For my first few years as a believer, while I was part of a local church in South Florida, I thought Romans 12:2 actually read, “be transformed by the removing of your minds.”
Not really. I knew it actually said, “renewing of your minds.” My point though is based on the message I received from my church, I thought it should have read that way. The unspoken message coming from my church seemed to be, “Come on in and park your brain at the door; you won’t be needing it here.” It wasn’t ever spoken but the underlying implication was that the brain was a hindrance to true spirituality and that only by denying it could we ever hope to be successful in the Christian life.
It was years later that I came to realize that the text, far from teaching the need to deny our intellect, actually taught the opposite; the need to be fully engaged mentally to live as disciples in this world. Of course, this is not an exhortation for those who have high I.Q.’s but a call to all disciples to exercise their renewed minds in the pursuit of discipleship. Far from being a hindrance to our discipleship, exercising our renewed minds to their fullest enhances Christian living. We are to think differently about our lives in this world and we can because we have been transformed.
It is sad to see so many Christians today who are essentially brain dead. They have bought into the mindset that the mind is a hindrance to spiritual development and by so doing, have acquiesced to the culture that exalts both mindlessness and meaninglessness. It is the emotional life we are told to develop at the expense of our thinking life. Yet when our minds are properly used in the pursuit of God, it results as well in heightened emotions. The great American theologian, Jonathan Edwards said, “Holy affections are not heat without light; but evermore arise from some information of the understanding, or some spiritual instruction that the mind received, some light or actual knowledge.”
Emotions were never more enjoyed than when they are the result of the exercise of our spiritual minds. The old adage, “a mind is a terrible thing to waste” was never truer than when applied to our lives in Christ. Every believer should therefore ask himself or herself, “Am I being transformed by the renewing of my mind or am I increasingly mirroring the mindlessness of the culture?”