“But be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians to put on the whole armor of God. Verse seventeen of chapter six specifically tells us to put on the helmet of salvation. Like the other pieces of armor Paul writes about, the helmet covers our mind as we work out our salvation. But to work out our salvation, we must transform our mind. Philippians 4:8 explains how to do it.
Saving Your Mind
As Christians, we know we must be in the world, but God calls us not to be a part of it. The problem is we know our soul is saved, but we fail to allow the Holy Spirit to save our mind by transforming it. We still tend to have evil thoughts and allow Satan to persuade us to believe his lies.
Satan convinces us we are not good enough or smart enough or rich enough or pretty enough. The Bible tells us to take these evil thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Bringing our thoughts into captivity is not something that happens automatically when we accept our salvation from Jesus. It takes training and discipline and allowing the Holy Spirit to renew us from the inside out starting with our mind (Romans 12:2). This can only be accomplished by changing the way we think and making our thoughts obedient to Christ.
The apostle Paul writes we must stop falling for Satan’s lies and meditate instead on far better things.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8
How do we do that? Let’s take them one at a time.
Let Your Mind Meditate
To truly take every thought captive, we must apply it to God’s word. We begin by meditating on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.
True. Thinking about things that are true means we meditate on the word of God daily.
“You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Notice the Bible here uses the word shall and not can or maybe. God commands us to teach His word, talk about it, and post reminders around our houses. Surrounding ourselves with God’s word reminds us of what and Who is true as we pass the truth down through the generations.
Noble. The Greek word for noble is semnos, which means “honorable,” “respectable,” and “reputable.” To focus on noble things is to think about things that are sacred and worthy of respect. Thinking about things that are profane or oppose God in any way keeps us from renewing our mind in Christ. Instead, it keeps us rooted in the world and pushes us away from Him. Think about respectable things.
Just. We are also to meditate on what is just, meaning we think about what is right as we apply it to God’s standard of holiness. We focus on what is morally upright and fair and stay away from things or ideas that are not. Justice must always be based on God’s word.
Pure. We must think and focus on morally clean things and rebuke evil thoughts that are immoral according to God’s holy standard, especially sexual immorality.
“For God did not call us to uncleanness but in holiness. Therefore, he who rejects this does not reject man, but God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8
Put God’s Word in Your Heart
Lovely. Next, we are to meditate on what is lovely. The Greek word here for lovely is prosphiles, which means “friendly to” or “acceptable.” Some interpretations indicate it means “amicable.” To think about lovely things, we think about what is kind or gracious. And not just think about it but also how to do it.
Take captive any thought that is not gracious or kind and purposely focus on what is.
Of Good Report. We also think about highly-regarded things in the world, such as kindness and respect for others. Again, we not only think about it. We also find a way to do it as a reflection of Christ.
In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus gives us the Greatest Commandment to love Him most and to love others as we love ourselves. Thinking about things “of good report” means we find and emulate ways to spread kindness and love to all the people we encounter.
Virtue. When we meditate on virtue, we think about excellence, actions of goodness, and honorable, honest deeds. We actively exercise virtue in our lives (we set the example), and we look for it in others.
There is a saying, “Good people attract good people.” But if our thoughts tend to go to things that are ugly, rebellious, and deceitful, we must take those thoughts captive and put them back on God. The Bible warns us of others who promote evil thoughts and actions in our lives.
“Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
While we must look for virtuous people, we first must already have the mindset of focusing on it and exemplifying in our lives.
Praiseworthy. Finally, we think and look for things that are commendable and worthy of admiration. God alone is worthy of our praise, but sometimes people also do things that are worthy of our appreciation. When they do, we honor them. Not because we must but because of a desire to celebrate others is already in our hearts.
As we meditate daily on each of these values, our mind slowly metamorphoses to be more like God. And we keep doing so until it becomes a natural part of who we are. It is then we become better equipped to take every evil thought captive and making it obedient to Christ.
The result is the renewing of our mind. We are transformed.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to demolish every evil thought. We must remember Satan is the author of lies (John 8:44), the one who prowls around “seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).” So we take the evil thoughts he feeds us, and we make them obedient to the truth of Christ’s love.
In meditating daily, we renew our mind proving the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).” If the thought we have is not true and in line with God’s word, we should reject it. Instead, we think and pursue truth.
If what we think is not noble, virtuous, praiseworthy, or of good report, we take it captive, casting off anything evil, impure, or unlovely. And if it is not just, we exercise godly discernment through the Holy Spirit and seek God’s holiness. With all our might, we refuse anything dirty and unholy to enter our mind.
We cannot make agreements with the devil. We cannot agree with his lies.
If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our salvation is secured, and we cannot allow Satan to put any doubts in our mind. Assurance is something we can hold onto if we are obedient (1 Peter 1:6-10).
Allow the Holy Spirit to help you renew your mind in Christ. Meditate on the truth of His word, the Bible, and reject evil. In doing so, we reflect Jesus’ character and the truth of both who He is and who we are, His children.