Calvin and Hobbes — Bill Watterson
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1–2, NIV 1984).
My Musings – The ability “to test and approve what God’s will is” often seems just as mysterious. If not mysterious, then at least elusive. And just how does one go about “renewing” their mind anyway? Hers’s a thought. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV 1984). Given the things we spend our time thinking about, the things we set our minds on, is it any wonder we have little success in renewing our minds or being capable of discerning God’s will. Little-by-little we are being assimilated into the world’s culture and mindset.
The old prospective “wives’ tale” goes, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” meaning if you want to capture and keep a man’s heart make sure you feed him well. Satan knows very well the way to capture and keep a Christian’s heart away from the things of God is not through the stomach, but through the mind. Keep their mind preoccupied with (and “conformed to“) the things of the world and you keep them from being renewed (and transformed“). Keep them from being renewed and you keep them from knowing what God’s will for them is. Keep them from knowing and you keep them from doing.
“For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’” (Mark 7:18–23, NIV 1984). These have to be displaced by whatever is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5–8, NIV 1984).
My Advice – Just as much for me (maybe more so) as for others. When was the last we binge-watched something on Netflix? How about the last time we binged on God’s Word? Church attendance? Prayer and meditation? “Think about such things.” Think hard. The money doesn’t just come out of the ATM. We had to put something in the bank to begin with. We can only get out what we put in. Same concept with mind and heart. We get out what we put in. Satan cannot have our souls, but he can keep us “ineffective and unproductive.” Whose will do we really want to “test and approve?” Let’s be careful what we are putting in.