Do not conform 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 12:2

I find great encouragement from the fact that we are “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” While the world tends to tell us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, we no longer have to follow this pattern! If there’s an area of our lives where we find ourselves continually getting stuck, a sin we can’t seem to get past, a habit that keeps tripping us up, a heart attitude within ourselves that bothers us, etc. we don’t simply determine to try harder or implement new rules or create new consequences for ourselves. Instead, we recognize from Romans 12:2 that true change happens first within our minds. This is so freeing! Rather than exhaust ourselves with the intense effort and determination of trying to get our act together and change, and getting discouraged when that doesn’t seem to bring about lasting change, we get to focus our efforts and energy on a more fruitful endeavor— that of renewing our minds.

One way we do this is by the regular/daily reading of God’s Word. We do this not simply as a reading exercise, but knowing that “the Word of God is alive and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12) and that it “is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true.” (2 Timothy 3:16). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we let God’s truths teach us and recalibrate our understanding, perspectives, and perceptions. We let it fill us and be absorbed into us. We let it, together with God’s Spirit, change us.

Another way that we can renew our minds is by using the Word of God with a more “targeted” approach. When that unwanted thought/behavior/sin pops back up, we can take a little time to consider what belief is driving that. While at times it may take some investigation and digging to unearth what beliefs are driving us, it will be worth the effort. With that understanding, we can then search for what truth(s) from Scripture applies to our struggle and begin meditating on that and letting it saturate our minds. As we let God’s Word shift our thinking in that area, over time we will find ourselves being changed/transformed, often in ways we never thought imaginable.

A few years ago I was introduced to a great practical tool for renewing the mind, called “Truth Journaling,” by author Barb Raveling. She says, “I was trying to get over a nasty habit I had of dwelling on my husband’s faults and, true to form, I was trying to change myself in my own strength. My idea was to think positively. Every time I had a negative thought about him, I would write it down and replace it with a positive thought. It didn’t take me long to realize that many of my negative thoughts were actually lies. I switched to replacing lies with truth, and I called it truth journaling. God has used this discipline to transform me in more ways than I can name. Not just in habits and negative emotions, but also in my feelings towards Him.” (To learn more about this practice, read this blog entry: ).  I’ve tried truth journaling in a number of areas of my life and have found it to be a really helpful tool at times. It’s such a concrete way to implement God’s directive to renew our minds.

Whatever ways we may choose to renew our minds, be encouraged because change is possible!

Exercise: Is there an area in your life where you feel stuck or discouraged about something you can’t seem to change? Remember that God doesn’t expect instant change from you— instead, He’s inviting you on a truth exploration. Ask Him to highlight brightly for you what thought/belief is driving your struggle. Then ask Him what truth He would have you to meditate on and marinate in. He has the key to your victory!