Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good, and acceptable and perfect.                                                                                                                                                                                         Romans 12:2

One time we received a piece of mail announcing a wonderful new move of God in western Canada. It described how lives were being changed. How their gatherings were growing larger. People were hungry for God.

It sounded great.

It went on to describe how God was supernaturally filling people’s cavities with gold fillings.

Whatever was going on out there in western Canada, they weren’t procuring disciples of Jesus. They were producing spiritual imbeciles!

A few years ago thousands of Christians were flocking to Florida to participate in a wonderful new revival. So you go on the internet to check it out. And what do you find? A video of grown-ups jumping up and down, barking like dogs, laughing hysterically. This is the kingdom of God?

Of course, we’re more normal. We don’t get carried away like that. And yet, when it comes to faith in God, we too are often guilty of putting our minds in neutral and sliding along without serious thought.

When Jesus says, “Follow me,” he doesn’t just mean with your feet. He means with your brains. He expects us to think with a new mind.

“Beware of false prophets; you’ll know them by their fruits.” 

Think. Use your head! Our Lord expects us to think with a mind that’s connected with his mind. To figure out what’s going on. To be focused. To know the difference between a false prophet and a true one. To discern between the voice of God and the voice of our own vanity.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The reason we are so weak and ineffective as individuals and as churches is that our minds, instead of entering the mind of Christ, are much too conformed to this world’s way of thinking. And as long as our thinking is earthbound, we can sing all the hymns in the book, memorize the Bible, listen to sermons till Doomsday; our faith will remain either gullible or apathetic. We need a new mind. His mind. The mind of Chriist.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”                      John 15:5

Yes, our hearts are to be joined to his heart. Nailed to his cross. But unless our minds come along, unless they break with the mind of this world and enter into his mind, our union with Christ is empty vapor.

When the Spirit tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world,” he’s talking about this world’s mind. It’s way of thinking. This world’s mind has four basic features.

This world’s mind is a distracted mind.It cannot stay focused. It hears the phone ring, and forgets about the potatoes boiling dry on the stove. It gets so caught up in the hockey scores, it forgets about the dentist appointment. Its ear grows three sizes larger every time it hears gossip.


Those commercials that blast their way into our living rooms every time we watch the news, are designed to distract us. Pain pills. Vitamin pills. Pills for sex. Pills for sleep. Hand creams, face creams, fast cars. A distracted mind.

This world’s mind is an obsessed mind. Obsessed, perhaps, by a secret fear. Or a resentment. By money. Guilt. Self-pity. Whatever it is, this obsession keeps playing its tune in the mind like a little worm.

Maybe I’m obsessed by the need to prove myself, like the man who spends a lifetime trying to prove to his arrogant father that he’s just as good as the old man. The old man dies. The obsession goes on.

Or the woman who has never recovered from a rejection she suffered when she was 17. It affects everything she does.

Some people are obsessed with the need to control others. It’s an obsession that can take you to great heights. But in the end, it will destroy you. It always does.

The mind of this world is a vain mind.It loves to look in the mirror. How am I doing? Do they like me? Do they appreciate me? Why did she walk by me in the supermarket and didn’t even say hello? What am I, chopped liver?

The mind of this world is a gullible mind.It’s a sucker for those commercials. The politician promises prosperity, and he gets the vote. The evangelist claims that for every $10 you send him God will give you $100 back. And the money pours into his pockets.

If Oprah says it, if the Pope says it, if the preacher says it, it’s gospel. Gullible.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

If you’re following Jesus with your mind, your mind won’t be chronically distracted, obsessed, vain, or gullible. Your mind will be renewed every day by the Spirit. You’ll think with a sanctified brain.

Peter had the mind of this world when he first started following Jesus. He had a good fishing business going, but he was unstable. Impulsive. But when Peter stood up on Pentecost and began to speak, anyone who knew Peter would have been struck by his transformed mind. The man had a new mind!

When the apostle John began following Jesus, he had the mind of this world. He was all for calling down fire from heaven on those Samaritans who refused to let him stay in their hotel. But what a different mind you behold, when you open John’s gospel and begin to read!

We used to call him East Side John. He was on hard drugs, but wanted to get clean. He came to Bible Study for a while, but just couldn’t seem to stick with it. He drifted away. Months later we got a call at 3:00 a.m. “Hey, they broke into my place and stole my stereo. What am I going to do?”

Why is he telling me this at 3:00 a.m.? But John came back, and this time he opened his mind to the Lord. Soon, no more drugs. John was a garbage collector for the City of Detroit. He would get up at 4:00 a.m. to get in an hour of prayer before going to work.

When he finished for the day in the early afternoon, John would head for Skid Row and start fishing for souls. He’d pack them into his old car and bring them to Bible Study that evening. Talk about a new mind!

One day John walked up to Sue, one of the girls in our congregation, and said, “The Lord showed me that you’re supposed to be my wife.” What a proposal! How could she refuse? Today, years later, their kids are grown and John and Sue continue to renew their minds in the Lord day-by-day. Today John is preaching in a church in South Carolina.

The Mind of Christ. That’s what the Spirit of God wants to give each of us every day of our lives.

But why is it that so many Christians get side-tracked when it comes to the mind? Supernatural gold fillings for the teeth. Holy oil in the palm of the hand. Absurd prophecies which never came from God. Emotional excesses. Mental apathy.

Look, Jesus died on that cross, rose again, and sent the Spirit among us to make it possible for each of us to think with a sanctified brain. To have a new mind. But the Spirit cannot renew our mind unless we put our mind to it.

“Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” This is something you have to do, no one can do it for you. Daily, each of us with an act of the will, has to turn the mind away from darkness and open the mind to the light of God.

Specifically, A renewed mind is a mind that daily turns from the darkness and chooses , like the Master, to love the Father above all things.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength, and with all your mind.”

This is a command which you can now obey by the power of the Spirit. You choose daily to love God above all things.

You love God in the morning when you get up.

You love God as you go about your daily work.

You love God when you sit down to eat.

You love God when you give yourself to him in sleep.

You choose to love God above all things.

A renewed mind is a mind that daily turns from the darkness and chooses, like the Master, to trust the Father for all things.

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O people of little faith?”

Daily I turn my mind from the darkness and choose to believe that God is my Father, and as I walk in his light, he’s going to provide for me whatever I need: money, friends, food, shelter. He’s going to protect me. He’s going to guide me, sustain me, and correct me when I’m wrong---as I trust him for all things.

A renewed mind is a mind that daily empties itself of vanity and, like the Master, chooses to be a simple servant.

“Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.”                                                                                                Philippians 2

Our Lord emptied himself of his glory and became a servant, all the way to the cross.

We empty ourselves of our vanity every day and become servants all the way to whatever cross God has for us.

We don’t have to go big-time. All we have to do is wash feet right where we are. Serve the people God sends across our path with the mind of Christ. Love them, help them, be there for them, pray for them, speak a sustaining word to them….with the new mind which God has given us.

Once we begin to think with the mind of our Lord, the mighty rushing wind of heaven comes down and lifts us out of our darkness into his light. And every day we live on this earth becomes a foretaste of the coming glory.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good, and acceptable and perfect.