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Leading people into a maturing new life in Jesus Christ

The Key to Renewed Mind


“This is our part in the process of renewal — to turn our minds to Jesus over and over again until…”

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste” has become an iconic quip in American culture since it first appeared forty years ago. Yet almost two-thousand years ago the Apostle Paul encouraged his readers to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom 12:2).

Today, many students of Jesus wrongly take Paul’s words to mean a renewed mind is the result of total passivity on their part. And while it is absolutely true that only the Spirit of God can change how I think, I do have a part to play.

When Jesus rebuked Peter for attempting to persuade him not to go to Jerusalem and die, Jesus responded to his beloved student by saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me.” The mind that a few minutes before gives evidence of spiritual renewal in declaring Jesus to be “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” in this instant becomes an instrument in the hands of Evil to distract Jesus from his purpose.

How is it that one moment Peter’s mind can be the recipient of a divine revelation and a few minutes later a tool of Satan? Perhaps we’d all like for the Spirit to zap us into full spiritual maturity through an instantaneous renewal of our minds, but that’s not the way God has chosen to work. Paul encourages us to “be transformed” because we have a part to play.

Commentators often fail to mention the rest of Jesus’ rebuke to Peter: “For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man” (see Matt 16:10-23 ESV). Peter is not a helpless victim in the hands of Satan. Rather, Peter bears responsibility — he is accountable for his response to Jesus — because he has taken things into his own hands and acted from old patterns of his life, from a human rather than a divine perspective.

Peter is not unloved and rejected by Jesus, just rebuked. Just like you and me he is in the process of repenting, of learning to view life from God’s perspective, and this comes from “setting your mind on the things of God.”

This is our part in the process of renewal — to turn our minds to Jesus over and over again until, by viewing the goodness of the Father, we come to understand his ways.

Three thousand years ago David wrote: “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Ps 16:8). And Scripture emphatically promises: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isa 26:3).

So here’s the key to experiencing peace and renewal in life: fix your attention on God. You’ll soon come to trust him rather than yourself.


Contributed by Pastor Larry Zuchowski

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