There are multiple sayings and verses we quote to each other, print on mugs, and hang on our refrigerator that, frankly, most of us have no idea what they mean, such as, “have faith”, “just believe”, “the joy of the Lord”, or another one, “renewing the mind”. We toss out those phrases and leave them there as if we all know what we’re talking about. I’m not sure we do.
I’m the kind of person that thinks, “Well, what the heck does THAT mean?”
RENEWING MY MIND
The holy scriptures tell us the importance of renewing our mind once we have believed on Jesus. However, it takes a little more effort to discover how this is accomplished. I confess that I am a 3-point, lay-it-out-for-me person….well, at least I used to be. So I spent many years waiting for a specific, direct sermon or book to tell me how to renew my mind.
I did finally discover a few choices that radically changed me and set the course of renewing my mind.
So simple, but a lot of work. I wish I had realized these years earlier. Either way, I am now so thankful that God opened my eyes and set me on a course that has, and is, radically changing my life…and especially my understanding of scripture and who God is.
A PRAYER OF AWAKENING
I don’t remember exactly the first time I started to pray this particular prayer. However, I can trace it to the beginnings of an awakening in my soul.
Father, open my eyes so I can see, my ears so I can hear, and give me a heart that understands.
When I started speaking this prayer every day, especially before studying the Word, it was as if layers were peeled back here and there and I started gaining insight and understanding I did not possess before. Then God started challenging long-held beliefs.
I entered a new season of awakening!
A LOVE OF THE WORD
I have always loved scripture. Starting as a pre-teen I dug into the Word of God. I would even write letters to God at night. Throughout my life, I’ve made wrong choices, been foolish and naïve, and have suffered from ignorance, but I have never walked away from God or His Word.
My ignorance has most definitely been a hindrance on multiple occasions. I was often frustrated at my lack of understanding. Oh, there were many things I thought I understood, yet something was nagging at me. There was a barrier and I wasn’t quite sure what it was.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
Growing up Baptist, I don’t remember sermons or conversations about the Holy Spirit. He was there, but more like a silent partner.
We mentioned the Holy Spirit occasionally during prayer, or most notably, during baptism: “We baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.” That was the extent of the Holy Spirit in my life. Tongues weren’t even mentioned.
I never asked any questions or sought any understanding.
In 1994, I received a small bit of instruction and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. A very powerful and real moment for me. I didn’t speak in tongues, but honestly, I didn’t want to because I was scared of it. God is so gracious and patient. Even in this matter, He met me where I was.
The next 20 years were very rough for me. I stayed away from tongues and forgot about my instruction on the Spirit, which is a pity; it could have changed my life dramatically. I continued to attend churches that didn’t mention the Holy Spirit much – again the silent partner.
However, when I started praying the short prayer above, God impressed on me to learn about the Holy Spirit and to trust Him regarding areas of the spiritual realm that I was nervous about.
Long story short, I stepped out and started praying in a spiritual language. I do not have the gift of tongues, but every Believer who is filled with the Spirit has the ability to pray IN THE SPIRIT. (I won’t go into more right now. There are excellent teachings out there on this. I recommend started with AWMI.net)
LEARN FROM OTHERS
A huge boost to renewing my mind comes from the audios and videos I watch and listen to daily. I search out testimonies, books, and teachings from people who are further along in their journey. Instead of tv or music, I fill my time with rich teachings and testimonies from others.
THE WORD COME TO LIFE
I still don’t understand everything, but what I do know is this: when I started to pray in tongues in my private time of prayer, I accelerated into a new understanding of the Word. The Bible went from a two-dimensional book that I studied because I loved God but read it out of duty and obedience instead of true joy; to a 3-dimensional pop-up book that exploded into life and color! I can’t get enough. Every time I open the Bible it is an adventure.
It was at the conjecture of praying with humility that my eyes, ears, and heart would be opened ALONG WITH being baptized in the Holy Spirit and praying in tongues, that amazing things began to happen in the renewing of my mind:
- My perspective on everything was changing
- Verses I read my entire life start becoming pregnant with meaning and lessons
- I saw, and still see, healing in my body
- Emotions from deep pains were being covered in the salve of the Spirit
- Impossible situations became doable and even “thrive-able”!
- Greater and greater understanding!
JUST THE BEGINNING
Before I was deliberate in renewing my mind, I thought I had a deep and solid knowledge of scripture. Reality is, I am only just beginning to tap into the wonderful mysteries of the Word! God has rocked my world and tore down nearly everything I had understood about Him. The more that is revealed to me, the more I understand how little I know.
Renewing my mind included a prayer of humility, the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, and being teachable. Without these things, I believe I would still be stuck in old patterns of thinking with a dead understand of the Holy Scriptures.
All praise and glory to God. How great is He and vast are his mysteries and goodness!