“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
What is “the renewing of your mind”?
According to this verse, a Christian mind is something different to the “pattern of this world.” It runs on different grooves. It marches to a different beat.
The verse also suggests that it is all too possible for our minds to slip into the pattern of worldly thinking, to “conform” to it, like a swimmer who wishes to swim one way, but gives in to the current and allows it to push him in a quite different direction.
The only way to counter that current is to develop muscle, “by the renewing of your mind,” to swim against it.
So what is a Christian mind?
I’ve been reading a book called H. Blamires called The Christian Mind. He introduces the idea thus: “We speak of the ‘modern mind’ and of the ‘scientific mind’ using the word ‘mind’ of a collectively accepted set of notions and attitudes.” What’s a Christian mind, then?
It’s “a mind trained. Informed, equipped to handle data of secular controversy within a framework of reference which is constructed of Christians presuppositions.”
A kind of grid, then. A way of looking at the stuff that comes at us from TV or Facebook or magazines or whatnot, from a Christian angle.
That “angle,” I guess, is made up of a few elements that combine together.
A spiritual perspective. A friend of mine has this emblazoned on his Facebook page: “Everything is spiritual.” It’s so true, but we forget it so easily! The truth is that everything has a spiritual dimension. There is more to this world than the material and the physical. There is an unseen world all around us, lapping at our feet.
An awareness of good and evil. Part – maybe the big part– of a spiritual perspective is to identify both the forces of evil and the power of good at work around us. Even within my sheltered life I have witnessed both at first hand. Unreasoning cruelty. Wonderful love.
The power of redemption There’s a central pulsing idea at the heart of the “Christian mind.” It is rooted in the symbol of the cross, and the sacrifice of the just for the unjust, forgiveness and the cost of forgiveness but the possibility of change, of redemption.
The heart of Christianity is inclusion and welcome and invitation. It is trust and contentment and hope that cannot be overtaken. It is serving and yielding and sacrificing.
It is not a scared narcissism that vilifies outsiders and sanctions bigotry and demands blood.
There are other aspects, sure. But a mind that is spiritually aware, morally sensitive and capable of discerning good and evil, but is not so frightened by the evil that it fails to understand the sheer optimism of redemption, that evil can be conquered –this is the mind that is being renewed. We are exhorted to “love God with all your heart, soul, mind, soul and strength.”
So this, this is how you love God with your mind.
Lord, help me to think that way. Help me to “bring my every thought captive to you.” Search me and show me if there’s any wrong strand of thinking in me.