“Renovation cannot be finished. It can only be stopped.” (Anon) Friends of ours who are expecting their first baby, bought a house and decided to do some renovations before moving in. I have been in many homes over the years, where the folk have been involved in a renovation project and the common complaint is that it feels like it is never going to end!
Deciding to renovate means deciding to invite chaos, dust, rubble, upset routines and change into your life but the result is a sense of satisfaction and joy at the newness it brings when done. What does the word “renovate” really mean? The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes renovate to mean ‘restore to a former better state; to restore life, vigour or activity’. The word ‘renovation’ is the act of improving by renewing and restoring.
So, when we are planning to renovate, we are planning to improve on and make it new again, to restore it. To restore means to bring back or re-establish (a previous right, practice, or situation); return (someone or something) to a former condition, place, or position; to repair or renovate (a building, work of art, etc.) to return it to its original condition.
Our soul needs renovation! Scripture mentions us having a soul, spirit and body. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (ESV) Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Psalms have many references to our soul and in Psalm 23 the Shepherd restores our soul! 3 John 1:2 (ESV) Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. In other versions it speaks of our soul prospering. It is a well-accepted fact that our soul includes our mind, will and emotions. As children of God, born again and new creations, we still experience pain, hardship, trauma and difficulties because of the world we live in and often find ourselves in a place of needing our souls renovated or restored again. Jesus Himself said we would experience trouble and tribulation in this world. John 16:33 (NIV) I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Some versions even say suffering. Renew or Renovate our Minds
Romans 12:2 (ESV) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. In this Scripture the word renewal means to renovate, to renew. It is not the time to conform or comply with or behave according to the standards of the world or age we are currently living in. We cannot effectively walk in the purpose of God for our lives if all we do is conform to the world around us. It is time to renovate! And it starts in our mind! When you begin a renovation project, the first thing that goes is the old. To begin building the new, the old needs to be broken down and removed to make way for the new.
Many of us are still holding onto our ‘old way of thinking’ mindsets and wonder why we cannot adapt to or see what God is doing in a world of increasing change at every level. Someone recently said, “The seven last words of a dying church are, ‘We’ve never done it this way before’”. If we do not allow the Holy Spirit to transform us in our thinking, we will be left behind in the purposes of God and in years to come we will be in the same place but looking back with regret in our hearts.
How do we Renovate or Renew our Minds? A good question! Paul in his description of the New Life we are called to says this in Ephesians 4:17 : Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. Ephesians 4:22 – 24 … put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. John Piper explains the spirit of your minds like this: “The mind has a ‘spirit’. In other words, our mind has what we call a ‘mindset’. It doesn’t just have a view; it has a viewpoint. It does not just have the power to perceive and detect; it also has a posture, a demeanour, a bearing, an attitude, a bent.” What we feed our mind with becomes a mindset and can only be changed by changing what we fill our mind with. A mindset is impossible to change without changing what your mind is filled with. Our fallen minds are not inclined to see God as our Father, our Creator, as good and kind and as Supreme. To change our mindset, we need to purposefully set our minds in the right direction as a ship or aeroplane sets the direction with co-ordinates when changing to auto pilot. Once that course has been set, it cannot change direction. 1. Set Your Minds on things Above Colossians 3:1-2 (ESV) If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Things above are those things that carry eternal value for us, on what Jesus has done and on our life in the Kingdom of God. 2. Set your Minds on the things of the Spirit Romans 8:5 (ESV) For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. This means living with an awareness of the Holy Spirit as a Person in your life and partnering with Him in every moment of your day. 3. Set your mind on Good Things. Philippians 4:8 (ESV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. We decide what to fill our minds with and how to look at situations around us. Choose to see the good and not the bad, the positive and not the negative. I see this Scripture in Philippians as a chest of drawers and when a thought comes into my mind that cannot fit into one of these drawers, then I choose to not dwell on it and cast it out of my mind. We can control our thoughts instead of allowing them to spiral out of control! 2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. 4. Set your Mind on the Word of God. James 1:21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. The Word of God brings your will into agreement with the Father’s will. As you fill your mind with His Word by reading, thinking about, memorizing, praying, speaking out loud, worship; you begin to think in a way that pleases Him, and His ways become your ways. When difficulties or decisions arise, you automatically view them through the eyes of God’s Word. Praying and confessing God’s Word instead of what we feel and see will renovate or renew our minds and will change the way we believe. Renovation cannot be finished. It can only be stopped. Renovating our minds is an ongoing process! We will never finish but we can choose to stop! Just as there are no shortcuts when renovating our homes, there are no shortcuts or special formulae for renewing or renovating our minds. We need to pull down the old mindsets that were okay for our previous seasons but can no longer serve us in the new season going forward. We need to set our minds on the correct things and fill them with God’s Word. Isaiah 26:3, AMPC: ‘You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.’
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