Transformation: Renewing Our Minds

Our family recently returned from a crazy family camping weekend. Lots of group activities, very little sleep, critters, and plenty of bug bites with memories to match. You know, all the things that make for good family lore. The best part of the whole weekend? We had no cell service in the park due to the high bluffs surrounding us. No phone calls, no internet. It was glorious.

For some time now, I’ve felt God stirring my heart about the creeping danger of distraction (particularly the role social media has taken) in our lives. As someone required to stay connected to manage social media accounts for work, it has become more and more difficult to draw the line. Where to stop? When is enough? Will I ever just be done? There are always new updates, the latest post, and breaking news to pore over, like, and comment on.

Some of my friends have chosen to opt out or even leave social media altogether to avoid this control in their lives, many citing their struggles over the very real comparison trap of social media. I feel bad about myself when I see what others have/are doing. One friend even told me that she left Facebook because she was tired of the dissonance in her reality, rife with daily struggles, and everyone else’s highlight reel.

Yet, just as in all other areas of our lives, we also have a choice: the choice to maintain control (as I discuss with my teen daughter almost daily). This applies to not just what we CHOOSE to post, but also whether we CHOOSE to look and how we allow what we see to affect us. Harsh? Perhaps, but this is a perfect example of the necessity of training our minds.

In Romans 12, Paul states, “Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.” {VOICE} How do we keep the pressures of conformity, the trap of comparison, and our own pride and feelings of inferiority at bay? We renew our minds. Transformation, real God-inspired transformation, always begins on the inside.

The process of renewing of our minds will only and always start at the foot of the cross. “God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself” (1 Corinthians 1:30a). We do not need to seek any knowledge or change anything about ourselves prior to seeking first His Kingdom. Seek first.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires (2 Peter 1:3-4 NLT).

If we truly want to escape the trap and the sadness and the corruption of our humanistic desires, the desire to be smarter than, better than, happier than, skinnier than, and throw way more perfect parties than, then we must cling to these precious promises and move forward trusting Him. But it takes work. It takes dying. Dying to that which you previously held so tightly. How do you spend your time, your talent, your treasure? How do you measure your identity, your purpose, your worth? (Hint: If it isn’t Jesus Christ and the work you’re doing to see His Kingdom come, you may want to rethink some things).

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone (2 Peter 1:5-7 NLT).

Renewing our minds through faith in Christ Jesus remains a process of supplementation. This has been one of my favorite passages lately as I’ve struggled mightily over loving difficult people in my life. To be a good Christian girl, I MUST love others. Yet, God showed me that my struggles were to be expected, because I was coming up short in my legwork. I demanded the full fruits of the Spirit to blossom without actually planting or watering my own faith life.

When I evade moral excellence and forgo time with God, getting to know Him more, how can I expect to maintain self-control? I can’t help looking and comparing myself to others on Facebook when I don’t first ground myself in God and His Word, seeking His help in the process. And I certainly can’t love others genuinely until I’ve had the self-control to avoid comparison, removing the focus from myself and placing it on God, where it rightfully belongs.

Our faith rests secure in Him, but we are life-long works in progress. Take heart, though, “The Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world ” (Philippians 1:6 VOICE} I urge you then to fix your eyes on our King, sisters, not on one another and certainly not on what they might have that you feel you lack. Because when we fix our eyes on Jesus, we can step out, hands leading, ready to hold, to hug, to carry one another.

And sometimes that requires removing the distractions that blind us.

AS

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