Practically, How Do We Renew our Minds?
by Nancy Missler
As we come to an end in our series on renewing our minds, it's very important
that we spend a few articles on the practical application of this message.
How do we renew our minds daily? What are the Biblical steps to doing
In our November '97 issue of Personal UPDATE, we very briefly
mentioned the steps that the Lord has laid out for us in Scripture in order to
deal with our sin (anything that is not of faith). As we said, these were
the steps that the priests of Solomon's Temple took in the Inner Court in order
to deal with their own sin and be reconciled to God.
You might enjoy reading Chapter Thirteen in Be Ye Transformed, which
deals specifically with the "Inner Court Ritual" in Solomon's Temple and all the
details, not only the architecture and structure of the temple, but also its
furniture. In this particular chapter we correlate all the furniture to
our own internal architecture and how God desires that we cleanse ourselves
every day. I believe the furniture and features of Solomon's Temple
represent the different facets of the Seven-fold Spirit of God that produces the
Mind of Christ in us. It's exciting to see how all these things line up
perfectly with Scripture. For those of you interested in the "hidden
riches" that God's Word avails us, you might find this chapter fascinating.
But in this article, I would like to focus on the practical application of
renewing our minds. As David Needham, author of the book Birthright,
states, "The big task is not the finding of the truth, but the living of
it." And I agree with him completely. What good are God's principles
if they really don't change our lives? So, with this in mind, let's
put all we have talked about in this series into practical application.
What are the moment-by-moment steps to renewing our minds?
My Survival Kit
I call these eight steps my Survival Kit because I literally go through these
steps at least once a day-and the last four (the Inner Court Ritual) sometimes
as many as two and three times a day if I'm dealing with something very
difficult or extremely painful. The reason I call this my Survival Kit is
because the word survival actually means "keeping alive against all odds."
And that's exactly what these steps allow us to do in the middle of hard
circumstances-keep alive against all odds.
The first four steps that we will talk about are simply attitudes that we
need to form daily. These are not steps that we have to do each time we
quench God's Spirit, but simply attitudes we need to have "on" in order to be
transformed. It would be helpful to prayerfully go over each of these
attitudes every morning (just like getting dressed) to remind ourselves of our
need to be cleansed vessels.
Romans 8:6 tells us that we can either be "spiritually minded" (have an
attitude resulting in life and peace) or we can be "carnally minded," which will
result in our being separated from the source of life. (By "separation," I
simply mean we have quenched His Spirit in us and, as a result, blocked our
Now, the final four steps (which we will cover in our upcoming articles) are
essential steps. These are the ones we must do each time we quench God's
Spirit and find ourselves separated from Him. I coined these last four
steps the "Inner Court Ritual" because again, they are the actual steps that the
priests took in the Inner Court in order to deal with their sin.
first explore the four "attitudes" that we must have on in order to, moment by
moment, renew our minds. These attitudes are simply "predispositions" or
specific ways of thinking that will keep us "willing" and "open" to putting off
the garbage in our thinking and putting on the Mind of Christ. In other
words, it's a mental state of openness and readiness. (I will only be able to
cover three of the attitudes in this article. The fourth attitude-being
willing to take every thought captive and dealing with it-we will discuss next
issue. There is so much to be covered that I couldn't fit it all in one
First of all, we need to have an attitude of being continually willing to
present our bodies [to God] as living sacrifices. (Romans 12:1) Daily, we
need to willingly give God permission to walk through us and to expose anything
that's not of faith. (Notice, by the way, Romans 12:1 says we are to be
"living sacrifices," which means because we are living, we can get up off that
altar any time we want. It's only by our own moment-by- moment choice that
we choose to remain there.)
We need to be willing, on a moment-by-moment basis, to offer ourselves to God
and to allow His Holy Spirit to expose what He wants in each of us.
Again, we don't have to "feel" this first step. In fact, in most of these
steps we will not "feel" at all, they will simply be "faith choices" or contrary
choices (contrary to how we feel).
A good prayer to pray is Psalm 19:12-13, "...Cleanse Thou me from [hidden or]
secret faults...Let them not have dominion over me...." Also, Psalm
139:23-24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way
God Loves Us
As we open ourselves up to God for His inspection, we must always remember
just how much He loves us and that He will not allow anything to happen to us
that is not "Father filtered."
So, we can trust Him and rely upon Him no matter what we see or what we
understand to be happening. I know this is so hard to do in practice, but
this is exactly what faith is all about. Read in Romans 4:20-21 how
Abraham was fully persuaded that God would perform all that He had promised him,
even though physically and circumstantially it was impossible. We must know in
our hearts that no matter what it looks like to us, God is working out His
purposes in our lives in His perfect Way (we just often don't see or understand
what He is doing).
If you have trouble believing that God loves you and that He will be faithful
to perform what He has promised, I strongly suggest getting The Way of Agape
book and specifically reading Chapter Seven: "How Do I Know God Loves Me?" You
might also go over the Knowing God Loves Me Scriptures in the Appendix and, by
faith, choose to believe what God says in those Scriptures.
(on the inside)
The second crucially important attitude we need to have "on" each day is that
of being willing to continually deny ourselves-willing to set aside our own
"justified" feelings, our own rights, our own frustrations, offenses, and
anything that is not of faith, to do His Will. This is something
that we do on the "inside." This internal denying of ourselves is often
much harder to do than denying ourselves "outwardly" (our careers, our positions
of status, our material things-houses, cars, clothes, etc.), because it affects
who we really are-it's our personhood and our emotions are so involved. It
hurts to set ourselves aside, especially when we know we are "justified" (by the
world's standards) in thinking and feeling the way we do.
Each time we struggle with this, I would suggest reading Philippians 3:8-15,
where Paul says, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the
knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord...." Note specifically verse 10, which
says that the reason we are to "count all things but loss" is so that we may
"know (intimately experience) Him and be made conformable to His death." (Read
John 3:30 and 2 Corinthians 4:10-11.)
We must continually ask ourselves, "Am I really more concerned with doing
God's Will in my life than I am my own happiness?" There will be
many times in our lives when we must choose to do God's Will, knowing that
temporarily it will not bring us happiness. Of course, the
long-lasting joy and peace that comes from being in the center of God's Will is
something to which nothing can ever compare. (Psalm 73:25)
An Example: A Miracle
I met a woman several years ago who was convinced that God wanted her to stay
in her marriage, regardless of the horrible circumstances. Her husband
(also a "professing" Christian) no longer loved her and he had bluntly told her
so. He had tired of her and wanted her out of his life.
Therefore, he was doing everything he could to make her life miserable so that
she would file for the divorce.
Certainly, she would have been much "happier" out of her marriage and away
from her abuser, and yet she knew in her heart that God had not given her
permission to leave. And she was more concerned about doing His Will than
she was with her own happiness.
I happened to see this lady at a party not too long ago, and she had
absolutely incredible news. Something major had happened in her
husband's life and God had totally changed his heart. He had privately and
publicly repented about the abuse of his wife, and was now doing everything he
could to love her and make things up to her. God eventually did restore
their marriage and they not only began to experience Agape Love for each other,
but also a restoration of all the human loves.
This is a true story and I believe the miracle is due to the fact that this
lady was more concerned about doing God's Will than she was about her own
Luke 14:26 reminds us that we really cannot be God's disciples unless we are
"willing to" (not wanting to or feeling like it, but simply willing to) lay
everything down (father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters). "Yea," He
says, "even our very own lives" (all of our justified hurts). Again, we
don't have to "feel" like doing this; we simply must "be willing" to do this!
Several years ago, I went to lunch with some dear old friends, and we began
to talk about how very important it is for us to "be willing" to deny ourselves
and to follow God. One of the ladies said, "Nancy, I don't agree with
you. I think some people just don't have the ability or the capability to
lay everything down and do it God's way." She then gave various reasons
why she was convinced they couldn't do this: dysfunctional families,
co-dependency, poor marriages, physical abuse, emotional problems, and other
I thought about it a moment and then said, "Ruth, if these people are
Christians, then God is in them. Right?" She said, "Sure."
"Well then," I offered, "He is the One who will make them capable and give them
the ability to deny themselves. I think the bottom line is that all
Christians are capable of laying themselves aside (because God is in them), but
not all Christians are willing to do so!"
The people my friend was talking about simply weren't willing to lay
themselves down. Their excuses ranged from "dysfunctional families," to
"my husband is not trying." But I don't believe these things were the
"real" problem, because God has all the Love, Wisdom and Power they need.
The real problem was that they just weren't willing to set themselves aside so
that God could perform these things through them.
Perhaps this helps us to understand Matthew 24:12 a little more
clearly. This Scripture says that in the end times "...because iniquity
shall abound, the Agape of many will grow cold." This is simply saying
that in the end times, many Christians (who are the only ones who possess Agape)
will choose to hold on to their own justified hurts, unforgiveness, etc., rather
than be willing to deny themselves. Therefore, just as this Scripture
predicts, God's Agape Love in them will grow cold. So again, all Christians have
God's Love in them, but not all Christians are willing to set themselves aside
to let it flow.
God promises us in Luke 18:30 (as well as many other places) that if we are
willing to deny ourselves, He will return a hundredfold, "in this life" as well
as in the world to come, all that we have chosen to surrender. In my own
life, it seems the more I'm willing to lay at God's feet, the more He returns a
hundredfold! My book, Why Should I Be the First to Change?, shares how God
has restored a hundredfold, my marriage, my family, my kids, etc., because I'm
learning how to surrender and deny myself first. The more I learn to
give myself to God, the more I get of Him. Now, I'm certainly not any more
capable than anybody else, but one thing is for certain. I am
willing. And that seems to be all that's necessary!
1 Corinthians 2:9 says, "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear
heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath
prepared for them that love [agapao-totally give themselves over to] Him."
Get Up and Do What God Says
Another crucial attitude we must have "on" in order to have our lives
transformed, is that of being willing to obey God's Will, no matter what He
tells us to do. No matter how we feel, what we think or what we want, we
are to be willing to get up and do exactly what God has asked us to do. 2
Corinthians 8:11 says, "...As there was a readiness to will, so there may be a
The attitude we spoke about in step #2 (denying ourselves) really
concerns our "inner man" (setting aside our own thoughts, emotions and
desires-our self-life-so that God's Life can come forth). This third step
of "obeying God's Will" is different. It concerns our "outer man"-our
outward actions. It's now getting up and doing in action what God has
called us to do, saying, "...not as I will, but as Thou wilt...." (Matthew
26:39) Or, like Peter said, "...at Thy word I will...." (Luke 5:5)
Again, we're simply trusting that God will perform His Will and His Life through
us no matter how we feel. If this is a difficult step, I would suggest
reading Philippians 2:5-9. This is where God talks about being "obedient
unto death" (getting up and actually doing in action whatever God has called us
Example: "Obedient Unto Death"
Here is a wonderful example of how one of my dearest friends overcame her
pride, humbled herself, and became "obedient unto death." Sarah is only
five feet tall and weighs about 100 pounds soaking wet. Many years ago
(before she became a Christian) her husband had an affair with a lady who worked
in his office. Sarah found out about it and was violently angry. The
next day she marched down to her husband's office and literally beat the woman
A year or so later (after their separation and divorce), God got hold
of Sarah (she became born again) and He began to transform her life. One
of the things God began to speak to her about was her behavior to this lady at
the office. He convinced Sarah that it was His Will for her to go back to
the office and ask this lady's forgiveness. My precious friend not only chose to
deny herself (by setting aside her own "justified" feelings and emotions), but
she was also willing to get up and do what God had asked her to do (go to her
husband's office and ask forgiveness of this lady). Could you have done
When the lady at the office saw Sarah coming, she understandably
ran. Sarah pursued her, however, and they finally began to talk.
Sarah asked the lady's forgiveness for beating her up, and then she told the
lady that she forgave her for "taking her husband away." The lady was so
amazed at what was happening, that Sarah sensed an opportunity to talk more and
asked if she would like to go to lunch. The lady agreed. At lunch, Sarah
had a chance to share what God was doing in her own life and the lady sought to
know more. They became friends and to this day, I believe, they are still
friends. Only in God's Kingdom could something like this occur!
Sarah is a real, true and precious friend of mine. Again I believe much of
the miracle happened because she was willing, in action, to "be obedient unto
Do you love God that much? Are you willing, not only to deny what you
think, what you feel and what you desire, but
also willing to get up and do what
God has called you to do? This is what God is asking each of us daily.
* * *
To be continued next month: Taking every thought captive and being willing to
deal with anything that is not of faith (2 Cor 10:5). This article has
been excerpted from Chuck and Nan's book, Be Ye Transformed.