“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
The renewing of the mind can happen both in the positive and negative. Obviously, Romans 12:2 is about positive mind renewal, but the reality is that when we give our inner agreement (our “amen”) to a belief, mind renewal takes place and it impacts our future experiences.
I used to only “renew my mind” with my feelings and experiences.
I felt weak, so I renewed my mind with the belief I was weak.
I experienced difficulty in speaking, so I renewed my mind with the lie that I was not a good speaker.
I struggled to have heart connections with people; therefore, I renewed my mind with the lie I did not do relationships well.
I felt less than other leaders, so I made an inner agreement with that belief instead of what God said about me.
I used to think that certain areas were hard for the gospel, so I renewed my mind with that belief and created an even more difficult experience for myself.
I would passively agree with these feelings and experiences, regularly concluding they were the truth. Each agreement would strengthen the negative stronghold in my mind, and my future would be negatively transformed by these beliefs.
The greatest strongholds blocking the purposes of God are in our minds, and there is nothing passive about how we are to think, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
The mind is a battleground (it’s the real warfare)
Just as Gideon pulled down his father’s idol (Judges 6:25-32), we are to pull down strongholds in our thinking
We are to cast down arguments and high things (lies) trying to exalt themselves above the knowledge of God
We need to take every thought captive – they are not going to willingly surrender
All of this implies an aggressive, bold, intentional, and passionate plan to renew our minds with truth. “The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). Truly, the highest level of spiritual warfare is to believe (agree with truths) higher than what we are feeling and experiencing. We don’t deny our experiences and feelings; we just don’t get our beliefs from them. If we do, then we will inadvertently continually transform our future into the same feelings and experiences.
There is a higher way. We are called and empowered to believe in the “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Romans 4:17). As we intentionally think and speak (renew our minds) with God’s promises and our biblical identity, we will transform our future into those things.
Speaking faith declarations is a major part of this positive mind renewal. We build new strongholds in our lives because “faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17). As we embrace the heart of Joel 3:10, “Let the weak say I am strong,” we will see transformation.
I am excited about all this and I will continue this teaching in the next blog. In the meantime, let’s begin, like never before, to demolish the tendency of passively agreeing with our feelings and experiences. We won’t be sorry we did.
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.