THE RENEWING OF THE MIND AND THE RESULTING TRANSFORMATION
The mind is the principal part of the soul. In some places in the New Testament, the mind and the soul mean the same thing. Our mind is renewed within by the renewing Spirit. This is only the beginning. The renewing Spirit spreads from our mind to our whole soul, which is composed of our mind, will, and emotion. The mind, will, and emotion together with the conscience in the spirit compose our heart. The renewing of the mind is the renewing of the whole soul of man together with his spirit. Hence, transformation results from the renewing of the mind. Romans 12:2 tells us that we are “transformed by the renewing of the mind.’’ First, our spirit is regenerated. After our spirit is occupied by the Lord, the Lord Spirit then spreads from our spirit to our mind. When our mind is renewed, we are brought on until our whole soul is transformed.
Transformation is not the same as change. It is the result of a metabolic process. I have used this example many times. Tonight I will use it again. When a person’s complexion is not good, he can put on powder and cosmetics to improve his complexion. But this is not transformation; it is only a change. What then is transformation? Suppose your face is yellow and pale and looks appalling. If you will eat nutritious food in the right proportions, the food in your body will produce a metabolic change in you after it is digested. On the one hand, this metabolism provides you with fresh supply. On the other hand, it eliminates the old elements. Gradually, your pale and colorless complexion will be gone, and your face will shine with a rosy complexion. This is not a change; it is transformation. The Lord Jesus is our life. When he enters into us, he becomes a supply to us. This supply produces an effect in us. It eliminates the old and the natural elements from us. In the end, we are transformed and are full of His image (2 Cor. 3:18).
SAVED FROM A LIVING SOAKED WITH THE ELEMENT OF THE WORLD
After we are transformed by the renewing of the mind, a power will be produced in us that saves us from a living soaked with the element of the world. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this age.’’ To be conformed to this age is to be modern. This verse says that we should not be conformed to the modern way of this age. To be modern is to be fashionable; it is the appearance of this world before our eyes. I have experienced the simplest rural life, and I have also lived in the most modern cities. I discovered one thing: everyone likes to be modern. Whether the modern way is good or not, man loves it just the same. Everything that is modern and that is in conformity to this age is welcomed by man. But we have to know that the age of this world and the modern way of this world are common and unsanctified. Hence, we must not be conformed to this age. Rather, we should be renewed in our mind and be transformed in our soul. This will save us from a living soaked with the element of the world.
Setting the Mind on the Spirit and Minding the Things of the Spirit according to the Spirit
To be renewed in our mind, we need to set our mind on the spirit daily. The result will be the renewing of the mind. While we are in the church life today, no matter what happens, and what needs there are, we have to set our mind on the spirit. We should not set our mind on what is right or wrong, or on our views. We must set our mind on the spirit. This will result in our mind being renewed.
Renewing is different from brainwashing. Renewing is the total replacement of all of man’s thoughts, notions, and conceptions. Brainwashing, on the other hand, is like putting powder on a person’s face. Renewing is an inward metabolism. When the Lord’s life and His Spirit enter into man, there is a turn. Furthermore, to be renewed in our mind is to hand over to the Lord our concepts, perceptions, and views through loving Him and fellowshipping with Him, and through saying to Him, “Lord, I take You as my life, my view, and my way.’’ He is constantly operating within us. In this way, our whole mind is renewed, and within us we will have a different view toward the world than we had before. This is not a change. This is an inward transformation in life. Hence, we have to set our mind on the spirit (Rom. 8:6b). This will bring in the renewing of the mind.
Furthermore, we have to mind the things of the Spirit according to the spirit (8:5b). We should not mind the things of the earth and should not be conformed to the age.
That We May Prove by Testing the Good, Well-pleasing, and Perfect Will of God
Now we are qualified to understand the will of God (12:2b). According to Romans 12, the will of God is for the saints mutually to be members one of another, coordinating to be the Body of Christ and living the Body life in it (v. 5). Furthermore, we coordinate and serve together with the saints in the Body of Christ for the building up of the Body of Christ in order to accomplish God’s New Testament economy (vv. 6-11).
(Salvation in Life in the Book of Romans, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)