Do you keep making the same mistakes over and over again… falling for the same old tricks… the same old lies… doing the same thing over and over? Life change doesn’t begin with behavior. If you start with your behavior, you’re going to fail. To change your life you have to change how you think.
The key is learning to think with the mind of Christ. Because when you think with the mind of Christ then you will be able to live and act like Christ.
What you put into your mind is what you’re going to get out of it. Garbage In… Garbage Out. Jesus In… Jesus Out.
There’s a higher standard that God wants us to live by. It’s time for us to wake up and become the people God calls us to be.
“And do this, understanding the present time…” Romans 13:11 NIV
The phrase “the present time” refers to what’s called a kairos moment. A kairos moment a moment in your life that must be seized in order to accomplish its purpose. It’s not just the passing of day after day after day.
“And do this understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to WAKE UP FROM YOUR SLUMBER, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.”
“So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality, and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy, but rather but rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and don’t even think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Romans 13:11-14 NIV
If you’re going to rethink your view of yourself you have got to put on the mind of Christ and you have got to get rid of the garbage that’s in your mind.
“Be made new in the attitude of your minds.” Ephesians 4:23 NIV
This truth is found over and over again in Paul’s teachings.
“Do not conform any longer 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 NIV
It’s important to understand the difference between conforming and transforming.
- To conform means to fit into a mold; to make or become the same; to behave in a conventional way by accepting without question the customs, traditions, and prevailing opinions of others.
Paul is telling us don’t let the world press you into its mold. Don’t just follow the crowd or the culture. And yet, how often do we do try to fit into the world like Play-Doh into a mold?
But as followers of Christ we belong to a different kingdom. We have pledged our allegiance to a different King. We live under a different set of values than the world does.
Just because something has become socially acceptable doesn’t make it right. Just because something is legal doesn’t make it acceptable to God. God wants us to live under a different set of values.
God says, “Don’t conform to the ways of the world.” Instead, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
- To transform means to change the nature, character, or personality of something.
Conforming is about changing external appearances. Transforming is about changing the internal nature of something. Conforming has to do with behavior – fitting into a mold. Transforming has to do with character – renewing your mind.
If you want to be like Christ then think like Christ.
So, how does that transformation actually happen? We need to talk about a couple of more words – repent and confess.
- To repent means to change your mind, to change the way you think.
Repent does not mean to change the way you behave. Repent means change the way you think, what you believe.
When you repent you will change your behavior but the behavior change starts in the mind. We also need to understand confession.
- To confess means to say the same thing.
In its Biblical sense, to confess is to agree with what God says about something. We often think confession is about confessing your sins. But there’s so much more to confession than just confessing your sins.
Now, confessing my sins is important because it’s part of forgiveness. The Bible says that when we confess, God forgives.
So confessing sins is important, but if we stop there then nothing is going to change inside us. How often have you confessed the same thing to God over and over? Have you noticed that we’re not very creative when it comes to sin?
We all have the same four or five things that trip us up over and over again. Confessing your sins brings forgiveness but it doesn’t change anything in you. But there is another kind of confession that does change how you live. It’s not just confessing your sins… it’s confessing your faith.
Confessing your sins is saying what God says about what you did.
Confessing your faith is saying what God says about what He did.
- When I say what God says, I begin to think like God thinks.
When I say what God says about life then I begin to think like God thinks about life and that changes the way I live. You’re not just saying what God said about what you did, you’re saying what God says about who you are in Christ.
You are confessing – agreeing with God about who you are in Christ. That’s why we must be people of the Word so that we know what God says so we can think the way God thinks about us.
I know it because I have His Word on it. My sins are forgiven because I have His Word on it. God is not ashamed of me. “The Son has set me free.” “I can do all things through Christ.” My God will meet all my needs.” “There is a purpose for my life.” God will never forsake me, I have His Word on it.
If we spent more time confessing our faith, we would spend a lot less time confessing our sins.
That is the secret to being made new in the attitude of your mind. You confess your faith.
Be Made New
“Be made new in the attitude of your minds.” Ephesians 4:32
Right before Paul wrote that sentence he wrote an exhaustive list of things we need to guard our hearts against. Things like anger, bitterness, slander, lying, stealing, hatred, lust. But he ends that list by saying, “Be made new in the attitude of your minds.”
“Be made new…” those three words come from a Greek word that means “to renovate.”
If there’s going to be any positive change in your life there has to be a renovation in your mind. If you have ever renovated anything in your home, you know that renovation is not a one-time instantaneous event. It’s a process, it’s a project.
It’s inconvenient. It causes a disturbance. Unexpected things come up. It’s painful and it’s costly. But the end result is good.
The renovation of your mind is no different. When you’re renovating your home, where do you start? You start with demolition! You rip out all the old stuff to be able to put in the new stuff. Out with the old before in with new. It’s the same thing with your mind.
- Renovation begins with demolition.
Every day you process between 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts. That’s about 3,000 thoughts every single hour. Over time, those thoughts form patterns and pathways in your mind. You have thoughts that you habitually think about yourself, about God, and about how you think God thinks about you.
Before you can experience any real change or renewal, some of these thought patterns and pathways need to be broken down. What are the lies that you need to get out of your head? Is it guilt for things you’ve done? Regret for things I continue to fail to do?
If you are loading up your mind with guilt and regret then you believe God sees you as a failure. You have things that really need to be changed. Maybe for decades you’ve been praying but nothing is changing. So you have concluded that God doesn’t care about that.
Of those 60-80,000 thoughts some of them are on repeat in your mind. Things like, “I don’t think I have a purpose. I feel kind of worthless. I am worthless. I don’t feel like anybody likes me, or loves me. I’m a failure. I’m a fraud. I’m not good enough.”
Do you have any of those not-good-enough statements that you say to yourself? You’re creating pathways in your brain that are based on lies.
Parents can struggle with that. Let’s face it, as parents we’re just winging it. We’re just making it up as we go along. If those are the types of thoughts that you have in your mind, God is saying something very specific to you right now… Enough. Enough of that.
Because every time you say, “I’m not enough,” there’s a word for that. It’s called shame.
Jesus is not the author of shame. Satan is the author of shame.
Jesus is the author of grace and freedom and hope and peace and joy.
That script that’s been playing over and over in your mind that you’re not enough, God has written a whole new story for you. And He desperately wants you to live it. It comes down to knowing the truth about yourself.
Jesus said, “When you know the truth, it will set you free,” but you have to know the truth to be set free by the truth.
“Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery…”Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; HE SNAPPED THEIR CHAINS.
Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He’s done for them. For HE BROKE DOWN THEIR PRISON GATES of bronze; HE CUT APART THEIR BARS OF IRON.” Psalm 107:10-16 NLT
The bars to their cells? They’ve been cut apart! The prison gates? They’ve been broken down! The chains? They’ve been snapped!
You can come on out of the cell that you’ve put yourself in because Jesus has set you free from the lies you believe about yourself!
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 ESV
No condemnation – two of the most beautiful words in the Bible.
This renovation that God wants to do in your mind is a safe space for you to step into. You don’t have to worry if He’ll accept you or love you. You don’t have to worry if He’s going to shame you.
“Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
This truth of Christ offering us a new life is so significant that Jesus asked every single one of us to put this truth on display. We do that through baptism. Baptism is a picture of life change; it’s a picture of being made new. Baptism is something that Jesus commands us to do.
Baptism is a picture that the old has gone and the new has come. In baptism you are buried with Christ and raised to walk in newness of life!
When God renovates your mind the primary tool that He uses is the power of His Word.
“For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts, and the attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NIV
“The Word of God is like a two-edged sword.” That sword has a deadly edge and a life-giving edge. The deadly edge of the Word of God puts to death the old ways of thinking. It puts to death the old lies that have controlled us. The life-giving edge performs open-heart surgery on you like a scalpel. It cuts out the infection and the residue of sin.
The Word of God can smash any stronghold, break any chain, uncover any sin and expose any lie.It changes how you see yourself, see God, and see the world.
We need to be made new in the attitude of our minds, and here’s how it’s done. Confess your faith. Say what God says about you. Let that change the way you think. And you let that change the way you live. You let the truth set you free.
We’re not talking about the power of positive thinking. We’re talking about the power of Biblical thinking.
This is not about good intentions. It’s not about you promising God… How’s that working out for you? God is not interested in your promises. We make our promises to God and fail, and fall, and break those promises, but God does not break His promises.
- God is not asking me to make a promise that I cannot keep. He is asking me to receive a promise that only He can keep.
10 Faith Confessions
“I believe Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again from the dead on the third day.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
“I am a new creation in Christ. The old life is gone, a new life has begun.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“The Son has set me free. I am free indeed!” John 8:36
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
“God is faithful. He will not let me tempted beyond what I can bear.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
“Nothing can ever separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:38-39
“He is able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within me.” Ephesians 3:20
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
“Greater is He that is in me, than He that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“God is for me! who can be against me?” Romans 8:31
This is the Word of God! This is what He says about you. So let it become what you say about you. Start every day by confessing these truths. Read them to God, read them to yourself, and read them to the devil.
Whenever you are afraid, have doubts or are tempted… read them again. Let these words renew your mind. The devil doesn’t want to see you free so he will rattle the broken chains and whisper those old lies to you. He’ll try to haunt and harass you with memories of your past. But when the devil tries to remind you of your past, just remind him of his future and let the Word of God fill your mouth.
Briefly check back on your discussion from the last week, “Serving in Times of Uncertainty” and your SERVE Day project. How’d it go?
Are you ever confused about who you really are? The mixed messages we hear from the world around us leave us confused and often feeling powerless—but they are lies. It’s only when we learn to think like Jesus that we’ll know exactly who we are.
“When I say what God says, I begin to think like God thinks.”
Discussion & Application
1. The word “confess” is often full of negative images and connotations that confuse us. But “confess” means to say the same thing that God says. Discuss and share how seeing this in a simpler light changes its impact for you.
2. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (ESV) How can the truth in this verse help set you free from feelings of guilt?
3. Which of the faith confession promises makes the greatest impact on you? Why?
4. Turn in your Bibles to Romans 13:11-14. How does this passage challenge you to rethink your view of yourself?
5. Why do you think the writer, Paul, is so urgent in his warning?
Ask how you can pray for and support one another this week.
In group prayer ask God to show you what chains need to be broken, what sins confessed, and what promises of God believed in order to begin rethinking your view of yourself. Determine to let God’s Word transform your mind. What changes will you make to your daily schedule in order to hear from God every day and rethink your view of yourself? Share your ideas with your group.
Take a picture or screenshot of the faith confession verses or somehow make a visual list of them to review on a regular basis.
Also, have you considered joining us for Growth Track? Rock Brook’s Growth Track is a 4 step series designed to help you take the next step in your spiritual journey. Step one is August 2nd where we’ll share our story, vision and purpose of the church. rockbrook.org/connect/growth-track