One of my favorite verses of Scripture is Romans 12:2 (ESV) which states, “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.”
As a psychologist and mental health professional, I find this passage quite compelling. I look at this passage as the “train your brain” verse. In other words, this passage emphasizes the important of renewing our mind. There is no question as to what we are to be renewing our minds on: God’s Word. There is no other thing that has the power to transform a person like the Word of God (cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12). As we renew our mind, we learn what God wants from us. We learn what is good in His eyes, what is acceptable in His eyes, and what is perfect in His eyes.
The book of Psalms repeatedly discusses what the Word of God has the power to do in someone’s life. God’s Word can help us to avoid sin (Psalm 119:11). It is a light to our feet (Psalm 119:105). It represents healing and deliverance (Psalm 107:20). It revives our souls, makes us wise, brings joy to our hearts, and opens our eyes (Psalm 19:7-8). What believer does not desire these things?
When you spend regular time renewing your mind with God’s Word, you cannot help but not conform to the world. As your mind is filled with truth, the things of the world do not seem as important. This is not to say that there won’t be times when you are tempted or intrigued or influenced by the world. However, the more we trust in God’s ways and not our own, God does indeed direct our path (cf. Proverbs 3:5-6). Sometimes His direction is to bring us back onto the right path.
Sometimes when things in life go bad, that is when we start searching the Scripture and praying for guidance. I have told my clients on many occasions not to wait until you are going through a battle to begin renewing your mind. If you renew your mind during those times when life is a bit calmer, it is amazing how God uses that to guide and direct you when things have gone really, really bad in your life. Just think about it this way: the military does not wait to train its personnel until they actually go into battle. They spend a lot of time preparing before they ever step onto a battle field. The same is true for the Christian life. In fact, Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that we are engaged in a very real battle. This battle is something we need to be prepared for which brings us right back to the renewing of the mind.
It is foolish for those who claim the name of Christ to not spend time in God’s Word. I have been guilty of this myself and know the consequences of not spending time with God. What God gives us in His word is good (cf. Proverbs 4:2), yet we often reject it either purposefully or just by letting the things of this world crowd it out. Instead, we need to be proactive about renewing our minds. As we do, God transforms us and gives us discernment to know the good, acceptable, and perfect things that He would have us do and become.
Do you want to know what God requires of you? Train your brain!