A Transformed Mind: What's That?
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
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Image: Llywelyn Nys/Unsplash
Our culture puts emphasis on feelings, but the New Testament put the emphasis on thinking. Our conversion, for instance, powerfully transforms how we think: "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good, and acceptable, and perfect" (Rom. 12:2, RSV, et al.).
People conformed to this world often become mired in mental ruts, incapable of thinking outside certain boxes, lacking in spiritual imagination. When they encounter God's love in Christ, he begins to remake their minds, reshape their assumptions, renew basic decision making. That's biblical formation—a process of mental transformation to a new world of possibilities. It is all that God intends for us—all that is good, and acceptable, and perfect. God's transformation can free us to dream dreams and have visions unavailable before our liberation in Christ. As our faith matures, among other things, we are reintroduced to the world, ourselves, and our futures. "From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer" (2 Cor. 5:16).
To think as a Christian is to see ourselves through new lens: from God's perspective. Our imaginations can now explore possibilities cosmic and eternal. As with Peter, we learn that God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34)—the categories we used to pigeonhole people burst open as we learn that God loves all creation, and that he intends its healing. Jesus teaches us that it is possible to touch a leper, sit at a table with outcasts, make friends with prostitutes, see Samaritans as examples of godliness, honor the faith of a Roman occupying officer, and forgive the men nailing your hands to the cross. The differences between women and men, Gentile and Jew, owner and slave are overruled by God's powerful reshaping of the Christian mind and imagination. Every barrier to newness, every hindrance to healing and change is confronted by this gospel power to make the unknowable knowable, the unimaginable imaginable, the impossible possible. This doesn't happen overnight, but it is part and parcel of what it means to become, under God's powerful touch, "a new creation."
A hallmark of the biblical Christian is growing curiosity about the greatness and newness of God's good, and acceptable, and perfect will. God's Spirit longs to enable us to imagine new ways to obey and to serve him—ways that defy our former limits and conformities. This liberated imagination throws open the little and the mundane challenges of our daily walk, the pressures and realities of "daily-ness." That good, acceptable, and perfect will of God helps us look beyond, "to the hills from whence our help comes." We now have the hope and confidence that God will complete what God has begun.
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