Jan 192014

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.

New thinking renewed mind

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,

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 –  Glenn Hager –  David Derbyshire –  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 –  Loveday Anyim –  Loveday Anyim –  Loveday Anyim –  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

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  • Graham Criddle

    Hi David

    Romans 12:1-2 is the “annual text” I chose for our church this year.

    Reflecting on verse 2 I saw something interesting.

    The words for “renewing” and “mind” in “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” are singular whereas the words for “you” and “test” in “you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is” are plural.

    It is as though we each need to take on the personal responsibility of allowing God to transform us and renew us and then – together as God’s people – seek to know His will for us as we live for and serve Him together.

    It presents the picture of a group of God’s people – each individually being transformed and renewed – working together under God’s direction and guidance. And it calls on each of us to work to be ready to be part of that community.

    • http://limpingintotruth.blogspot.co.uk/ Dave Criddle

      I love that! That’s something cool I’d not spotted before. Thank you! I really hope people read the comments for that extra insight… You should start a blog.

  • James Lewis

    I generally read the comments to see if there’s some smart alec response I can add…

    • http://limpingintotruth.blogspot.co.uk/ Dave Criddle

      Imagine my surprise…

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  • http://wordshalfheard.blogspot.com/ Carol Kuniholm

    Thank you for joining the synchroblog conversation. I appreciate your very honest “I want it!” as well as your honest realization we’ll never be quite there. The testimony of the Christian church would be very different if there were more who realized that transformed minds were an avenue to real discernment. Please keep blogging!

    • http://limpingintotruth.blogspot.co.uk/ Dave Criddle

      Thank you Carol! I couldn’t agree more, and I will certainly be keeping blogging!

  • http://gracerules.wordpress.com/ Liz Dyer

    Dave – I love that you zeroed in on how we have to intentionally work at “new thinking” because it is so easy for us to just hang on to what we presently think even when it might be wrong. For the last several years I have been trying to practice a way of believing that incorporates two things that seem to be opposites .. I try to live out my beliefs with conviction while at the same time remaining humble enough about what I believe to know that there is a good possibility that my belief about any number of things may be wrong. It was tough at first but I’m sort of new to it now and the main difference I have found is that I don’t automatically write off something or someone who thinks or believes differently than I do. AND I have actually changed my thinking over time about some things … AND I believe the extra dose of humility has made more room for God to do his transforming work within me.

    (Thanks for joining in the synchroblog!)

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