Photo Credit: Aaron Burden via Unsplash
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. ~Romans 12:1-2
The Bible tells us about the necessity of renewing the mind. We can find ourselves transformed. It is by renewing our minds that we cast off the things of the world and we learn the perfect will of God. As we renew our mind, we develop a new attitude about life. During the time that I was running from God, I was actually spending a lot of time in the Bible. I was running from what God asked of me while running to God. With all the distractions removed from my life, I had plenty of time on my hands. I have also been developing a new hunger for the word like never before. It felt strange to me that I was for the first time being able to read large portions of scripture. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. I also began to listen to teachings on the Word. Everything centered around learning for a season. In some ways, it seemed unnatural. I’ve questioned my sanity. I have never met anyone who ever spent that kind of time in the Word. Soon I settled in a balance that worked for me and decided to enjoy every moment.
All this reading and listening was beginning to have an effect. Soon I was quoting scriptures that I didn’t know before. I was seeing heart revelations in areas where before there was only head knowledge. There were other positive effects, though. At times I would get overwhelmed at all I wanted to learn. It felt like my brain was never going to absorb it all. During those times I would remember how I need quiet. Constant noise and input leave me frazzled. I was learning how to sit and simply be with God. No Agenda, no list of needs. For one of the first times ever my mind was settled and quiet and I just sat still. I didn’t speak much at all. I just enjoyed God’s presence. It was awkward to start with. But now I can just sit there and be completely overwhelmed by His love, grace, and just how He shows up in my life. I’ve almost got to where I prefer those quiet times over even times of prayer.
I have found that being still before God has enriched my prayer life. I’m learning to speak less and listen to Him more. I’ve been guilty of not waiting for a response before getting up and doing other things. This has been a season of growth and vision in my life. But I don’t want to make you think that it was all easy. This has been one of the most challenging seasons in my life. When you move forward into who God created you to be the enemy doesn’t like it. I have faced attacks and opposition in ways I never expected. I had never been taught about spiritual warfare and I was caught off guard. Many days I just wanted to give up. I think one of the problems that we run into too often is that people are quick to share their victories and growth. But we are not as quick or willing to share about the struggle. The enemy loves to get me alone and bombard me with lies. I was clueless to his tactics and I failed to fight back.
I had decided that God wanted me to get involved with face to face community. All of a sudden every friendship was opposed and many days I had never felt more alone. There were times when it was all I could do just to keep showing up week after week. It was beyond frustration. I could have a great time at church and 5 minutes after leaving I would be downhearted, sad, crying. And I had no idea what upset me. I would actually have dreams where people would confront me about how much I talked to other people. My emotions were torn between trying for community or wanting to give up and hide. But God gave me a friend who was quick to notice the attack. She would remind me often that I needed to fight back. She would begin to teach me by example as she shared how she was fighting her own battles. She also made a commitment to me and to God that she was letting nothing come between our friendship. She taught me how to stand strong in the face of opposition and how to fight for your friends.
Renewing your mind will make a huge impact in your life. It will be one of the most rewarding things you can do. Remember that just because it is rewarding doesn’t mean that it will be easy. We have a real enemy and he gets scared when we begin to become who we were created to be. I’m looking forward to sharing later about what I am learning about fighting the attacks of the enemy.
How have you seen the renewing of your mind make you stronger than ever before? Did it make you more confident to move forward in the things God is whispering to your heart? How have you seen the enemy come against your forward movement?