Devotions From the Heart
“Renewing, Rethinking, Repenting in the New Year”
January 17, 2017
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
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I have just completed my third reading of “Mind Renewal in a Mindless Age” (Preparing to Think and Act Biblically), by the late Dr. James Montgomery Boice and I commend it to you. It is a book I believe we all could do well to read over and over again because it is a subject that, try as we may to work on it, we often forget. I find this especially so for us women in today’s hustle-bustle world of events, activities, schooling, chores, church activities, car-pooling the children to and fro, and as we go about our daily responsibilities, caring for our husband, home and children. Renewing our minds and rethinking how we live as Christ’s servants in this present evil world is of vital importance to us in how we live the “truly biblical” Christian life daily and live it “all to the glory of God.”
Romans 12:1-2 tells us that we are to be “living sacrifices,” “holy” and “acceptable to God.” In other words, this means sacrificially, every waking moment of our life, not just some of the time, but all the time, living a life that is pleasing to Christ. God has said that this is our “reasonable service.” Our “reasonable service” is what we owe in obedience to Him for this great and marvelous life of salvation that He has so freely given to us. We are to be “Christ-centered” and “Christ-thinking” in all that we do, all the time, in mind, body and spirit. We are to be “thinking and acting” biblically “24-7.” We are to be “spiritually-minded” thinking, acting Christians.
The world wants us and it wants us bad. And unless we are totally fooling ourselves, we too fall victims to the “wants” “needs” and “methods” of the world. We suffer falling into the same “ism” errors that the world believes. Dr. Boice says the world or the “pattern of this age” wants to conform us to its image by those user-friendly little “isms’ of worldliness, secularism, humanism, relativism, and materialism. We are not to buy into this “pattern” of the world’s system but we are to “renew” our minds so that they are transformed to “Christ-centered, God-honoring” minds. We are to shine as His lights in the world, and show the world what is “that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
What is “that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God” for us? We know that it is to “be conformed” to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and that encompasses a great deal. We can open God’s Word and find His will everywhere in it. He has given to us as our guidebook for instruction in righteous thinking and righteous living. Dr. Boice states that God not only has a “specific will” for our lives (which He reveals in our lives on His timetable) but that He has given us in His Word certain truths about His will that we can know for sure:
It is His will that we
love one another;
should worship Him;
forsake sin and disobedience;
train our children in righteousness;
go into the world with the gospel;
do what is pleasing in His sight;
know that His will is perfect;
know His will, which we find in His Word.
It is the will of God that we love, serve and obey Him. We are His “called out” (set apart) children who know His will to be good, perfect and pleasing. We must therefore be about His work of renewing our minds to think His thoughts, to repent of all the sins, “isms” and failures and press toward the mark of the high calling we have in Christ Jesus. Thinking Christians are Christ-pleasers. We are “women of the Book” and thus we must be “Christ-pleasers” in everything. Have you thought about how you can “renew” your mind today so that you will be conformed to that good and perfect will of God? Be encouraged to do so!
“Of the fashion of the world, it may truly be said that the more you try it, the less you will find it to be satisfying…. It is altogether otherwise with the will of God. That often looks worst at the beginning. It seems hard and dark. But on! On with you in the proving of it! Prove it patiently, perseveringly, with prayer and pains. And you will get growing clearness, light, enlargement and joy.” Robert S. Candlish (1807-1873)
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:15-17
 “Mind Renewal in a Mindless Age” (Preparing to Think and Act Biblically), (Baker Books) 1993 (reprinted as “Renewing Your Mind in a Mindless Age” by Kregel Publications)
 Robert S. Candlish, Studies in Romans 12: The Christian’s Sacrifice and Service of Praise (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1989), pp. 80, 81. Original edition 1867.
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