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Renewed in the Spirit of Your Mind

Posted on November 7, 2019 at 10:05 AM

Dear Saints;

The need for the renewing of our minds is clearly revealed by Paul in his letter to the Ephesian church (Ephesians 4: 17-24). Warning us against “walking” or living like non-believers he describes their problem as “the vanity of their mind”. This refers to being what might be called a “spiritual air head” which Paul goes on to describe as being confused, ignorant and blind. This natural condition of the mind is painful and leads to a self-centered obsession with making oneself feel good regardless of the cost or consequences. It is a problem all people are faced with naturally and is the underlying reason for the social ills of our culture. Clearly, there is a need in believers to have their minds renewed so they might develop the new lifestyle we were born to live.

 

Concerning the natural or carnal mind of the flesh, Paul tells the Ephesians they did not learn this from Christ since they have heard him and been taught the truth by him. By this he means that the natural mind of the flesh did not come from Jesus and cannot be used to live the new life they have in him. It is impossible to live the new lifestyle of grace and truth by using the mind of the old persons we were. Unfortunately, many believers fail to thrive in their new life simply because they are continuing to use the mind of the flesh. The mind of the flesh is still just as confused, ignorant and blind as it always has been. For this reason, we need to be “renewed in the spirit of our mind” as Paul reveals in this passage.

 

The truth Jesus teaches all believers through his indwelling Spirit concerns, first and foremost, their new identity. Paul urges them to put off the “old man” meaning their old identity and its corresponding lifestyle. He notes that both are “corrupt according to deceitful lusts”. The natural condition of humanity is not a pretty picture. We are born selfish and dysfunctional as natural descendants of Adam and live a life of corruption according to the desires of the flesh and the conditioning of the world around us. Paul tells us as believers to “put off” or reject the old identity with its corresponding lifestyle.

 

In order to do so we must allow ourselves to “be renewed in the spirit of our minds”. This describes the miraculous way in which the indwelling Spirit of God convinces us of our new identity in Christ and enlightens us to our new life in him. We are no longer the same person we were born as but have been “born again” by the Spirit as a brand-new child of God. As such we can live out a new lifestyle characterized by righteousness and true holiness rather than continue in the old lifestyle.

 

He tells us to not only put off the old identity but to also put on the new identity. This is not a call to somehow change our behavior in our own strength, but rather to change what we believe about ourselves. Are we or are we not going to believe the truth that God has done all that was necessary to make us a new person in Christ? Will we exercise faith in who he says we are, or will we go on believing we are the same old person we always thought we were? Putting off the old and putting on the new identity is not something we must convince ourselves of but the very work of the Spirit who continually bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. Our faith in who God says he made us to be in Christ produces the miracle of changing us into the image of Christ. It is in no way dependent upon our own knowledge or efforts to change ourselves, but rather on our faith in the fact that God has already changed us by putting to death the “old man” and raising up the “new man. Being renewed in the spirit of our minds is a continual process of God’s grace working in us to conform us to the image of Christ from the inside out.

 

John

 

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