Often, the thing that holds us back the most in this life is our own minds. Our outlook on life is affected by whether our minds are immersed in God’s word and renewed daily. We tend to form habits of thinking that define us. We might even consider these ways of thinking to be our personality or just part of our upbringing or circumstances that shaped us.
But we are not confined by our mindset. It can be shaped by God’s grace and Spirit to help us renew and refresh our perspective and bring us joy. Here are 7 ways to renew your mindset. Use these as a reminder when you need to reboot your thinking:
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1. Renew your mind with help from the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT: “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.”
Struggles in the battle of the mind cannot merely be addressed by our willpower or positive thoughts. Mindset struggles are spiritual and require help from God. The Holy Spirit lives within us and knows our thoughts before we do. He is able to renew our thoughts and attitudes, but the choice is ours. Will we let Him?
2. Renew your mind by thinking about what God invites you to think on.
Philippians 4:8 ESV: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
This list by Paul to the church in Philippi is a great way to help us reign in thoughts that are not included in the list above. It can be tempting to think on negative things in a fallen world. But we can dismiss those thoughts by trusting that God is well able to handle our burdens as we cast them on Him and pick up thinking on what He told us to think about. Asking ourselves if what we are thinking about fits into any of the criteria of Philippians 4:8 is a great litmus test and filter for our thoughts.
3. Renew your mind by putting off sin and putting on Christ.
Colossians 1:3-10 NLT: “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.”
We cannot say we belong to Christ and still act like we belong to the world. When we let go of the sin that has been keeping us bound in unhealthy thinking patterns, we are able to put on what God has for us. His righteousness for our sinfulness. His thoughts over ours.
4. Renew your mind by repenting.
Psalm 51:7-10: “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.”
Repentance was never meant to be a once-and-done endeavor. It is like a breath of fresh air where we exhale our sins and inhale His Spirit. Our sins are as far as the east is from the west. If we will confess and renounce them and ask God to forgive us, God always hears that prayer and is willing to restore and renew us.
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5. Renew your mind by taking your thoughts captive.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5: “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
This is a hard one. If someone tells us not to think of pink elephants... well, you get the point. But God would not tell us that we can choose our thoughts if we couldn’t. The battle lines are drawn, so do our thoughts line up with what we know about God and His word? Take sinful thoughts captive and ditch them in Jesus’ name, replacing them with His higher thoughts.
6. Renew your mind by looking to the eternal, not the temporary.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Problems get our attention and make it hard for us to focus on God’s faithful promises. We tend to rely on what we can see and touch, but the reality of God’s promises helps to give us strength when the physical realities of this world are looming large. Our temporary sorrows will be replaced with an eternal joy that swallows up every tear shed on this earth. We can rise above our circumstances as we hope in Christ, not for a perfect life.
7. Renew your mind through prayer.
Philippians 4:6-7, ESV: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We often neglect what is ours—perfect peace that protects us from the fiery darts of the enemy on our minds and hearts. But prayer gives us access to an audience of the Creator of us. He knows what is best and how to handle all our struggles.
We tend to form habits of thinking that define us. These crucial thoughts, our complete outlook on life and those around us, are affected by whether our minds are immersed in God’s word and renewed daily. We can be shaped by God’s grace and Spirit to help us renew and refresh our perspective and bring us joy.
Sometimes, changing the scenery around us can also help us as we seek to get out of our own heads, as we try to break free of an unhealthy, negative mindset to focus on God. Take a walk or maybe even a couple of days away with the LORD, just you and Him, and use this list to rejuvenate your thought life and refresh your spirit. And don’t forget to ask for help when you need it. Having others pray for you or counsel you might help you to access what is already yours in Christ: peace that surpasses understanding.
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Originally published Monday, 28 March 2022.