Mind Renewal in a Mindless Age, Part 1Romans 12:1-2Theme: The Christian mind.This week’s lessons teach us how Christians should think. LessonAs believers we need to reject the world’s thinking and begin to think as Christians. This is what the Apostle Paul is writing about in our text from Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This means not that our thinking is to be determined by the culture of the world around us but rather that we are to have a distinctly different and growing Christian world and life view.
The one thing this does not mean is what most people probably assume it does mean, and that is to start thinking mainly about Christian things. We do need to think about Christian subjects, of course. In fact, it is from that base of revealed doctrine and its applications to life that we can begin to think Christianly about other matters. But to think Christianly is not a matter of thinking about Christian subjects as opposed to thinking about secular subjects, as we suppose, but rather to think in a Christian way about everything. It means to have a Christian mind.
This is because, by contrast, it is possible to think in a secular way even about religious things. Take the Lord’s Supper, for instance. For most Christians the Lord’s Supper is probably the most spiritual of all spiritual matters, and yet it is possible to think even about that in a worldly manner. One such person might be a trustee of the church, and he might be thinking that he forgot to include the cost of the communion elements in the next year’s budget.
On the other hand, it is possible to think Christianly even about the most mundane matters. Blamires suggests how we might do this at a gasoline station while we are waiting for our tank to be filled with gas. We might be reflecting on how a mechanized world with cars and other machines tends to make God seem unnecessary for people, and how a speeded-up world in which we use our cars to race from one appointment to another makes it difficult to think deeply about or even care for other people.
Blamires says, “There is nothing in our experience, however trivial, worldly, or even evil, which cannot be thought about Christianly. There is likewise nothing in our experience, however sacred, which cannot be thought about secularly – considered, that is to say, simply in its relationship to the passing existence of bodies and psyches in a time-locked universe.”1
Where do we start if we want not to conform to this world? There is a sense in which we could begin at any point, since truth is a whole and truth in any area will inevitably lead to truth in every other area. But if the dominant philosophy of our day is secularism, which means viewing all of life only in terms of the visible world, then the best of all possible starting places is the doctrine of God, for God alone is above and beyond the world and is eternal. What does that mean for our thinking?
1 Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think? (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Servant Books, 1978), p. 45. Original edition 1963.
What is a Christian mind?
Why is thinking Christianly significant in Romans 12:2?
Give an example of secular thinking about a Christian subject.
How would you think Christianly about something secular?
How does belief in God change our worldview?