Devotional: A new direction in life
When we put our body on God’s altar, He will begin to renew our mind.
We read this in Romans 12:1-2.
I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove [find out and experience] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Now I want to explain to you why God can only reveal His will to our mind after it has been renewed. Before God makes this change in our mind, the mind that we have by our old fleshly nature is not something that can receive the will of God. In Romans 8:7, Paul says this: “...the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God ...” (NAS). Or, in the King James Version it says, “...the carnal is enmity against God.”
I think it becomes obvious that a mind that is at war with God cannot receive the revelation of the will of God. That warring attitude of our mind which is hostile to God must be changed by the transforming of our mind, by the renewing of our mind. And then that renewed mind, and only that renewed mind, can receive the revelation of the will of God.
Now, the carnal mind is the product of impressions from man’s rebellious soul, a soul that has been in rebellion against God. And it covers three main areas: the will, the intellect and the emotions.
Essentially, the carnal mind is self‑centered. It revolves around that little word “I.” It is ego‑centered. It is expressed in certain simple verbs. The carnal will says, “I want.” The carnal intellect says, “I think.” The carnal emotions say, “I feel.” And in his unregenerate or carnal condition man is controlled by those three verbs, “I want,” “I think,” “I feel.” His whole life revolves around them and in that condition he is not open to the revelation of the will of God.
There has to be a significant and ongoing change. These attitudes that are expressed in the words, “I want,” “I think,” “I feel,” have to be renounced. We have to let something go before we can receive the will of God. Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 16:25:
For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.
Now in the original Greek, the word that’s translated “life” is the word for “soul.” So, if you wish to save (to keep) your soul‑life, you lose it, but if you’re willing to let your soul‑life go, then you’ll find a new life, a life that God has for you.
What does it mean, to lose that old soul‑life? It means to renounce self. It means to say to self, “You are no longer going to dictate to me. I am not going to be ruled any longer by the things that you want and you think and you feel. I’m going to live by different standards. I’m going to get my direction from a different source. I’m going to turn my back on all that selfishness and self‑centeredness. I’m not going to be the plaything of my emotions and my own impressions. I’m going to lay down that old soul‑life, that ego-centred way of living and thinking, which has dictated to me all these years and I’m going to find a new life, a life that God has planned for me.”
You remember what I said as I quoted Ephesians 2:10. We are God’s workmanship when we come to Him in Christ, created for good works that He’s prepared for us, a unique and special task that God has for each one of us to fulfil. But as long as we go on thinking along the old lines, as long as we let that old ego-centred life control us, as long as we’re motivated in those old ways, we cannot find and walk in those good works which God has prepared for us.
So there’s a life to lose and then a life to find. And if you are really going to find the fullness of God’s plan for your life, you have to ask yourself, “Am I willing to let that old soul‑life go? Am I willing to stop thinking in those old ways, ‘I want,’ ‘I think,’ ‘I feel’? Am I willing to let God change me within by renewing my mind?” That’s a decision you have to make.
Father, help me to be attentive to not let my life be ruled by what I think, I want and I feel. Make me sensitive to Your Holy Spirit, help me to daily take up my cross, lay down my life, my soul, and follow You, so I may fulfil the special task You have in store for me and walk in those good works You have prepared for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!