Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A renewed mindset...

Week 51:

Proverbs 14:15 The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps.

Romans 12:2 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.

At first glance, you may wonder how these two verses can be in relation to each other.  I was reading through some Proverbs recently and Proverbs 14:15 just seemed to land for me.  As I reflected on the passage, the “renewing of your mind” from the Romans passage came to heart.  I wrote the two passages down on a slip of paper and occasionally I would look them both up and do some reflection.  Here is what has come to mind. 

Over the last few years, I have been on this transformational journey.  Since becoming a Christian, I have been a good Church attender, Bible class teacher (both at Church and at the Christian school where I work), listen to Christian music, attend Christian functions, etc.  I had done many different Bible studies, attended a Christian University, learned about God in multiple ways, and occasionally experienced His Spirit through some mountain top experience.  However, there were parts of my soul empty.  There were pieces of my character that just seemed to be stuck in neutral.  There were struggles that seemed no matter how hard I worked, they just would not go away.  Therefore, I began to search for more.  It started around 10 years ago when I worked through Henry Blackabay’s Experiencing God and began to see God in a different way.  Somewhere in here I also went through Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life material as well.  With this, I not only saw God differently, I began to look at where I fit in within this journey. 

As I continued this journey, I began to see how life was changing for me.  It was not always pleasant, but God was helping me to renew my mind.  Four years ago, God opened up another piece of transformational work for me through The Crucible Project.  As a result of these sparks in my life, I began to pay attention to what God was doing around me and how I fit into His plan.  I noticed how life looked different and I had been given the power through God’s Spirit to change me.  A couple of years ago, my wife and I went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace class.  Dave’s way of managing money can be quite simple.  The success of the whole process is changing our mindset.  This is truly where it all begins.  I have to want to change then I begin to change my mindset…the way I think.  The want and the mind change are simple, but the process, the shift, and the actual action is more difficult. 

What must I do?  First, I have to want transformation in my life.  I have to get beyond liking the idea of a change and really want to change.  Without this step, I am just repeating life and spinning my wheels.  Second, I must ask God to reveal for me the what, when, and where.  This is the scary part.  God may place me in front of things I may deny about myself or have hidden from in order to avoid pain in my life.  I must face them, repent where I have missed the mark, deal with the pain, and let God’s grace flow in.

Third, I have to begin the renewing of my mind.  I pay attention to what is worldly and what is godly.  Where in my life am I influenced by the world?  What shifts do I need to make in my life?  What lies from the evil one am I believing about myself?  Where do I need God’s truth spoken into my life?  Fourth, I am to discern between what is of God and what is not.  The Proverb talks about how the “prudent give thought to their steps”.  The Romans passage talks about testing and approving God’s will.  To discern is to avoid the captivity of hollow or deceiving philosophies.

Finally, I take action.  I intentionally put myself in situations where I am stretched and can grow.  I surround myself with those are on this same journey.  I look for where God is working and join Him.  I wrestle with what keeps me from this transformational journey.  I stay in touch with God and check in regularly to see where he is leading.  I take responsibility for where I fall short.  I am to live authentically and hold myself accountable to the commitment I have made to grow in God.  All the while, I come back to these two passages and remember that it begins with the mindset. 

1.      What connections did you see between these two passages?

2.      Where do you perceive you need a change of mindset?

3.      What is getting in the way of your transformational journey? 

4.      What is a measurable first step for you to take on your journey?

5.      This week, spend time in reflection.  Reflect on where your walk with God has been.  Notice where God has transformed you over this year.  Give thanks and ask God, “What next?”

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