Thursday, February 08, 2007

mind over matter

We're told in Romans 12 not to be conformed to the pattern of this world. But instead, to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This is in the context of offering, through the mercies of God in Jesus (as spelled out in Romans 1-11), our bodies, as living sacrifices to God, in worship. Along with that comes, what I take to be a process in this life, of the renewal of our minds.

So many things get in the way of our living the life of God's will for us in Christ Jesus. You name them, they're there. And these things impact us. They're matters that matter to us. Sometimes legitmately; oftentimes, maybe in the way we're going about it, or in themselves, not legitimate.

We heard a recent chapel speaker where I work, who made a good point. It's our passion, or passions that drive us. More than our faith. You can say you believe in Christ; even that you have committed your life to Christ. Yet not stop following a passion that you know is not according to God's revealed will in Scripture. I would say (maybe he said it) that at the heart of true faith, as God would have it for us, there is a drive and a passion, to draw us into the passion, suffering and heart of Christ. We must follow, even when all in us would not.

Our minds need renewing. As the passage tells us, so that we can understand God's good, perfect and pleasing will. But unless we press on towards that, we will fall short. We will fall into the worldly way of living, which is not the mind of Christ or the will of God for us in Christ.

Prayer and Scripture all day, as much as possible, are keys for me. But so is the communion with others who are trying to walk with God in Christ. Seeking to live as those following Christ. Seeking to see, hear, listen, act, live and speak with the mind and heart of our Lord.

This is a process. So let's not beat up on ourselves as we see our deficiencies. It is good that we see them. A mercy from God. So that we can apply our minds to the needed transformation of God for us, in Christ. A transformation that gradually can change our outlook. Giving us new insight and vision. And help us live in the good life and will of our God. And keep doing that, again and again, as needed. Which it will be.

What have you learned about this transformation by the renewing of your mind in Jesus? What helps you in this? Or any other thoughts, of course.

One postscript I would like to add to this. We little understand or appreciate the place and power of community, the community of God in Christ, for the accomplishment of the renewing of our minds and transformation of our lives. So much can go on in that context to help reform us in Christ. This is like a missing link, in this "equation" that is surely needed much more.

14 comments:

Llama Momma said...

I'm intrigued with this whole concept of being a "living sacrifice." What does this mean in the context of day-to-day life? (I recently blogged about the experience of TRYING to be a living sacrifice...in the midst of life.) I'll admit, I feel like a bit of a failure in this area.

And yet. As a Mom to three boys, I'm learning that the spiritual can also be the mundane. Eleven poopy diapers yesterday...an act of worship? As spiritual as dragging myself out of bed early this morning to have time with Jesus? Maybe not. And yet the two go together somehow.

Allowing Jesus to renew my mind helps me find Him in the ordinariness of my life.

L.L. Barkat said...

I like what llama momma said... reminds me of Mother Teresa... I see Jesus in the eyes of the poor.

So, maybe what transforms us is when we start to see Jesus everywhere... indeed, he holds all things together... why should we engage in trying to take him apart? Thinking like this can change us, I think.

andre said...

llama momma

I know the feeling about working in the mundane. Changing diapers? Nothing's more spiritual if you ask me.

I posted on "seeing God in the monotony" sometime back. Perhaps it'll be helpful...or perhaps at least interesting to you

http://everysquareinch.blogspot.com/2006/07/seeing-god-in-monotony.html

Mark Goodyear said...

Llama momma, Andre is no slouch in this area. In some ways, his entire blog is about how to be a living sacrifice. You should really go check it out.

Romans 12 is almost a mantra on the site I edit. (A friend of mine even wrote an article for us called Changing Diapers for God.) For me, being a living sacrifice comes back to service and ministry. In my mind they are the same thing. Any service done to the glory of God is a ministry. Any service. When I do my job well for a secular employee, that glorifies God.

Changing diapers is every bit as spiritual as spending time with Jesus. That doesn't mean one takes the place of the other. We have to do both. The two commandments are love God, love your neighbor. The way you change that diaper is part of the way you love your child. The way you love your child will help them understand the way God loves them.

What could be more important than that?

Llama Momma said...

Wow. Thank you for all of the kind words of encouragement!

Andre - I like your blog. Thanks for the link.

Mark - Great article, and a nice reminder that these years home with my children are not wasted.

Ted - I'm sorry to hijack your blog! (The llama is slinking back to the kitchen to make waffles now...)

Ted Gossard said...

Llama momma, L.L., Andre and Mark, Thanks for the great exchange.

I think this passage is so key for us. It's something that I think has to be worked out in our lives, something we have to keep working on.

Offering our body as living sacrifices to God in view of God's mercies to us in Christ, seems to involve both gratitude as well as getting in on what God is doing. Being a part of that. And really just worshiping him by, as is well pointed out here, changing diapers. Can't improve in the stuff shared here. Thanks!

Ted Gossard said...

Llama momma, In the ordinariness of life, to be sure! Being transformed by the renewing of our minds means that we begin to see things differently. I think this can be very hard, and has an element of us working at it. But I also think God gives insight along the way. Just like in this conversation today. Well, you know I had to throw in something, myself.

Ted Gossard said...

L.L., I like your thought about seeing Jesus in everything and everywhere.

Sometimes this is extremely hard, I think. Beyond us in ourselves, to be sure. But as we look, the Spirit will surely give us eyes to see, as we remain in prayer and the Word/Scripture, as well as in communion with God and his people. (do I have everything covered?) And beingh mission-oriented. As in Llama showing God's love to her little ones.

Thanks.

Ted Gossard said...

Andre, A wonderful post on monotony. Great thoughts there! Thanks for sharing that.

Ted Gossard said...

Mark, Thanks for sharing your friend's post. Great thoughts there.

And thanks for what you added. Wonderful insight. Well expressed.

Mark Goodyear said...

Ted, you're the man. Thank you for being so consistent and faithful in the devotions you post here.

Alan Knox said...

Ted,

You asked what helps us renew our mind. Prayer and Scripture? Yes, absolutely necessary. The community of saints? Must have this! The Spirit? Can't be transformed without him.

But what about simple obedience? I mean, there are times when I don't want to sacrifice myself. But, when I sacrifice myself anyway... well, I find my mind is being renewed.

In short, I think everything works together.

-Alan

Ted Gossard said...

Mark, Thanks. It's only the grace and faithfulness of God that keeps me and all of us going.

Ted Gossard said...

Alan, Great point. Obedience is so key. Keeping God's commandments, both in storing them in our hearts to live out in our lives.