Renewing our Minds
What did Paul mean by being transformed by the renewing of our minds? (Romans 12:2) No short answer to that one is there. I have to confess that I always used to think that this was a spiritual work of the Holy Spirit which involved little input from me. In the difficult areas, which I could not change myself, the Holy Spirit would transform me but I often failed to do my bit.
I do recognise that there are areas of my mind which seem impossible for me to change. We all have our weaknesses, don’t we? The trouble is; these are the areas which get us down. Paul himself said, ‘when I want to do good, evil is right there with me…what a wretched man I am’. (Romans 7:21-24) We face the danger of looking upon ourselves, only, as wretched which clearly is not a great place to stay. We do have to recognise our weaknesses and sinfulness but surely, the transforming of our minds will involve a change of mind as part of that transformation.
Nowadays we know a lot more about the human mind, even although there is still much that we do not understand. Perhaps, as Christians, we are naturally suspicious of science, should it undermine our faith but I have long held the view that all fields of science are a part of human intelligence, which is part of what it means to be made in God’s image. So, why should we not use it for our good and better understanding of his glorious creation?
Some of us have just finished a course, ‘12 Hours That Can Change Your Life’, and found great benefit in the exercises that we were taught to help us with the transformation of our lives; break the big things into little chunks, recognise what pushes you buttons, are just a couple of things which I have been practising these past few weeks. And I intend to carry on researching and practising spiritual disciplines to help transform my state of mind.
It was with great interest then that I recently read an article in a local paper on the subject of ‘Christian Mindfulness’. The course, founded by Richard Johnston, integrates biblical theology, contemplative practices and the latest findings of science in the areas of mindfulness and meditation.
I think I might sign up for it. Why? Because I like the idea of engaging with the latest scientific findings from a biblical perspective. The better I can understand my own mind the better chance of it being transformed as I bring my failings to Christ. As John Calvin once said:
“The knowledge of God and that of ourselves are connected. Without knowledge of self there is no knowledge of God. Without knowledge of God there is no knowledge of self“. 
Prayer, meditation and theological reflection are all useful practices to help us in our daily struggles. There is more help available to us today than there ever was. So we can help ourselves, not without the help of the Holy Spirit but with His help, we can use scientific and biblical knowledge to better know self and to know God.
Ps 62:1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. Ps 62:2 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Ps 62:3 How long will you assault a man? Would all of you throw him down—this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Ps 62:4 They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.
Ps 62:5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. Ps 62:6 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
Ps 62:7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Ps 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Ps 62:9 Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. Ps 62:10 Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
Ps 62:11 One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, Ps 62:12 and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.
Help me to think more intently about your humility and patience, my Saviour, so that almost unconsciously these traits may reappear in my own character.
‘Daily Prayers’ by F.B Meyer