Day 54: The World's Conformity
THE RENEWED MIND
In our world today, having a renewed mind, particularly one that reflects Christ, is unpopular. In our culture, following the mainstream media, being politically correct, and open-mindedness all take precedence over what the Bible teaches. America, the great nation that was founded on the word of God to promote freedom and liberty, has been turned upside down. Freedom is not an American idea - freedom is God's idea.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:2
The sexual fantasies that we indulge in as a part of our struggle are a result of an un-renewed mind. We’ve embraced the idols of our culture, given into every whim of our flesh, and in our lust have looked to others as mere objects to fill the void we feel within ourselves. In the Old Testament, harsh words were spoken over Israel when its people gave in to lust, that is, they turned against the one true God and looked elsewhere for a god who would supposedly fulfill their needs:
Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord's commands. -Judges 2:17
RENEWING OUR MINDS
I know all too well how difficult it is to apply Romans 12:2. We have allowed our minds to be filled with mounds of trash, causing it to be difficult to sift through and hold onto anything good. Renewing our mind requires the power of God which we are able to access through prayer. It takes putting off our old self, our old desires, and being transformed by the words of Christ.
But that is not the way you learned Christ--assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds. -Ephesians 4:20-23
The longer we continue to focus on the wrong, worldly mindset of our flesh, the harder it is to break free from it. Many of us have been walking around for years with the belief that we are eternally trapped in this sin. We stumble over and over until we are broken to the point that we can’t ever see freedom being a prospect. That was me, my friend; God rescued me from that, and he has the power to rescue you as well:
When stuck in mud or quicksand, slowly sinking down, our first reaction is to panic. Yet, our struggle makes it worse as we thrash around and only sink faster. That is how you and I were when trapped by sin. We saw what was happening, began to panic, got stupid, and put ourselves into a position of helplessness. In that moment, Christ showed up and pulled us from the mud. We still have mud on our boots, but we are no longer in the mud. We are no longer sinking...Christ took care of that.
In the Old Testament, a sacrifice to God meant the death of an animal. It was the shedding of blood at an altar that reconciled the people to God. In the same way, we are to put to death the old ways - our old self. So, how are we to give our lives as a living sacrifice to God? You can cast away your old self and embrace the grace that God has given you through Christ. Only then will you see freedom. Freedom isn’t perfection. Christ rescued us not so that we’d never mess up again, but so that we’d be redeemed and moving towards perfection through sanctification. And perfection has a face - his name is Jesus.
Day 54 Application
Regarding our struggle with sin, what does a renewed mind look like? How is it different than the mindset that follows mainstream culture?
Take a moment to read Ephesians 4:17-24. This is an excellent verse to pray through in regard to re-newing our minds. The following is a type of prayer that simply follows along with scripture, asking Jesus to apply what the Word says into our lives. This can help us to know what to pray for. We've written out what a prayer through verses 17-19 might look like; try it to help you get started, then continue on your own through verses 20-24. "Lord, help me to not be futile in my thinking, nor lost in darkness. I ask that I would grow in my understanding, that I might be connected to you, my life-source. Keep me from ignorance, Jesus, and soften my hardened heart, that I might have the sensitivity to discern what is good. Assist me in my walk with you, that my heart would be free from immoral sensuality and greed..."
How are complacency and lust related? Why is complacency so dangerous in the context of our relationship with Christ? What can you do to avoid complacency in your intimacy with God?
How do you utilize your accountability partner if you haven't recently struggled with sexual temptations or sins? How can you strengthen your sexual purity?