This is the third post in the “Battle for Your Mind” summarized series. Click here to view the previous post.
MASTERING YOUR MIND
THE PROBLEM AND THE HOPE
Back in my “previous life” as a computer technician, the term “GIGO” meant a lot to me. If you are not familiar with this term, it simply means “garbage in, garbage out.” A computer cannot think for itself—it merely formulates the date you put into it. If you put in garbage, you will get garbage out.
When I was taking COBOL programming classes in college, I don’t think I ever got a program to work correctly. Somewhere in the thousands of lines of code something wasn’t right, which made the whole thing bomb out. One corrupted piece of input, and the output is ruined.
When I wrote programs and the results that I wanted didn’t show up on the screen, what did I do? I definitely did not take a hammer and pulverize the computer.
I realized that there was one of two problems: there was either faulty information being put into the computer or the processing was flawed.
Did you know that your mind is very much like a computer? Information goes in, gets processed, then comes out through your actions.
Here’s the question – as you consider what your mind is spitting out, is it acceptable?
If it is not, what is the problem? Is it faulty information or flawed processing? What can be done about it? Thankfully, the Bible provides the help that we need.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
As humans, we start off “behind the eight-ball” a little bit, because our processor (the heart or mind) is flawed by sin.
The Problem – A corrupted mind
Have you ever wondered why you just can’t seem to get your act together? Maybe this verse will help explain some things.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
If your heart is evil, evil things will come from it. Just as you cannot expect to get saltwater fish out of a freshwater lake, you cannot expect good things to come from an evil heart.
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: (Matthew 15:19)
So far, this picture doesn’t seem to give us a lot of hope. However, with God there is hope. He has given us the solution for getting something good out of a mind that is perverted with sin.
The hope – A renovated mind
Remember the two main problems if the output is bad: Faulty information or flawed processing.
In the next section we’ll look at how to fix the information that is being fed into our mind. For now, however, we will discuss how it is being processed.
While we need to set up guards and put the correct information into our minds, we live in a world of sin. We will inevitably come into contact with temptation. There’s just no way around that. It’s a good thing that it is not a sin to be tempted. After all, even Jesus was tempted.
While you cannot always regulate your surroundings, you can control how you respond to the temptation you experience. You alone hold the reins to the thoughts of your mind.
Although we cannot escape the influence of sin, we are not to be conformed to it (Romans 12:2).
You may have noticed that water always conforms to the shape of its container. If you put it in a vase, it will take the shape of the vase. If you pour the same water into a cup, it will instantly conform to its new surroundings.
That is not how we are supposed to be. Instead of conforming to our surroundings, we are to transform into what we should be.
Frozen water is an entirely different story. If I filled a glass jar with water and put it in the freezer, eventually the water would expand and shatter the jar. Ice ceases to conform and begins to transform. Instead of the container dictating the shape, the water takes charge.
That is exactly what it means to be transformed. As a matter of fact, our English word “metamorphosis” comes from the Greek word translated in Romans 12:2 as “transformed.” During the process of metamorphosis, a caterpillar disappears into a cocoon where it transformed into a beautiful butterfly.
How do you become transformed instead of conformed? By the renewing of your mind. We could even say “renovate” instead of “renew.” Sometimes we don’t need a software update, but a total reformat.
I used to like to watch the PBS show “This Old House.” I was always amused when they announced that they were going to remodel a historic house. However, after they finished tearing out all of the old material, it seemed to me that they were essentially building a new house that looked like the old one.
That is the difference between reformation and renovation. Reforming makes changes. Renovating cleans it all out and starts over. That is what needs to be done with our minds.
What Paul seems to be saying in Romans 12:2 is that if you are conforming to the world, you need to tear up your thought process and rebuild it. In other words, you are thinking wrong! It is not natural for a Christian to live like the world. The Christian who is conforming to the world needs to understand that he is no longer under its power. He needs to win the battle for his mind.
In this section, we have looked at the problem of our naturally corrupted mind and the hope that it can be renovated.
Stay tuned for the solution . . .
Click here for the next section – Mastering Your Mind: The Solution