Renewing Our Minds

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To contrast the culture requires that we live lives that conform to the character of Jesus rather than to cultural norms. The apostle Paul exhorts, “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy” (Eph. 4:22–24). Elsewhere he teaches, “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” (Rom. 12:2).

God redeems His people by changing the way we think, and this is accomplished when we embrace the truth of His Word. Jesus prayed for His followers, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth” (John 17:17–19).

Like Jesus, we should cultivate a love for the truth of God’s Word. The Psalmist declares, “Oh how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide. … Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life. Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (Psa. 119:97–98, 104–105). Indeed, it is a commitment to the truth of God’s Word that will empower us to remain righteous even as we live amongst a sinful and hostile culture. The Psalmist adds, “I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands. Evil people try to drag me into sin, but I am firmly anchored to your instructions” (Psa. 119:60–61).

Our battle for righteousness begins with truth. How we think is how we will act. If we do not fight to keep our thinking firmly rooted in God’s truth, we will be unable to effectively contrast the world around us, and therefore, to effect meaningful change. The apostle Peter writes, “Prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. … Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy’” (1 Pet. 1:13a, 14b–16).

Our culture continually bombards us with spiritual lies. If we are not intentional about immersing ourselves in the truth of God’s Word, we risk embracing these lies (Psa. 119:160; 2 Cor. 10:4–5). In turn, we risk slipping into our old ways of living, which were focused on satisfying our own desires. Therefore, becoming God’s cultural influencers requires a commitment to truth and a love of God’s Word that continually renews our thinking.

This article comes from Heart of a Forerunner: How to Be a Relevant and Influential Voice in a Wayward Nation

Heart of a Forerunner

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.