Mission’s priority has for many, lost its primary focus as the world we live in contends to win our minds through media ladened with choices for quick self-gratification.
Romans 12: 2 understood this conflict. God speaks to his family of faith with sound advice, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
What does it mean to renew our minds? Firstly the “mind” in this verse is referring to mankind’s control centre of our attitudes, thoughts, feelings, and actions. The context of renewing of the mind implies the moving of our thinking in the direction of God’s counsel and instruction. In the media world’s clammer to introduce us to mental and physical stimulation, we risk plunging ourselves into mindless activity that leaves us disappointed. The warning in Romans 12: 2 suggests that when the mind is not being renewed by God’s refreshing presence, the world’s destructive values will soon gain priority that lead to our lives “conforming” to the pagan world’s values.
In the introduction to the book of Proverbs we are introduced to several values of reading God’s Words in the Bible that result in the renewing of our minds -
Proverbs 1: 2 - 5 “For attaining wisdom and discipline; For understanding words of insight; for acquiring a discipline and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair, for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young - let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance”
Truly God is generous in His gift of a sound mind for any who seek Him. God places high value on education and stimulation of the mind in our walk of Christian faith. This quote from the Puritans in the 16th – 17th century was an insightful observation on the mind. “The mind must be instructed and enlightened before faith and obedience become possible!” This understanding is important because today’s bias leans us towards quick gratification driven by a rush of feeling and emotion. But God’s idea of preparing the mind for the journey of life and mission is always actioned by obedience to His teaching. In our engagement in God’s mission the provision of the Bible, coupled with the invitation to meditation and prayerful conversation with God, are essential ingredients to the living a profitable life.
Today more than ever as we face the disruption to our community of churches, the importance of embracing God’s personal invitation to “renew our minds” is essential. His invitation will lead us back to an open Bible that requires of us our time to read and study the Word of God. The truth is that this will lead to reflection and meditation that will permeate our conversation with those we love and those we would love to see join the family of faith. The mission we embrace to make Christ known is best served by a lifetime of renewing of our minds. It is then our privilege to enjoy the Holy Spirit’s validation of the message we live and share with others.
1 Peter 1 is a message of living hope, the message of the gospel. Verse 13 advises -
“Prepare your minds for action; be self- controlled; Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Mission by definition is an action, but the mind of God is the source of the message and your pathway to a year of purpose and fulfilment. Each day we must choose to whom we surrender our mind!