Recently, my Bible study group came across the verse: “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2b).
Certainly, this isn’t an obscure verse. If you’ve been in the church for even a little while, you’ve likely heard it. It’s often used by we preachers as the one-size-fits-all answer for just about everything.
Fearful? “Renew your mind!”
Tempted? “Renew your mind!”
Stressed, frustrated, discouraged, condemned? “Renew your mind!”
But when someone in my Bible study asked, “How do you actually renew your mind?” and all the others looked at me in equal bewilderment, I realized that the specifics of how to do it are rarely explained.
The ‘How-To’s’ of Mind Renewal
“How to renew your mind” is answered by understanding two words in Romans 12:2: “transform” and “renew.”
“Transform” is “metamorphosis,” which is the process of something old into something new. Think caterpillar into butterfly. And that’s the purpose of renewing your mind: it’s to manifest the new life of Christ in you.
This brings us to “renew,” which means to “resume to an original position after an interruption.” Simply put: when you said yes to Jesus and were born again, you became a new person in Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:17). This means Jesus’ identity became your default, original position: made new, made right, made whole and made holy. Anything contrary to who Jesus is, such as fear, temptation, stress, condemnation, and so on, is an interruption.
Interrupting the Interruptions
Renewing your mind, then, is simply the process of getting back to your original position in Christ by interrupting the interruptions. And you do this by thinking on and speaking God’s truths.
For example, to renew your mind from feeling fearful, think on and declare from 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV): “I have not been given a spirit of fear, but I have power, love and a sound mind.” Or to renew your mind when confronted with condemnation, think on and declare a verse like 2 Corinthians 5:21: “I am the righteousness of God in Christ.”
There are truths in God’s Word for any interruption you face. If you need help finding one, download my Shut Up Devil! app and browse through the categories that I’ve filled with scriptures and declarations personalized to you. Or look to the back of your Bible for an index of scriptures related to all kinds of topics.
Give Yourself Grace
One last thing. Though renewing your mind really is as simple as interrupting the interruptions with God’s truths, remember that metamorphosis is a process. A caterpillar doesn’t turn into a butterfly overnight, but over time. So, you have to be diligent and patient. Your mind has to be rewired from years of old patterns. That’s what thinking and speaking truth does—it literally “rewires” or “renews” your brain, which takes time. So be sure to give yourself plenty of grace!
Kyle Winkler (kylewinkler.org) is the creator of the popular Shut Up, Devil! mobile app. His latest book is Activating the Power of God’s Word: 16 Strategic Declarations to Transform Your Life. Kyle holds a Master of Divinity in biblical studies from Regent University. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.