us back from the life we were created to live. If you’re struggling with those thoughts, ask God to help you continually renew your mind so you can be transformed from the inside out.
Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but Let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind.Romans 12:2 (GNT)
One of Brian Tracy’s psychological laws is the Law of Correspondence. It states that your outer world will always be a reflection of your inner world. Your demeanor, actions and reactions are indicative of what’s going on inside your mind. Jesus put it this way, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)” Whatever is going on in your heart and mind shows up in your words and actions. That’s why you can often look at someone and know there is something wrong going on with them.
We try to cover up our hurt, our insecurities, our fears and sins, but they always seem to find a way to the surface. We can try to change our actions, but those on,y last for a little while. Ben Franklin carried a book with him in which he wrote down his vices. He tried to keep track of what he did, when he did it and what triggered it. Then he would do everything in his power to not repeat those things. What he found was that he could only do it for so long before other vices popped up. He was trying to control an inside problem with an outside mechanism.
Because we judge each other based on external actions, we often try to control our own external actions so as not to be judged. The problem is that we can’t do it for very long either before something else pops up. That’s why God doesn’t deal so much with our actions as He does with our heart. He knows that our external actions and sins are a result of what’s going on inside of us. He doesn’t deal with the fruit of the problem, He deals with the root.
Romans 12:2 tells us that God wants to transform our minds so that we won’t conform to the ways of the world. When we allow God to transform our heart and mind, we begin to act differently than before. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any person is in Christ, he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old previous moral and spiritual condition has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new one has come! (AMP)” God takes away our old way of thinking and puts in us a new mind that wants to do things his way.
If you’ve accepted Christ, but are still struggling with actions that are in conflict with how He wants you to live, pray and ask God to transform your mind. Give Him permission to come in and change your inner world so that your outer world will be a direct reflection of who He wants you to be. Scripture says that man looks at outward appearances (actions too), but God looks at the heart (mind too). He is more concerned with what’s going on inside than outside. It’s important that we stop trying to control our actions as Ben Franklin tried to do and to allow God to change our actions through the renewing and transforming of our hearts and minds.