Renewing of the Mind

Bob Hoekstra Photo Bob Hoekstra

All right, let’s continue in our look at foundational truths for Counseling God’s Way. This time we’ll be looking at renewing of the mind, another critical foundational truth.

One of the great reasons why we must only offer counseling God’s way is that it is the only kind of counseling which will contribute to the true renewing of the mind. Remember, Romans 12:2 says that we are to be “renewed in our minds,” have our minds renewed. And we’ll look at that verse in a little while. There is great need in the counseling situation so often for the renewing of the mind. Great need in general, in our own Christian lives to have our minds renewed. So often with folks seeking counsel, the big issue that would help them specifically in what they are looking at immediately and comprehensively in their lives is to see what God has in mind in this renewing of our minds. We’ll see, as we go along here, God uses the renewing of the mind to really change people’s lives.

One of the reasons too many Christians’ lives are not changing is their minds aren’t being renewed. They’re still thinking the same ways they always did. They can quote you folkloric, humanistic, American proverbs shoulder to shoulder with the best heathen. And yet they’ve been forgiven in Christ and have a new life, but they’re still operating with that same old way of thinking. So their lives never change really. This is a critical issue. We’ll look at that much more when we get to Romans 12:2.

For a few minutes Let’s think about our minds before Christ, that is before we came to Christ. In other words, Let’s see why we so desperately need the renewing of our minds. And 2 Corinthians 4:4 is one place to begin. Speaking of the unbelievers,

Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

The god of this world, Satan, is working hard on the minds of the unbelieving—to do what? Keep them in the dark. Keep them blinded. Keep them from seeing light. Lest they see the light of the Gospel, which begins to open the way for all of God’s light to shine in. Satan is blinding the minds of the unbelieving.

This is where we were before we came to Christ. Satan was working hard to keep our minds blinded, in the dark. Our mind would involve our thinking about things, our perceiving of matters, our understanding, and even our filing and receiving and using of knowledge. Our so-called wisdom would be in the dark and our perspective on life, in the dark. Our ideas—“Ah, I’ve got an idea!” Yeah, straight out of the dark, you know. Imaginations are darkened. Our goals in life that the mind thinks up are like groping in the dark to set them with our dreams for the future, from a blinded mind. Our values as we thought through things, from a blinded mind. Our standards, our priorities—No wonder we wasted things that seemed to matter: relationships, time, resources and health. And you can go on and on. We were in the dark, our memories darkened. We couldn’t remember well, or remembered the wrong things for the wrong reason. Our opinions—and we had plenty of them—we were shouting them out of the dark of course. No matter, the more confused you are, the louder you shout. That is how you establish your opinion in the world of blindness. Decision making? Oh, we were something to watch in decision making, as we were feeling our way through an issue with great certainty.

This is Satan blinding the minds of the unbelieving. Oh, how our minds need to be renewed!

Ephesians 2:1-3,

1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
2 in which you once walked according to the course of the world, according to the prince of the power of air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
3 among whom also we [Christians] all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, [and look at this] and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

Now we’re talking about the identity of an unbeliever. “Were then by nature children of wrath.” We deserved God’s wrath. We often poured out wrath. It was just our nature. And we were fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind by walking according to the world, indulging the desires of the mind. Whatever we could think of, we indulged it as far as we could get away with, often only limiting just to protect self. This is not because we thought it was better to back off. But “Hey, this could be trouble for me. I’ll only go this far.” You know, great reasoning there, by indulging the desires of a darkened, blinded mind.

Ephesians 4:17-18,

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind [Sure, unbelievers have minds, but they are futile, ours were],
18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God.

We were talking at break that man exists. And he exists because God is there and created him. And if God did not sustain him in existence he’d disappear. The creation exists by the power of God…even heaven and hell. But they’re alienated from the life of God. They exist but in what the Scriptures call spiritual death, darkness, blindness. It is because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the blindness of their heart.

Boy, what terminology. Futility of the mind, darkened understanding, ignorance, hard-heartedness, excluded from the life of God. A desperate spiritual need here is described for minds to be renewed once they come to Jesus as Lord and Savior.

See, the new creature in Christ must deal with the old brain. The brain is a physical organ. We have the same physical components we had before we came to Christ. We looked at that, it’s Romans 8:23, we are groaning, awaiting the redemption of the body. It is the same exact body we had when we were dead and blind in Adam.

So that old physical brain was programmed by the thinking of the old man, by the old us. And what kind of programming was going in? It was the thinking of a blinded mind, a dead mind, indulging the desires of a blinded mind. It was a futile mind, a darkened understanding that was programming our brain, pumping all kinds of garbage in.

Oh how desperately we need our minds renewed. With all that data there in the physical bank of the brain, as it were, if we don’t get a new way to think we’ll just draw on all that stuff. You know, walking according to the flesh, it’s called.

So let’s talk about the renewing of our minds. Ephesians 4:23, “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” To be renewed or restored to a proper condition as God intended, in the spirit of your mind. It is the basic frame of mind, mindset, basic attitude, focus, disposition of the mind. Or you could call it the overall controlling perspective of the mind.

Oh, the spirit of the mind that some people have. They’re just totally skeptical toward God. It’s their mindset. It’s the spirit of their mind. It’s just their focus that is totally skeptical.

Others, their mindset is open to God. Some have a mindset that generally acknowledges that God exists and that’s it. That’s the spirit of their mind. Others know He is there and want to bow down to Him completely. That’s their mindset. That’s the spirit of their mind. Some have a mindset, a spirit of the mind that kind of goes like, religion is a good thing if it’s kept in its place. Or this God thing is okay if you keep it within its proper bounds. What boundaries are you going to put around God? What a sad spirit of the mind. Others just want to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). It’s the spirit of their mind. It’s the controlling focus of their mind.

We need a new mindset, a new spirit of the mind, a new focus, a new frame of mind. We need to see things as God sees things.

Now again, warning on the psychological theory and the offspring of it, the twelve-step, self-help programs and all that. They all came out of the old mindset. And I know that AA has kind of a religious background in one of the two founders. I am aware of that but it is not a godly, Christ-centered, spiritual background. It is just a “religious” background. Religious minds can be dead and blind too. If it’s not Christ-centered, anchored in the Word and of the Spirit, it doesn’t matter how much you kind of shape it with religious jargon or say, “I was a part of this religious movement in England and here is how I try to help people that are in trouble.” It still comes out of this whole mindset that is blind and self-centered. Therefore it is self-helping, or the self-help movement.

I again marvel that the church has gotten so excited about the self-help movement, when the Lord has told us what to do with self. Self can’t help us. Self is our number one culprit, you know. We’re looking for help from the source that Jesus said deny and crucify.

Well we not only need a new mindset, a new spirit of our mind—Ephesians 4:23. The language is more general in Romans 12. We need a whole renewing of the whole mind. No qualifications of any part of it, just the renewing of our minds.

Romans 12:2,

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

We’re not to be conformed to this world. Conformity, that is, pressured, molded, and shaped by the world. The world is pressuring us. They want to push us into their mold. They want us to be like them. We’re a conviction, an irritation to them, a reminder of sin and righteousness and judgment. We’re a testimony to the reality of Christ. They don’t like it. The world wants us to be like them.

We live in a world of toleration. But the path you and I have taken is intolerable. Toleration is the cry for everyone. “Homosexual? Hey, let’s tolerate that. Born again Christian? Oh, are you kidding? They are so narrow-minded and bigoted.” Wait a minute. What happened? We don’t qualify? Everything but truth qualifies for toleration.

The world is pushing on us, hard, in every level you can look at, personally, judicially, governmentally. We’re not to be conformed to this world though or shaped by the external pressures of man.

This world man’s ways. Think of that one phrase, “Do not be conformed to this world.” Don’t you think if we took that one phrase seriously it would radically change the church counseling approach? We’re not to be conformed to the world. We’re not to be having the world teach us how to counsel.

What are we to find? Instead of conformity to the world, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Transformed, lives that are really, actually, radically changed. It is as radically changed as the old things gone and the new things have come. How? By the renewing of your mind, that is, learning to think God’s way more and more and more in everything, every way, and every day. The renewing of our mind is thinking God’s way.

Again, let me ask, why are there so many Christians whose lives are never transformed? They go on and on and on very much like they were before they came to Christ. Where they are born again and kind of excited about the Lord. And there’s like a little spurt of baby growth from infancy to toddlerhood. And then they just kind of level out and become stagnate. Here’s what’s behind it, their minds aren’t being renewed.

Be transformed. How? It is by the renewing of your mind. They’re settling with the thinking they’ve gotten up to that point or had before. And many a Christian is like that. Again, I marvel how the vocabulary of many Christians is just like the vocabulary of the world. Why? Because the thoughts that are unseen are the same as the world’s too. You hear all these bromides, all these clichés. And Christians say them and unbelievers say them. And unbelievers exist by them and Christians exist by them. It’s tragic.

We are to be transformed, really changed more and more to the image of Christ. How? It is by the renewing of your mind. Find in the Lord and His ways and His mind a whole new way to think.

Again, why do we take time like this and enter into a Bible college course and spend hours in classes in reading and studying and papers and thinking and ministering? Why do we do that instead of the things we used to do? You know about this time of night I’d be starting to get desperate if I hadn’t found a good all-night poker game. This is going to be a bad night, I might have to sit home alone with me! Why does that never enter my thoughts anymore? It is because my mind, in that arena, has been renewed. What used to be so exciting is so disgusting. I’m so glad that guy got nailed. He deserved to be executed, you know. He was a scoundrel. Out serving self and doing it in the most gross ways!

Why is this a joy now? I’ve been changed. I’ve been transformed in that area. How? By the renewing of the mind, I have learned to that extent and degree to think about those things. And this thinking like Christ is the renewing of our minds, it changing our lives.

Why doesn’t that happen in more lives—more Christian lives? Undoubtedly, right here in the context it is because their lives are not in the place they are called to in the preceding verse. Here is the condition of life that’s needed.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, wholly acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

(Romans 12:1)

The only reasonable thing to do with this new life in Christ is to lay it on the altar of God. Anything else is self-serving spiritual insanity. It doesn’t make sense.

Only in the lives of Christians whose lives are placed on the altar of God is there real transformation, because those are the ones that have their minds renewed. Think of it. Too many Christians are out living their own life with their own thoughts, for their own values and own benefits. That’s the way the world lives. Their life isn’t on the altar of God and their mind is not getting renewed. They are not in a passion to find out how God thinks about everything. Why? It’s because it is still their own life. Oh, they might touch base here a little, you know, especially in times of trouble. But Christians whose lives are on the altar of God, they can’t get enough of the mind of the Lord. Those who have said, “My life is not my own. I’m bought with a price. What am I doing? My life needs to be on that altar. It’s Yours, Lord.” That life can’t hear enough from the Lord, because that’s how they know what to do here on earth with that life on the altar of God. And as they’re learning of the Lord and His mind and His ways, to serve Him and please Him, to live unto Him, their minds are just renewed. They get a whole new way to think. And it changes their values, their priorities, their decisions, their relationships, their vocabulary, their private thoughts, their public words. They just get changed.

Why aren’t more Christians putting their lives on the altar of God? No doubt it is because they are not being besought to do it, by the reasoning that is here. In the first place, most churches you go to nowadays, it’s not how to get on the altar of God. It’s how to put that far away from you. That could be uncomfortable. That could be confining. You might lose some of your own individuality. You might stop living for you. And in kind of the user-friendly, self-serving church world, the altar of God is hardly ever mentioned as a place to live from. It is because altars, that’s where things die. Yeah, but die to self; live unto God.

But too often in churches that even mention the altar of God it’s a very legalistic trip. “Hey, what have you done for God today? Oh come on, be serious. That’s not near enough. You think God’s happy with that? Now get out there and really try. You call yourself a servant of the Lord and you only witnessed to 85 people this week. Come on. Get with it!”

Praise God for witnessing to people and the desire to and to grow in it. But where’s the motivating dynamic behind all of that? What is it that is to call us to put our lives on the altar of God? Look at this: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God….” Not the irritation of God. It is the mercies of God. Not that He’s upset and you better do something fast to please Him. It’s I beg you on the basis of the mercies of God. Stop and consider what He’s done for you and just do what is the spiritual, sane thing you’re led to do.

See, this comes after eleven chapters of our merciful God being proclaimed. It is justification by faith and grace, sanctification, the faithfulness of God to His people Israel, freedom from flesh, and walking in the Spirit. This is so much of the merciful provisions of God, eleven chapters of them. Then the Lord turns to us through the apostle and says, “Therefore, in light of that, I beg you.” On what basis?—it is on the mercies of God. What should I do? Just lay your life, a living sacrifice, on the altar. It’s your reasonable service. Doesn’t it make sense? “Come let us reason together” (Isaiah  1:18). Hey, doesn’t that make sense? Oh yeah!

This is what God has done and who He is and what is available to me. Mercy upon mercy! Grace upon grace! Oh Lord, why am I treating this life like it’s mine? You bought it. And You make it thrive or it doesn’t thrive. Oh Lord, I just want to lay it on the altar. It’s Yours. It’s not mine. You take it. You use it. Do with it what You want. That just sounds right. It’s reasonable. Anything else is unreasonable.

And often in our counseling ministry, to sit down and spend some time in Romans 12:1-2, is life-changing for people. Often no matter what hundred different reasons they sought you out for help. They need an opportunity to think things through with God and make a reasonable choice, spiritually. Their life not their own; it belongs to God.

And so often people are out seeking counsel in order to find the will of God and often it is because they’re in trouble or uncomfortable. Well, praise God for people getting interested in finding the will of God. But we don’t have to relate to the will of God crisis-to-crisis. There is something far greater described here. And that is, becoming a living demonstration of the will of God. See that at the end of Romans 12:2? “That you may prove [demonstrate or show] what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Our counseling can help people shift from chasing after the will of God in crisis decisions or dilemmas, to becoming a living demonstration of what God’s will is. Oh, how far greater that is. They can more and more prove, be an unfolding demonstration of God’s good and acceptable and perfect will. All this is by laying their lives on the altar of God because of His great mercies. And in that, having their minds renewed and their lives transformed.

Titus 3:5-6. We won’t turn there. But it just speaks of the washing and regeneration, the cleansing by the blood of Christ and giving of new life in Christ and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. It is kind of related to the renewing of the mind. The Holy Spirit is making life new, a work done in us by the Holy Spirit.

This isn’t what you would call a mind game, even though the mind gets renewed. The renewing process of God comes by the work of the Holy Spirit.

In 2 Corinthians 3:18 it talks about us coming, unveiled to the Lord. “Beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord and being transformed [same term again] into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Blindness is gone. You are able to see. Not hiding behind veils. You are coming, looking into the Word of God as a great reflection of the heavenly kingdom, from heaven, toward our lives. You are seeking the glory of the Lord. Seeking to see how glorious the Lord Jesus is, Himself, His ways, His truth. And then we are being transformed into those same glories we see. How? It is: glory to glory, area to area, degree by degree, step by step, day by day, and aspect after aspect.

What is the dynamic behind that? Just as by the Spirit of the Lord, it is the Holy Spirit changing us as we give attention to the glory of our Lord. How wonderful He is; His truth, and His ways as revealed in the Word. The renewing of the mind and the transforming of life that goes with it is a work of the Holy Spirit of God. It is all related to 1 Corinthians  :16. Let’s read that verse.

In 1 Corinthians 2:16 it says,

For ‘who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.

Sure, we can’t be God’s counselors. We don’t know all the fullness of His mind. But you know this? We do have residing in us, the mind of Christ. See, Christ lives in us! Which means the way He thinks can function in our thinking. We can learn to lean not to our own understanding, but on Him. We have the mind of Christ.

We believers have the mind of Christ. And we have His Holy Spirit to teach us how He thinks. That’s the way to really learn to think. The transforming of lives by the renewing of the mind is having our minds renewed by thinking less and less like we do on our own, or would, and more and more as the Lord would think. And we have that mind residing in us.

This is related to Romans 7 is where the law of the mind that wants to please God is battled by this other principle, this other law in us, the law of sin and death. This is where the flesh wants to drag us down in self-indulgence or self-hope or self-help or self-resource or self-exultation. That law of the mind, that new mind in Christ resides in us. Why do we want to please God? Why do we want to serve God? It is because we have learned, to that degree, to think with the mind of the Lord. This is God’s mind on the matter that we’re here to know and glorify Him.

We want our minds renewed. We want to think more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ. And here is where that mind is expressed. In Jude 1:3, the “faith once for all delivered to the saints.” What does the Lord think that He wants us to understand? Well, He’s put it right down for us to consider. It’s like if you had someone you wanted to unload your mind with and you couldn’t talk to them, so you wrote them a long letter. Just get everything off your mind on that page. And there it is. The Lord has done that! Not only that, but He and His Spirit live in us to guide us in implication, application, and understanding. This is the renewing of the mind.

What’s happening as we are having our minds renewed is we are getting from the Lord a new mindset, a new mind.

Colossians 3:2,

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Christians who are earth bound will be Christians whose minds do not get renewed. They won’t get a new mindset. They just keep that old earth bound mindset. We’re to set our mind on things above. If that isn’t pointed enough, it adds, “not on things on the earth.” Set our minds on things above, on the Lord. His will, His ways, His Word, that’s where we’re to set our mind.

Ever had anyone irritated with you because your mind’s on the Lord too much? Sure. Oh what a revelation that is! Who needs to change their mind? Well, not you! You’ve finally gotten on the right track. “Oh I’m sorry. What’s come over me? Please forgive me for being so heavenly minded.” You know that old bromide: “Oh that guy is so heavenly minded he’s no earthly good.” What a farce that is. The world gobbles that up. You know what? The church world gobbles that up. “Oh yeah, we have to stay in touch with the world.” Stay in touch with it? I’m trying to get out of it! The only good I can be to this world is the more I’m in touch with heaven saying, “Hey, this is the way.” Not coming down to where man is dying and in my mind thinking dead thoughts like dead men. I’d like to spread a whole new cliché. We can only be of earthly good to the extent that we’re heavenly minded.

Jesus was always in communion with the Father. That’s why He always did everything right on earth. It doesn’t make us detached and useless. It plugs us in to where all the resource comes from. Set your mind on things above, not on things of this earth. What are the things of this earth? They are self, human plans, money, things, success, and fame. “Oh yeah, now you’re talking!” The world would say, “Now we’re getting somewhere.” No, now we’re getting nowhere. If that’s consuming us, if that’s on our mind all the time, we’re still operating with the old mindset. That is where we were, back in Adam.

Jesus didn’t sit around scheming on all these things and just get the perfect answers. He communed with the Father, walked with the Father. The Father in Him, and He in the Father, and the Father through Him did His works. In John 1:14 it was written, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

We would like people to look on us and see Christ. Well, let’s be communing with Him, walking with Him, following Him, thinking with Him, learning His mind. Then they’ll see Him in us.

Romans 8:6 says, “The mind set on the flesh is death, [Death!], but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” We want to walk in life and peace. We want to minister life and peace in our counseling. Well, let’s set our mind on the things of the Spirit, the things of Jesus, His Word, His salvation, His promises, His faithfulness. Let’s not set our mind on the flesh.

How many Christians go for a counseling session and the Christian counselor, with great psychological insight, helps them set their mind on the flesh? The troubled Christian goes for counseling and the counselor says, “Well, let’s talk about you for a while.” Really? That’s where my answers are? “Yeah, let’s talk about you. What’s going on in you? How’re you feeling? What’s going on? Oh, what do you think about that?” Oh my goodness. And it just starts rolling, you know. It’s death! They come for help and we kill them. And even call it a “Life Counseling Center.” It is death sold in the name of life. That’s what is happening.

We don’t think about it in those terms and so often those doing it don’t think about it in those terms. I’m not saying those are sneaky death peddlers who just can’t wait to kill people. So many folks out there in those fields really want to help people. They sacrifice. They labor. They study. They learn. They get degrees. They get certified. So the state can tell them whether or not they can talk about Jesus when and where and how much and whether or not it will work. How sad.

The mind set on the flesh is death. The counseling mind in the American church is so consumed with the flesh. You come in there and “We need to give you a personality test.” Why? “To see what kind of sinner died on the cross?” Does it matter? “Oh yes, because it is the key to your life.” Oh really? And believer after believer just buys it. I mean—and they do buy it. They pay a heavy price for it. I’ll tell you the personality type I want—Christlikeness. And I can’t produce an ounce of it on my own. So I don’t want to talk about me. I’d like to talk about Him. What has He done? When it gets around to me—who am I in Him? This means you’re going to have to tell me a lot about Him for me to find a life there in Him.

It is life and peace. This is the difference in our counseling ministries. It is whether we send people away with life or with death. And so often it is self-centered religious death.

Philippians 4:8, talks about good and beautiful things of the kingdom of God, the pure and lovely things. If there are any things like this and the good reports of God’s greatness and goodness, let your mind dwell on these things. “I can’t stop thinking about all the mistakes I made.” Well, you can just hear the death sucking you down. Let your mind dwell on these things. The Lord wants our mind used in the arena of godliness and righteousness and purity and truth and hope and His help and His reality.

Psalm 63:6 says, “I remember You… I mediate on You.” That is the ultimate thing that’s lovely and pure and true and righteous altogether. That’s the greatest use of the mind, right there, thinking on the Lord. There is no higher use of the mind.

Then Psalm 77:11-12, talks about remembering and meditating and musing. You know, using the mind. But on what?—God’s deeds, God’s wonders, the works of the Lord. These are great psalms.

Psalm 63:6. Let’s read that real quickly to see the new mindset, a heavenly one, on the Lord. “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.” What do we think about when we wake up at night? We’ve got an all-night assignment or something. “Lord, Lord, help me to set my mind on You.” I think one of the favorite times the Lord wants to get our mind active is probably right in the middle of the night, you know when you are probably half groggy, “Hey, now that you’re awake—why don’t you think about this?” Zing, zing! Fiery darts, you know. Oh! When we waken, or in the night watches pray, “Lord, help us to meditate on You, think on You and Your presence here with me. Your love for me. Your sustaining of me. Your purity, Your truth. I remember You.”

And some of the things we can think about when we think on the Lord, is what He has done. Help people think in our counseling ministries—let’s be instruments of directing people to think of the Lord. And that can also include not only who He is, but what He has done. Psalm 77:11-12 says, “I will remember the works of the Lord.” Not the works of man. Not my works or my lack of works, or my wrong works. “I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.”

Now that’s a heavenly mindset. What does the flesh want to do? “I will remember my works. I will remember the wonders of old. Oh, those good ol’ days when I was so effective. I’ll meditate on all my works. In fact, I’ll find somebody and I’ll talk of my deeds.” That’s the flesh. It’s the mind set on the flesh and it’s death! This is a living, heavenly mindset, thinking on the things of the Lord, what He has done.

This is a great one too, Psalm 119:15-16,

15 I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.

Boy, there’s a good use of the mind! Just think on things God has expressed to us through His Word. You know, it’s like having a great conversation with someone or getting a letter from someone and there’s just a phrase or a sentence or a term that just grabbed you. And you want to go back over it and over it. We get emails from our kids over in Hungary, Matt pastoring there at Calvary Chapel Veszprem, and precious Josie. And we get these emails, and I’ll guarantee you we don’t just read them once. “Oh, another email from Hungary. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” I mean, that’s how we treat the Word of God sometimes. “I read that book once.”

Like the Roman Catholic troubled young person I was counseling with in Dallas, Texas once. He didn’t know what to call me. He goes, “Hello there, bro—brother priest.” I said, “Hi.” Later on we were in there and I said and he was sharing something I said, “You know I was reading today in Deuteronomy something I think God might want to help you with.” His answer was, “Deuteronomy? Isn’t that way back there at the start of the Bible?” “Yeah, it’s about the fifth book.” He goes, “How long you been a pastor?” I told him. He goes, “That’s all the further you’ve read!?” He thought you just read through once like other books and you know. He had never heard the Bible taught, so why would you want to stay in it? A lot of Christians treat their Bibles that way, you know. “Oh, I read that. I read that.”

Great thing to do is to think on the things the Lord has said. That’s a great way to exercise the heavenly mindset. A letter that is written out of a love relationship. You just want to hear from that heart that you love and that loves you. My goodness, here is a God who is love and look what He’s written us. It’s good to meditate on His precepts. Just think on, contemplate His ways. Delight ourselves in the things He has said and not forget the things He has said. That’s a heavenly mindset, right there. Meditate on the Lord. Meditate on His deeds. Meditate on His words. It’s part of the renewing of the mind.

In conclusion Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly….” We’re to make much room in our lives for the Word of the Lord. Be yielded to the Holy Spirit to take its truth and to give us a heavenly mindset, a completely new mind in Christ. Just dwell in it richly and live there. Sharing such things as this, dear brothers and sisters, urging people in these things, helping them, praying for them in such things, in our own lives and others, renews our minds in the Lord. And that’s so critical to counseling God’s way.

And just remember with the psychological theory, the subconscious mind is the key. We’ll talk about that later on at the very end. That’s not the true key. The mind of Christ is the key. Not the so-called subconscious human mind. Or the inner healing of memories and you visualize Jesus back in there. That’s a mind game. That is not the renewing of the mind. Renewing of the mind is a mind set on Him, His words, and His works.

And also, a heavenly mindset, the renewing of the mind, again, is another world away from the so-called twelve-step, self-help Christian recovery group movement. And again, I’m not saying God never helped anyone ever in any of those groups at any time. Not at all! God is very gracious and merciful. He’s not a Pharisee. “Well, I won’t touch them.” They are just not doing it right. Oh look where they went. I won’t help them.” God isn’t like that at all. Some of you might have even been saved at an AA meeting. Praise God! Folks say to me, “Well, I was saved in an AA meeting. What do you say about that?” Praise the Lord, that’s terrific! What am I going to go, “Oh no. It’s better than I thought it was.” Praise God! I wish everyone at every AA meeting was saved. That’s fine. I’m not on a tirade against AA. I’m just getting a greater and greater passion for Jesus Christ, His word, and His ways. It’s not that God can’t do anything there. It’s He hasn’t pledged Himself to do anything there. He does. But He hasn’t pledged Himself. He doesn’t have to. But He’s pledged Himself to His Word, His Spirit, to prayer and life in the body of Christ. He’s called us there. Why dabble where He might do something in spite of the program? Why not flock to where He said I want to pour out My blessing and fullness?

That’s a lot of what counseling God’s way thinking is about. Not condemning those who are trying their best to help the way they can. It’s just God has a better way. And He wants to renew our minds. And as He renews our minds, and that take us away from the natural mind that produced all these programs. He’ll change our lives and He’ll use us to help others do the same.

Let’s pray together, shall we?

Lord, we thank You so much for this great hope that You live in us and we can learn to think with Your mind. Oh, may we be in Your Word, and our lives on Your altar. And Lord, as You renew our minds, transform our lives, give us a whole new mindset and help us to minister the same to others. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.