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THE WORRY

War

SESSION #4

OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW

the need

ROMANS 12:1-2

Do you consider yourself to be well read? Do you read one book a day? Before you think this sounds absurd, if your data consumption is on par with the average American in 2008 you read a sizable book every single day. In a popular and often cited study, the University of California discovered that the average American consumes about 34 gigabytes of data and information daily. This is the equivalent of about 100,000 words heard or read, which is 5,000 more than J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. For reference, the original book was 310 pages.

Unless you can make a valid case that technology has advanced rapidly in the last 15 years and somehow your data consumption has decreased, you’re probably well within the national average. We consume information constantly. Assuming even half this information is biblical truth (which would be rare), our minds are heavily influenced by the world’s beliefs, values, and opinions. It’s safe to say the majority of the thoughts in our heads are not from God’s word. Our brains operate in constant stress and the information overload only contributes to our worry. This reality is especially concerning when we consider Paul’s commands not to conform to the world or to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

After unpacking major components of the Christian faith like sin, salvation, justification, glorification, sanctification, and sovereignty, Paul turns to our expected response. In light of the mercies of God and Jesus’ great work on the cross, Christians ought to present themselves as a living and holy sacrifice to the Lord. All of ourselves should be presented to God daily, for His glory and for His will. We are not animals to be killed as the Old Testament saints worshipped God. We are living sacrifices. In all God has done for us, this is reasonable. This is worship.

Once we’ve sacrificed ourselves, our will and lives, we must reject the process of becoming like the lost world. We must reject worldly ideologies and influence. We must address every thought in our minds and examine each one with the truths of scripture.

Given in stark contrast to conforming to the world, Paul commands us to be transformed. We are in need of transformation. The first 11 chapters of Romans teaches us that those who place their faith in Jesus are saved and justified. The Christian’s standing before God permanently changes from lost sinner to righteous child of God. An aspect of our salvation is not complete though. We have been redeemed and made new, but we are being shaped, conformed into the image of Jesus Christ through a life-long process.

God will see this process of transformation to the end, but we play an active role in the process. We understand that our transformation happens as our minds are renewed. Indeed, we have been made new but our flesh lives on. Though we have been made new and the Holy Spirit dwells within us, our minds still operate according to the flesh. Think of placing a brand new engine inside a beat up, decaying vehicle, a lot of work must still be done. You will have to continuously rip out old parts and replace them with new ones.

Have you ever had a thought randomly pop into your head that you knew was wrong? This is your flesh. Have you ever dwelled on a wrong thought even after you knew it wasn’t pleasing to God? This is your flesh. Our minds default to serving ourselves, which also happens to be the mantra of the world. Our minds are in need of being renewed daily. Our thoughts control everything about us, so when they are aimed toward obedience to God, transformation will begin to take place at an appropriate pace. When God is the only participant working on our spiritual growth, we may live our entire lives as believers without noticeable fruit or impact.

In short, our minds are renewed as we engage in daily Christian disciplines in Christian community. Our thought patterns are altered as we replace sinful thoughts with Christ-honoring ones. Our brains are re-wired as we interact with God’s word and obey. We develop a new mindset as we pray to God, walk with godly believers, gather with the saints, and battle our sins.

Paul closes out this introduction to chapter 12 with a purpose statement. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so we can prove or demonstrate what the will of God is in our lives. His will is described as good, acceptable, and perfect. Our lives can be marked by what is good, acceptable, and perfect.

WEEKLY SCRIPTURE MEMORY VERSE:

Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

  1. Do I have any worldly thoughts I need to address?

  2. What Biblical truths can I replace these thoughts with?

  3. Have I taken the appropriate steps to help renew my mind today?

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