Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Renewing my mind

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind … Romans 12:2

I mentioned a while ago that my Pastor has chosen this verse and specifically the idea of transformation to be the key theme for this ministry year (Sept. to Sept.).  

To say that this theme resonated with me would not tell the whole story for when I starting this blog at the beginning of August, I felt at the time that I needed to undertake some spiritual disciplines in order to deepen my understanding of, my appreciation for, and my devotion to my faith.

Using some of the ideas found in holy scripture, I liken this undertaking to “retuning to my first love”, to “restoring the joy of my salvation”, and to the process of “working out my salvation with fear and trembling.”

Paul the apostle writes in his letters that the Christian life can be likened to a race that is meant to be run.  Now running has never been a strength of mine, give me a bicycle and I can ride for hours, but lace up some running shoes and I am panting by the first corner.  So I have to ask myself from a spiritual perspective how well am I running? 

The honest truth is that I stopped running a long time ago.  Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t mean to imply that I have abandoned the race, only that I stopped running at the first sign of cramps and I have been content to walk most of the way.  Oh every now and then I get encouraged to sprint a short distance, but inevitably I end up walking again.

The bible says “they that wait upon the Lord, renew their strength.”  Well to be frank it is a lot easier to just stop running when I am tired than it is to wait upon the Lord for strength.

So here I am today almost 4 months into the journey and what progress have I made?  To be honest I am probably moving at a swift walk.  If you have ever watched Olympic speed walking, you can envision how I see myself.  I am moving faster than I was four months ago, but my gait doesn’t look or feel natural and I am certainly not running with intensity.

Practically speaking I have regained consistency with respect to the reading of my bible.  On the prayer front however I only average one or two mornings a week of extended prayer.  This is an area I need to address.  I started out strong, praying 3-4 days a week back in August / Sept but then it slowly  got pushed aside for the pleasure of extra sleep.

I want to mention something else that I have done specific to the idea of renewing my mind.  A couple of weeks ago I attended with my dad a training day for “The Truth Project”  I was thoroughly impressed with this series of teachings designed specifically for the purpose of re-establishing a Christian worldview “within” the church. 

Turns out that most Christians don’t actually have have a Christian worldview.  They may understand who Jesus is and what he has done for them, but they don’t have a clue how to distinguish between the truth claims of the bible and the cultural norms that society views as sacred.  This is what a worldview is; it is a filter through which a person makes sense of the world around them.

I made reference to at least the core beliefs of my world view in a previous posting when I said the following:

1.  My nature is bent towards evil.

2.  I am hopeless to change.

3.  The human race is bent towards evil.

4.  We are hopeless to change.

Well if this is a filter through which I view the world, what ramifications does this have on the way I interpret cultural messages.  Let me give you an example.

I constantly hear that whether it is through the power of positive thinking or through mind over matter or though the latest trend that Oprah has hitched her wagon to that it is within me to achieve anything I desire.  That true happiness and peace can be achieved if only I am true to myself and I don’t let others hold me back.

Well my worldview tells me that this is a lie.

The problem with this is that it turns out my true self is not very nice.  Turns out that my true self is in conflict with God and my true self is not inclined to do the morally right thing if it is not in my best interest.  It is interesting how the world actually knows this very well and that is why self-love is almost seen as the pinnacle of human achievement.  Maslow used the term self-actualization, same thing.

My worldview tells me that only God can change my heart and give true happiness and peace.  It tells me that my old nature and its desires are detestable and that through Christ I now have a new nature with new desires which are no longer bent towards evil.

See how important a worldview is with respect to making sense of life.

So back to the task at hand, renewing my mind.  Since the training day I have been working my way through the 12 lessons.  I have made it through the first four and my desire is to begin a small group study in the new year to take other Christians through the material. 

Anyway one day at a time.

1 comment:

Darren said...

Great post Andrew! I'd love to help you get that small group study going in the new year! Let me know when you're ready :)