As we introduced last time, even when I accept and embrace all the new of my conversion; a new identity, a new nature, a new heart, a new Spirit within, a new self, and a new power over sin, I still have a lingering challenge; my old mind. Let’s track some theological history regarding the mind.
In the garden, Adam was what I call “God-compatible” in his heart and his mind. He had a relationship with God. While little is said about this relationship in the Genesis account, I think we can infer from other Scripture that Adam had an “innocent” relationship with God. That is, Adam was right with God and had a sense that he was OK.
When Adam rebelled, he was no longer “God-compatible” in his heart or his mind. He essentially became “un-plugged” from God. Adam now has a depraved heart and with it, a sin nature. He cannot know or experience God because his sin nature renders him spiritually dead (Eph 2:1). Adam’s nature – and the nature we were born with in Adam – is biased toward self and away from God (Rom 3:10). We now gain a sense of who we are based on other people, and we will do anything we can – manipulate, blame, lie, accuse, hide – to gain a sense from them and within ourselves that we are OK.
In the natural man state, controlled by our deceitful and wicked heart (Jer 17:9), our minds are darkened (Eph 4:18). As we take in information, it passes through our selfish nature and is stored in our mind. Our mind is now “world-compatible”, motivating us to act in the sinful ways of the world. The options in our mind for following God are severely limited by our depraved heart and the sin nature that accompanies it.
But that is all about to change. When you accepted and embraced the gospel message, you were given a new heart (Ez 36:26) and a new nature; a nature that you literally share with Christ (II Pet 1:4). A nature that is completely “God-compatible” again. And this puts you back in a right relationship with God (Rom 5:1) and you know that you are OK.
The key takeaway in this introduction is that all this new, this complete revolution, has happened to you on the inside. On the outside, which includes our mind and our body, the revolution – completed on the inside – is only brewing. Your change to a righteous nature and a new heart, instantaneous on the inside, is only beginning to show on the outside.
On the outside (again, this includes our mind), we are still “in Adam” so to speak. We are still interpreting the world through that old mind, that old natural system, that old worldly way of thinking. What we need is new information to feed our mind. Because our mind – though not new – is now “God-compatible” (I Cor 2:16). Our mind is no longer limited in its movement towards God by a depraved heart. It can now accept information in keeping with our righteous nature.
So how do we bring the mind along? The life-giving drumbeat of the New Testament is “renew your mind” (Rom 12:2). And this renewal is totally made possible because your mind is now “God-compatible”, ready to accept truth. Living God’s truth will change your life. Then you will see the revolution within spread to the outside and all of life. We will continue to uncover how change happens next time.