- Dr. Gil Stieglitz
Affirmation #10: Renew Your Mind - Part 1
You’ve probably heard the saying, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Prov 23:7) This means that you can become what you think! So, by mentally rehearsing the kind of person you want to be and the kind of life you want to live, you can get to where you want to be. Yes, transformation requires new thoughts and a new mental construct to live and strive toward.
As Christians, our new mental construct begins with what God says in His Word about who we are and how to live righteously. Unfortunately, this culture has all kinds of prepackaged meditations based on other value structures that dominate the mind: television, music, social media platforms, video games, books, magazines, videos and so forth. It is impossible to be transformed righteously if you do not allow God’s biblical concepts and images of the future soak into your mind, heart, and soul. If all you have are the thoughts you are already thinking and the view of the future you already have, then you will never be transformed. We are what we think about, and this is why the Scriptures are clear about the fact that we must take control of our thought life and inject the Scriptural picture of the world, of ourselves, and of our future.
We often allow the negative mentality of those around us to become the dominant thoughts of our life. This is a problem. God is sovereign and has allowed us room to make choices in our lives. If we make the right choices that move us down the path that He has designed us for, then we will thrive and be blessed. If we follow our own selfish inclinations and the temptations that present themselves to us, we will miss God's best for us. When we fill our mind with God's written word, then it:
puts boundaries around our actions
propels us forward in righteousness
shows us how to maximize our gifts, abilities, and talents in righteous ways
Let’s look at what Psalm 1:2 says about using God’s Word:
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His Law he meditates day and night.”
In this verse, delight is the Hebrew word chephets, which means pleasure, delight, pleasant, desire. The idea here is that the person who wants to be transformed and enjoy God's blessings in their life will mentally celebrate becoming what they will find in the Scriptures. The word delight brings to mind the emotion that you feel when you think of having a dish of your favorite ice cream. When the person feels that level of emotion about the wisdom, truth, direction, blessings, and correction that they find in the Scriptures, then they will be transformed. Get excited about picturing what your life will be like when you are the person God wants you to be!
Taking delight in the Scripture requires you to develop an acquired taste for it. It does not just come over you until you just can't wait to read the Bible; rather it is more like children acquiring a taste for healthy things. Once they try it and retry it, they start to like it and even favor it. For many years, I have taught people how to study the Bible, and I love to see the point when they grasp the wonder and insight in the Scriptures and are drawn in. As a Bible teacher, there is nothing greater. Yes, they have to make time in their schedule. They have to apply the truths to their lives. But it becomes clear to them that the Scriptures can transform them. The man or woman who will be transformed by the God’s Word approaches their Bible like a treasure box, one where there is always a different kind of gem or precious stone waiting to be discovered and used.
I find that each day when I open the book and study the Scriptures for the truths that God wants to share with me, I am amazed at how much of it fits my day and how important it is for me to know that particular piece of information on that particular day. Some people say “coincidence,” I say “no way.” God speaks to us through His Word practically about our lives.
The next important concept to grasp is meditates, which is the Hebrew word hagah, meaning meditate, mourn, imagine, speak, study, mutter, muse, moan. The idea is clearly a repetitive view of certain words or phrases or ideas which tend to dominate the mind. It is this domination of the mind, this ruminating on a thought that is meditation. Various techniques are used to repeat the Scriptures until biblical ideas dominate the mind. The early church has recognized nine or so typical ways to meditate on the Scripture: Study, Memorize, Confess, Personalize, Record Insights, Visualize, Sing, Diagram, Slow Repetition. These each bring out a different aspect of the truth of the Scriptures. (For more on Biblical Meditation, I recommend reading and working through my book Spiritual Disciplines of a C.H.R.I.S.T.I.A.N.)
So first, take delight in God's Word and let it be the place your mind returns to again and again. Set aside 30 minutes to an hour every day to have a conference with God and let Him teach you about life.
Then allow your mind to meditate on a thought or word that dominates your mind for however long it lasts - one hours, a day, a week? Doing these two things will lead you to godly transformation. (Romans 12:2)
Next week, I will cover another lesson on biblical meditation that will really help you understand how God dispenses His blessing. Until then, here are some good places to start!
Memorize the 10 Commandments and allow them to inform your decisions (Ex 20:1-17)
Memorize the 2 Great Commandments and allow them to urge you to action (Mark 12:29-31)
Memorize the Fruit of the Spirit and allow God to hang these from your life every day (Gal 5:22-23)
Join me next week for part 2 of Affirmation #10.
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