What have you heard so many times that you believed it…even when you knew deep down that it wasn’t really true? Maybe you heard it throughout your childhood or in the media. For instance, my youngest daughter repeated for years, “I can’t sleep in my room alone.” She repeated this sentence so many times that she actually believed it.
We know that cult members are brainwashed from the time they are very young so that they will remain in allegiance to the cult. They repeat the ideology so often that their brains grow and form around these concepts. If a cult member comes to Christ, obviously he has lots of reprogramming to do to be able to walk in truth and freedom. But just as cult members are severely misprogrammed, so are we. We hear, learn and internalize falsities in the cult of the world from early on and operate out of them as if they are reality. We, too, must diligently renew our minds in truth in order to walk in it.
“Renew” means “to make new again.” The Scriptures instruct us to renew our minds. But why must we re-new our minds? How were they new in the first place? Our minds were new because at our spiritual birth, we were given the mind of Christ. However, living in a fallen world taints that gift. Consequently, we have underlying assumptions and modes of operating that do not dovetail with the mind of Christ.
As a result of the world’s effects on us, we can accidentally operate in duplicity. Duplicity, addressed in James 1:8, is called double mindedness which means “of two minds” but in the same person. Sounds wacky, doesn’t it?
But think about times when you couldn’t make a decision. At that time you were double minded. Those who are continually double minded can have real problems. And as the Scripture attests, double mindedness is instability in action. Here’s our formula: duplicity equals instability (D=I) or contrarily, renewal equals stability (R=S). Which formula would you rather define your life?
One thing I’ve learned is that advancing on all sides is more effective than working something from just one side. For instance, when I come in after a brisk walk in the Atlanta humidity, the fastest way to cool off is to renew my thermal cycle inside and out. To cool the outside I stand over a cold vent or in front of the freezer. Simultaneously, to cool the inside I drink ice-cold water. With these two applications working in unison, the cool thermal cycle is renewed rapidly and I am comfortable again in half the amount of time I would have had I used only one application.
Mind renewal can work in the same way as cooling off after a walk. When you bombard your mind from the inside and the outside with truth, you will absorb it more readily than if you bombard it from only one side. The intensity and consistency with which you saturate your mind will determine how quickly and deeply the truth is absorbed.
Today we have myriad methods of absorbing truth: internet, iPad, iPhone, mp3 players, CDs, DVDs, flashcards, notes, books, workbooks, etc. But the coolest and most convenient type of method is with no technological device at all. Simply using your mind to capture, store and focus on one verse for hours or days at a time can bring marvelous results. This process called meditation combined with the other methods can really give your mind a run for its money with results in half the time it would have taken otherwise.
So in order for my daughter to sleep alone in her bed at night, and not with her one of her sisters or on our bedroom sofa, I gave her homework. The job of the homework was to renew her mind in truth so that she could in fact sleep all by herself wherever she wants. Every day she wrote out ten times, “I’m a big girl and I can sleep in my room all by myself. That’s the truth.”
When she finished writing it, she had to recite it out loud to me and whoever else was around. After her recitation we would cheer for her, give her hugs then pray over her while she lay in her bed. The assignment which included writing, recitation and validation renewed her mind so that she could come to believe the truth. One she believed the truth then she could begin to walk in it or rather, sleep in it. Just the same, when we truly believe we walk accordingly.
Renewal requires identifying our false beliefs and addressing them from all sides.
What false beliefs do you have that are affecting your behavior?
What “homework” can you do in order to renew them?
Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.