Transformed by the Renewing of Our Mind

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Romans 12:2

This year I have been doing a lot of meditating on this verse, trying to understand what it truly means and how we can put it into practice. Don’t we all want to live transformed lives? If we are Christians, don’t we want to be more like Jesus, to truly know what it means to do God’s will – and then go ahead and do it? I, for one, don’t want to live a life that is full of guilt, worry, and mistakes. I want to live a life of peace and joy where I glorify God with my words and actions. I hope that is your desire as well.

Certainly the transformation of our lives started when we believed in Jesus, repented of our sins, and surrendered our lives to Jesus in baptism. Romans 6:3-7 says this: 

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from death through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this , that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. (Romans 6:3-7).

But it isn’t as easy as a one-time transformation. Of course, you can’t try to skip this step – it has to be part of the transformation process – but there must be a continual renewing of our minds, a transforming of our lives. I like this quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “The renewing of our mind is not an instantaneous transformation but a lifelong process, and we must give ourselves to it if we ever hope to see the fruit of Christ’s redemption in our lives.”

I’m a practical person so I don’t want to just talk about theories. How do we actually go about being transformed by the renewing of our minds? We need to give our lives to Christ, die to our old selves and be filled with the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38) Once we have done all this, we are faced with the question: what’s next? Here are some tools that I have been working on. I have found them to help me and many others, and now I would like to share them with you.

Spend time in God’s word 

  • Study it – by yourself and with others. We must have a strong understanding of the truth in the Bible so we will recognize when Satan is trying to deceive us. God’s word is powerful. It will help us to do what is said in 2 Cor. 10:5 “ We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Offer to teach others – by teaching Sunday School or leading a Bible study – and you will be prompted to study. And studying is a huge blessing!
  • Meditate on it. The righteous man in Psalm 1:2 meditated: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” How can we do this? The idea behind meditating is to spend a lot of time thinking about something. I have done that when memorizing scripture, but I have also been using another meditating method: each morning, when I read the Bible, I look for a verse or so that speaks to me, or that I can’t understand well, and I write it on a slip of paper and put it in my pocket. Then, each time I go to the bathroom, I pull it out, read it over, and think about it. You could choose something else – like whenever you take a drink – but you need something that triggers your brain to remember. This has been very helpful, as it prompts me to think on God’s word throughout my day.
  • Memorize it. I want to share a story that one of my “baby” sisters in Christ shared with me. She has been a Christian for only a couple of years, and those that discipled her encouraged her to memorize scripture. She has been doing it, around a verse a month (so a doable goal). She told me she used to be on anxiety medication – she doesn’t need it anymore. The day we talked, the preacher had asked her and a few others to quote a scripture in front of the congregation. She said in the past she would have been vomiting in the bathroom, totally unable to do something of that nature. Was she nervous? Yes. But no vomiting, she wasn’t sick. She did it with God’s power. We believe that most of her transformation came from hiding God’s word in her heart. “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:1).
  • Go to church and listen to others teaching from the Bible. “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him just as truth is in Jesus, that in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.” (Ephesians 4:17-24).

Spend time in Prayer

  • Ask. James 1:5 says: “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God , who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” God is the one who transforms us, but He doesn’t fill us with all wisdom, and all the fruits of the Spirit, automatically. He wants us to ask. 
  • Give Thanks. Obeying God in this has been incredibly helpful in my life. He gives and gives and gives. When I choose to pay attention and thank Him for the abundance that He has showered on me, instead of dwelling on what I think I lack, it is transforming. “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:18. I am passionate about this. If giving thanks isn’t a regular part of your day I implore you to make it part of your day. Say “Thank you, God” out loud. Write down a list of gifts. If you struggle with any person, look for things in them to thank God for. If you struggle with discontentment in any area, give thanks. 
  • Praise. When we choose to look to God and give Him praise – rather than always thinking about all that is going on down here – our outlook on life will transform. “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2).
  • Pray through your day. Prayer shouldn’t be something that just happens before meals, in church, or in a morning quiet time. Ask God to be with you in your day as you hop out of bed. Invite God into every conversation that you have. Take every concern and worry to Him right away. As you notice a gift from God – thank Him. Prayer doesn’t have to be out loud, with your eyes closed, in a quiet, peaceful surrounding. “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
  • Pray with others. I plan to write about this more in my next blog post, so stay tuned for that. But, in short, I think it is incredibly helpful. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16).

Enjoy Music that Honors God

  • Listen. What we fill our mind with influences how we think, what we say and how we feel. I’m not sure if music is as powerful for everybody as it is for me – music is a huge part of my life and can heavily affect me – but I think for many it is. Good music will play through my mind over and over again, and it will help me to change for the better. Bad music could do the same thing but the change wouldn’t be good. “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6).
  • Sing. I think there is something about saying/singing something out loud that helps to cement it in our mind and in our hearts. When my husband left the Lord, and I wasn’t sure how things were going to work out, I sang “He is Able” over and over again and it reminded me that it was true. 20 years later, when my husband left me, the song that I needed, that made me weep every time I sang it was “The Goodness of God”. It would take far too long to list the songs that have made a huge impression in my life, but I know they have been transformative for me. “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” (Ephesians 5:19 & 20).

Retrain our Thinking

  • Guard what we put in our minds.There are lots of ways to fill our minds with things that don’t renew our minds. Many things do the opposite. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8).
  • Develop new thinking habits. At one time in my life I was often critical in my thinking. Even driving around town I noticed the negative things about houses we passed. Then, I became convicted that my way of thinking was wrong, and by the power of the Holy Spirit I began to retrain my thinking. To look for the good in houses, in people and whatever else was in my life. Yes, I am still careful and compare new ideas and worldviews with the truth of God’s word, and I don’t want to be completely naive when it comes to people, but overall, I try to look for the good. That has been so, so helpful in reaching out to others and finding beauty in life. 

Be Humble

      We won’t ever rise above the need for God’s transformative work in our lives. We will always have room for growth. So humility is a critical element in being transformed to be more like Christ.

      What things have you experienced helping you to renew your mind? I would love to hear your thoughts!

        I will leave you with this:

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians  

2 Corinthians 5:16-18


  1. Abbi, thank you so much for your encouraging and convicting words. I used to memorize verses much more than I am presently doing, and you have encouraged me to resume that again. I too can really relate to music, and the song “I’m so Blessed” by Cain has really impacted me through the health issues I’ve had this year. It is amazing. What has helped to renew my mind is self examination – really looking at myself and what I am listening, reading, watching to. Being honest and humble about my failings like you said. Asking the Lord to renew me and grow me into a more useful child for Him.

  2. Carolyn Green Sheridan

    Thank you for sharing this. I have actually read it a couple times and it is so full of practical and useful thoughts and ideas. I like practical things like this that I can actually use ….something I can do as opposed to just think about. So…thankyou again.

  3. I love the scripture verses you shared; these are some of my favorites! James 1 has helped remind me many times to talk to Jesus when I feel lost or confused. When I seek Jesus through prayer, He renews my mind every time. This post was very encouraging, thank you for sharing!

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