The mind is a fascinating aspect of human nature that is often discussed in the Bible. As Christians, we believe that our minds are a gift from God but have been affected by the fall. Thankfully, through Christ, we can renew our minds and align our thinking more closely with God’s truth. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore several key things the Bible teaches about the mind of man.
The mind is the center of human consciousness and personality. It includes our intellect, emotions, will, and imagination. Our minds allow us to think, reason, feel, desire, perceive, and imagine. They are a wonderful gift from God that reflects the fact we are made in His image as rational, emotional, volitional beings (Genesis 1:26-27).
However, because of the fall, our minds have been corrupted by sin. We often think in distorted and ungodly ways. The Bible calls us to renewal and transformation of our minds as an essential part of the Christian life. As Romans 12:2 (NKJV) says:
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“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
In this blog post, we will explore several key things the Bible teaches about the unbelieving mind, the renewed mind in Christ, and practices for renewing our minds as Christians. Understanding the nature of the mind is crucial for living wisely and pleasing God. Let’s dive in!
- The unbelieving mind is naturally hostile to God and unable to submit to Him
- When we are saved, we receive the mind of Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit
- We are called to renew our minds through studying Scripture, prayer, godly fellowship, and other spiritual disciplines
- A renewed mind leads to discernment, wisdom, godly desires, righteous actions, and transformation into Christ’s image
- Taking every thought captive, meditating on truth, and setting our minds on Christ-like things renews our minds
- A renewed mind is essential for living in God’s will, experiencing joy and peace, handling trials, resisting temptation, and more
- Key Takeaways:
- The Unbelieving Mind
- The Mind of Christ
- Practices for Renewing Our Minds
- The Fruit of a Renewed Mind
The Unbelieving Mind
What does the Bible teach about the mind apart from God? Scripture paints a sobering picture of the capabilities and tendencies of the unbelieving mind. Let’s look at some key passages.
The Unbelieving Mind Is Hostile to God
Romans 8:7 tells us bluntly:
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” (NKJV)
The unbelieving mind is “carnal” (controlled by our sinful flesh) and therefore hostile and opposed to God. This mindset actively resists submitting to God’s law and ways.
Why is the unbelieving mind so resistant to God? John 3:20 sheds light:
“For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (NKJV)
Unbelievers instinctively hate exposure of their sin, so they avoid drawing near to God who is light and would expose their darkness. They are blind to truth because they shun the light.
The Unbelieving Mind Is Confused and Futile
In Ephesians 4:17-18, Paul expands on the state of unbelievers’ minds:
“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” (NKJV)
Because they are alienated from God who is truth and life itself, unbelievers’ thinking is ultimately “futile” (aimless, pointless). They are plagued by ignorance, darkness, and blindness of heart that keep them walking in sinful futility, unable to perceive or live out God’s truth.
The Unbelieving Mind Is Corrupted by Sin
Paul further describes the unbelieving mind in Ephesians 2:1-3:
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (NKJV)
Here Paul notes unbelievers follow the influence of Satan (“prince of the power of the air”) and their own sinful flesh, living to fulfill sinful desires originating from their minds. Sin has thoroughly corrupted the unbelieving mind.
The Unbelieving Mind Cannot Understand or Accept Spiritual Truth
Passages like 1 Corinthians 2:14 explain that without the Holy Spirit, unbelievers cannot grasp God’s truth:
“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.” (NKJV)
So in their natural state, unbelievers see God’s wisdom as foolishness. They lack the capacity to discern, understand, or accept spiritual truth. Their minds remain darkened without the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
In summary, the Bible presents a sober view of the unbelieving mind as resistant to God, futile in its thinking, ignorant of truth, and corrupted by sin. This mindset prevents people from understanding and responding rightly to the gospel. So only a radical renewal by God’s Spirit can open their minds to receive Christ.
The Mind of Christ
When someone turns from sin and trusts in Christ as Savior and Lord, an amazing transformation takes place in their mind. God gives them completely new mental capacities through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Let’s survey some key Bible passages describing the renewed mind of believers:
We Receive the Mind of Christ
1 Corinthians 2:16 declares, “For ‘who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” (NKJV)
Because the Holy Spirit now resides within us, we have access to the very mind of Christ Himself! As we submit to the Spirit’s leading, Christ’s thoughts, attitudes, desires, and wisdom start to shape and renew our thinking.
We Gain the Capacity to Understand Spiritual Truth
In stark contrast to the unbeliever’s blindness, believers have God’s Spirit living inside, giving light and understanding of His truth. As 1 Corinthians 2:12 (NKJV) promises:
“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.”
With the Spirit’s help, we can start perceiving spiritual realities unbelievers can’t grasp. Our minds are opened to receive truth from God’s Word and Spirit.
We Receive the Capacity to Discern God’s Will
Romans 12:2 explains that with renewed minds, we gain discernment to test and approve God’s will:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (NKJV)
No longer conformed to the world’s mold, our new minds can wisely evaluate various thoughts, desires, and choices to recognize which align with God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.
We Start to Develop Christlike Virtues that Please God
Colossians 3:12-14 describes virtues that flow from a renewed mind controlled by the Spirit rather than our flesh:
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” (NKJV)
As we put on the “new self” in Christ, our minds are no longer dominated by sinful desires but rather bear the fruit of the Spirit, growing in Christlike virtues that please and honor God.
So in summary, through Christ the believer gains an incredible renewal of mind – we share the mind of Christ Himself! This transforms our ability to understand and apply God’s truth by the enlightening power of the indwelling Spirit.
Practices for Renewing Our Minds
The Bible not only promises us renewed minds in Christ; it provides practical instruction on how to renew our thinking day-to-day as believers. Let’s look at some key mind-renewing practices:
Studying and Memorizing Scripture
God’s living Word is the truth that renews our minds. Immersing ourselves in Scripture helps replace ungodly thought patterns with God’s thoughts:
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8 NKJV)
Studying, meditating on, and memorizing Scripture are essential for renewing our minds. God’s Word exposes and washes away sinful thoughts and reshapes our thinking in godly ways.
Prayer is powerful for renewing our minds. As we engage in prayerful conversation with God, expressing adoration, confession, thanks, and supplication, it realigns our thoughts around God’s truth and priorities. Paul urges believers to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – keeping our minds tuned towards God.
The company we keep deeply influences our thinking. That’s why Psalm 1:1-2 describes the blessed man as avoiding wicked advisors and delighting in God’s law. Fellow believers can encourage us in godliness and truth, provoking us to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). Their godly counsel provides wisdom for renewing our minds.
Practicing God’s Presence
Keeping our minds stayed on the reality that God is always present helps us align our thoughts and behavior with His will. Psalm 16:8 says, “I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be shaken.” (NKJV) Consciously walking in God’s presence renews our minds.
Taking Every Thought Captive
Second Corinthians 10:5 describes the practice of taking every thought captive to obey Christ. Whenever wrong thoughts enter our minds, we can consciously capture them and replace them with scriptural truth. This breaks unhealthy thought patterns and renews our minds.
Setting Our Minds on Things Above
Colossians 3:2 (NKJV) instructs us to “set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Making a habit of directing our thoughts toward godly and eternal matters pulls our minds away from earthly, fleshly desires that cloud our thinking.
When we regularly engage in disciplines like these, Scripture promises a comprehensive renewal of our minds into the image of Christ (Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:10). Let’s seek to intentionally practice mind-renewal every day!
The Fruit of a Renewed Mind
Why go through the effort of renewing our minds? What powerful fruits does this transformation yield? As we close, let’s highlight some key benefits of gaining a renewed, Christlike mind:
Discernment and Wisdom
With renewed minds, we gain discernment to recognize God’s will and walk in wisdom, no longer conformed to the world’s foolish thinking (Romans 12:2). Our minds are enlightened to live skillfully and make wise choices.
Joy and Peace
Isaiah 26:3 promises that God will “keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Keeping our thoughts fixed on God brings deep joy and confidence in Him. In contrast, fleshly thoughts breed anxiety, discontentment, and instability.
Strength in Trials
Renewing our minds prepares us to face sufferings with grace and hope. We gain the mindset of Paul who viewed trials as opportunities to magnify Christ (Philippians 1:12-21). Rather than despairing, we can rejoice that God is refining us.
Victory Over Sin
When our minds are renewed, we gain power through the Spirit to overcome sinful habits and addictions (Romans 8:5-6). Sin loses its grip as our thoughts are transformed to despise evil and cling to God and His truth.
Transformation into Christ’s Image
As we renew our minds, Colossians 3:10 promises we “put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” Our new self in Christ is restored to reflect God’s nature. This brings Him great glory as we grow more Christlike.
A Life That Pleases God
With renewed minds, we can walk in a manner worthy of our calling, fully pleasing to God (Colossians 1:9-10). Our thoughts, desires, and actions all align with bringing glory to Him. This is the ultimate purpose of renewing our minds.
In closing, renewing our minds is a foundational goal of the Christian life. The unbelieving mind remains hostile and blind to God. But in Christ, we can experience an incredible transformation by sharing in the mind of Christ through the Spirit’s power. As we renew our minds through immersing ourselves in Scripture, prayer, godly fellowship, and other disciplines, we will walk in discernment, wisdom, victory, peace, and an ever-deepening Christlikeness. Let’s diligently pursue renewal until our minds are firmly stayed on Christ every moment. By His Spirit at work in us, this lifelong pursuit is possible. Our minds can increasingly reflect our Lord until we know Him perfectly in glory!