The sermon this Sunday started with Romans 12:1-2
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture because it explains what is necessary to accomplish the transformation required of every Christian. You are transformed by renewing your mind, or saying it another way, as Paul does in 2 Corinthians 10:5, by bringing every thought captive to Jesus Christ. Paul’s argument in Romans says the renewing of our mind will enable us to prove (to ourselves) what God’s will is for us. Our preacher this morning turned this into a statement anyone could understand, “God expects us to show up and grow up.”
Why is it so important to gain control of your mind?
Your mind is the citadel of your soul, the fortress that guards the entrance to you as a person, both before God and men. It is dangerous to allow just anything to enter the gates of your mind uncritically. The world’s system, which is under the control of Lucifer who masquerades as an angel of light, has become very adept at its propaganda and use of deception. So, we must be extremely careful what we consume, lest we allow ourselves to be tricked off the narrow road of salvation into one of the many ditches or byways that seek to entrap us in the pit of hell.
The Scriptures are very clear that deception and deceivers are everywhere, seeking to take us captive using everything from worldly philosophy to outright deceit. We are warned by Paul in Colossians 2:8:
8Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
If you take a moment to think about, it is very hard to cleanse your mind of the things you wish weren’t there. It is so much better to keep the dirt outside in the first place. I can’t count the number of times I have heard a person say, “I wish I never saw that” or “read that” or “heard that!” Renewing our mind is hard work, so why make it even harder by dirtying up the place we are trying to clean.
How do we protect ourselves?
God has not left us lacking defensive weapons, which are enumerated for us as the full armor of God in Ephesians chapter six.
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of [b]the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
After identifying the real problem, which is not the people around us, but the spiritual forces driving them, Paul tells us to:
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
Our one offensive weapon
The only offensive weapon noted in that scripture is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, which Jesus himself wielded against Satan during his temptation in the desert. Our Lord answered every challenge of Satan with a quote from Scripture. He showed us the way to deal with the evil one and any of his minions and that is to use the truth of Scripture to answer the lies and deceptions of Satan. It is with this weapon we attack the strongholds of the enemy, remembering Jesus’ promise that the gates of Hell will not prevail against us.
So put on your armor, renew your mind, and as best as you are able avoid the traps that would dirty it up again, always having the sword of the Spirit ready to wield.