When is the last time you started to believe something new? When is the last time you changed your mind? When is the last time you had a debate or discussion with someone you knew you disagreed with and actually – actually – entered into it open to being persuaded you were wrong? When did you last adopt some new thinking?
If the answer to these questions is ‘not very recently’ or ‘never’, you may be missing out on some new beginnings.
I wrote something about this a while back, but I want to revisit the subject. Last time I wrote about the need to be open to new thinking because some of our thinking can be wrong, and we don’t really want to be wrong do we?
New thinking: why bother?
But there’s a deeper reason for new thinking, new beliefs, an openness to new ideas. There’s a verse I’ve been coming back to again and again over the last few months. It’s Romans 12:2, and it says this:
“Do not conform 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.”
Being wrong in our minds about something isn’t the biggest problem we could have. That’s an intellectual problem. What’s far worse is if we are pursuing the wrong things, doing the wrong things, having our very being somehow askew.
As a Christian, I believe I’m called to be different. That’s what Paul says in that verse. I’m not meant to conform, but be transformed. I can’t stay the way I am, because the way I am (not just the way I think) is wrong. If this is the diagnosis, then, what is the prescription? What does Paul say is the road to transformation? The ‘renewing of your mind’?
Our thinking matters
Renewing of our minds, Paul? Really? Not our soul? Or our hearts? Or our actions? Why start with our minds? Faith isn’t a thing primarily of the intellect, so why start with the brain?
I used to be very involved in drama. I acted a lot, and I loved it. At school, I studied various theatre practitioners, and one was a Russian chap called Constantin Stanislavski. At a time when actors didn’t act but just stood at the front of the stage and declared lines, he had a different idea. He wrote about it in his book, ‘An Actor Prepares’
He began with imagination. He would encourage actors not to move a muscle but focus their minds on the feelings, the histories, the deep being of the characters they played. Instead of starting with mannerisms, accents or anything external, start on the inside. Think like the character, and everything else will flow from there. At the heart of his method was imagination.
Stanislavski caused something of a revolution in theatre in Russia because of this idea. Plays started to grip people because the characters were real. This was over a hundred years go, but actors today still practice his method.
The mind is a powerful thing. What we think works itself out in who we are, what we do, what we don’t do.
The fruit of new thinking
The church (and the world) doesn’t need more people who have learnt to go through the motions of faith. The church (and the world) needs people whose lives are transformed, and that transformation begins on the inside.
It begins with getting our minds in order. We make hundreds of tiny decisions each day, and each of them is based on the system of thought we have picked up and developed over our lives. Some of that thinking will be wrong, so some of those decisions will be wrong.
We pray ‘Your will be done’, and we recognised – rightly – that we can’t always know what God’s will is. But that verse I started with makes a massive claim. If our thinking is brought in line with God’s, we will be transformed to the point that we can discern what God’s will is, we can know His mind and His heart for situations.
I want that! I know I’ll never attain it properly, but I want it. And if I can get closer to that by allowing my thinking to be challenged, changed and made more perfect by God, when bring it on!
I don’t want to be right just for the sake of being right. I want to be right so I can pursue all the right thing, work for all the right things, walk in step with what God’s purposes are instead of straining against them.
It starts with this: are you willing to realise your thinking isn’t right, and are you willing to get some new thinking? As Hyundai tell us, ‘New Thinking, New Possibilities’.
This post is part of January’s Synchroblog on ‘New Beginnings’. I’d encourage you to check out the rest:
Jen Bradbury – Enough
Abbie Watters – New Beginnings
Cara Strickland – Bursting
Carol Kuniholm – Acorns, King, Beloved Community
Done With Religion – A New Year, A New Beginning
Kelly Stanley – A Blank Canvas
Glenn Hager – Overcoming The Biggest Obstacle To Reaching Your Goals
David Derbyshire – Changed Priorities Ahead
J A Carter – The Year of Reading Scripture for the First Time
Damon – New Beginnings: Consider These 5 Questions Before Tying The Knot
Jeffrey Kranz – Where To Start Reading The Bible
Joanna990 – On survival – my one word for 2014
K W Leslie – Atonement
Happy – my One Word 365 surprise
Michelle Moseley – Ends and Beginnings
Matthew Bryant – A New Creation
Liz Dyer – It’s a new year and time to make some new mistakes
Edwin Pastor Fedex Aldrich – Foreclosed: The beginning of a new dream
Jennifer Clark Tinker – Starting a New Year Presently
Loveday Anyim – New Year New Resolutions
Loveday Anyim – New Year Resolution Dreamers
Loveday Anyim – New Year Resolution Specialists
Loveday Anyim – New Year Resolution Planners and Achievers
Jeremy Myers – Publish Your Book with Redeeming Press
Amy Hetland – New Beginnings
Phil Lancaster – New Beginnings
Mallory Pickering – Something Old, Something New
Margaret Boelman – The Other Side of Grief