I said yesterday that the gift of Bible study sharpening our vision involves the mind, and today our focus is on just that: how our minds are trained by the truth of God’s Word.
The idea comes from Scriptures like Romans 12:1-2 which say,
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
What does it look like to renew your mind, and how does Bible study help?
We have to first understand that our minds have the natural inclination to think differently than God’s. Plus, we have the additional challenge of an active enemy bent on feeding us lies. In Christ, a new way of thinking is available to us, as well as a Helper to breathe God’s thoughts into our minds, but we have a part in this work: taking our thoughts captive to truth. We study God’s Word so that we know him more fully, grow intimate with him, but also to understand truth and appropriate HIS thoughts to our life circumstances. Our minds – and therefore, our lives – cannot be rightly transformed apart from the Spirit replacing and aligning our thoughts with God’s Word.
Replacing is key. During a season of battling anxiety and fear, the most helpful instruction I received was this: Wallpaper your mind with truth. I love this image because it highlights an aspect of mind renewal that can be easily missed. What happens when someone tries to put up wallpaper over a wall that already has wallpaper on it? You might think you can just cover what’s there, but over time the pattern underneath shows through. You’ll find greater success if you ensure that the old wallpaper has been properly removed prior to adding the new. It’s the same way with renewing our minds. Sometimes we approach God’s Word for new truth without embracing its power to remove the old thoughts that are opposed to God’s way. Studying the Bible should involve both.
Scripture is the covering our minds need to function in obedience and abundant life, but it also operates in uncovering our wrong thoughts. That’s a much more tedious work than just hanging pretty Scripture cards on our wall and trying often to dwell on them. The work of taking down wrong thoughts can run very deep, and I’ll miss it if my time spent in the Word is only about finding a sweet truth that makes me feel good about where I am today. I confess that sometimes I’d prefer Bible study to involve just that, but I know that even though his way may involve more work, it’s a beautiful work and protects me from dangerous paths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
We want to be women of the Word who are willing to endure the hard, messy removal work our mindsets regularly need.