Friday, September 7, 2007

Exploring the Mind of God

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)
Paul is not telling us to transform ourselves, as if by following a set of rules and regulations we can become what we are supposed to be. No, he learned the hard way that this is not God’s plan for us (see Romans 7). Thankfully, he soon learned
  • that in Jesus Christ we can now live from a position of no condemnation (Romans 8:1)
  • that the law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus sets us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2)
  • that God has many things specifically designed to bring us into line, inwardly and outwardly, with the truth of who Jesus Christ is (Romans 8:3-29).
No, Paul is not telling us to transform ourselves. Rather, he is telling us to be transformed. God wants to transform us, and if we let Him, He will do it for us. Our role is simply to respond to His work in us.

How does God go about this work of transformation? By the renewing of our minds. Again, this is not about us trying to renew our own minds. We don’t have the proper vantage point to be able to do that for ourselves, for we would have to already have a renewed mind in order to know how and what to renew our minds to. Rather, it is about letting God renew it for us, and He has always been more than willing to do so, as we see in this Old Testament promise:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
    And He shall direct your paths.
(Proverbs 3:5-6)
God will renew your mind if you will let Him. Paul put it this way in his letter to the Philippians, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

Now, listen to what God says in Isaiah:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:8-11)
God’s ways are not our ways, but He wants us to walk in His ways. Likewise, God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, but He wants us to think His thoughts — that is why He sent His Word. His Word and His ways reveal His thoughts to us, so that we may know His will, His plans and His purposes. We could never discover these things on our own, nor could we ever understand them by ourselves.
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)
God reveals His thoughts by His Word, and causes us to understand by His Spirit, so that we may receive the mind of Christ. Our part is to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit. He will renew our minds with the mind of Christ so that we may “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

To “prove” means to test, examine, discern and recognize as genuine. Weymouth’s New Testament has it as, “so that you may learn by experience what God’s will is.” It is really an invitation to investigate the mind of God, to explore and discover His will and desire, and to experience how good, well pleasing, full and complete it is.

If you will let Him, God desires to fill you with His thoughts and change your life, inside and out, so that you may know and experience how wonderful His plan is for you, and how much it pleases Him to bless you.