Yesterday we watched church service online and after it was over I had a discussion with my husband and daughter. I told my daughter that she was getting close to the age where she will be held accountable for her spiritual decisions. I explained to her that up until this point, she has been taught the Word of God from people close to her and that she will have to start applying biblical principles to her life (with guidance from mature Christians, of course). After our discussion she went to her room to clean up and I guess she did some thinking.
When I went to her room to check on her, she said, “Mommy I was thinking that we shouldn’t listen to rap music because the devil tries to get to our minds through music.” I asked her what made her say that and she explained that there is a song that says, “I sold my soul to the devil.” She said that kids sing that song and don’t know what it really means. (I’m impressed – tell me more.) I asked her what does she mean when she says that the devil tries to get our minds and she replied when you listen to the words in rap songs, the devil tricks you and you start to believe what they say.
She actually sounded like my mom when I was in middle school and beginning to make my own choice in music. My mom also cautioned me about what to allow and not to allow into my mind space. I have always loved music (all kinds) and still do, but I also have to constantly filter what is healthy and what is unhealthy as I continue to be intentional in the transformation of my mind to be more in line with Christ.
My daughter is ten and this is something she came up with on her own after pondering for a little bit. This wasn’t even a part of the discussion that we had earlier that morning. But, I don’t want to focus on whether rap music (or any kind of music) is good or bad, but I want to focus more on her thought process. She almost seems to have an understanding that your mind is a battle ground and that the devil will use the mind as a place to plant lies that can bring about doubting of God’s word, which ultimately leads to disobedience. We are constantly at war in our minds and a weak mind leaves us open to the possibility of being swayed and controlled by the enemy. The only way to counter this is to train our minds to align with God’s Word.
I remember being in fifth grade and learning the multiplication times table and from what I remember it was mainly through memorization (this was in the 80’s). I remember participating in multiplication drills in class and using multiplication cue cards and I even remember winning the “round the world” multiplication game a few times. One thing I know for sure is that I have never forgotten how to multiply and when I’m in a situation where multiplication needs to be applied, it’s almost automatic for me. I’m not sure where I would be if it weren’t for the memorization practice and the drills that tested my ability to apply what I’d learn. All of the practice, the drills, and the testing are embedded in my mind, so much so that it is difficult to forget. My mind has been trained to always apply the lessons when necessary.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
- Do not be conformed to this world – As Christians, we should not bend our beliefs to accept the prevailing norms of society. God’s word is true and it still stands no matter which way the world may sway. Sadly, many things in the world have become tolerable and many have become blind to those things that have been called right when in actuality they are wrong when we put them up against God’s word. Promiscuity, racism, corruption, homosexuality, crimes against children, and other evil deeds continue to be pushed towards normalization in today’s society. Not conforming means standing in opposition to those things even though you may face resistance from those around you, standing in unison with the word of God and refusing to go along with the world’s view. This is not always easy, but it is necessary and it requires a level of independent thinking – independent of the world, but not of God.
- but be transformed by the renewal of your mind – Just because someone spends time reading God’s Word doesn’t necessarily mean that they will not be conforming in their ways. Scripture must become more than words on a page. We must allow God’s Word to move from our heads to our hearts where it becomes a part of our core convictions and therefore it becomes living and powerful in its capability to drastically transform our lives. Internalizing God’s word and incorporating it into the core values of our heart is an intentional act. Renewing our mind in the Word and allowing it to transform us means we commit to living it out in our lives. That means that we examine everything that we allow into the space of our minds. When we find ourselves thinking sinfully we must take control of those thoughts immediately and not wallow in them, otherwise we may begin to act upon them. God’s Word says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10-5. If you consider the amount of thoughts that run in and out of our minds, this means we must saturate ourselves in the Word of God so that we can successfully cast out any doubt that draws us away from the truth of the Word.
- that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect – This means that we should examine our beliefs and practices against the Word of God and by doing this, we begin to know God’s perfect will as it is revealed in scripture. With a renewed mind (a mind of Christ), we will know how to walk through life with an understanding of God’s will and will be able to obey it. And while God’s will is not always pleasing, it is perfect and as we mature in Christ we will begin to love all the ways of God and find pleasure in them.
Renewing our minds and taking our thoughts captive is definitely a process. It takes an extensive amount of effort to rewire our brains to think differently especially when we have thought a certain way for a considerable amount of time. I encourage you to stop and reflect when you find your thoughts straying away into a negative realm. Try to pinpoint what triggered these thoughts and deal with that specifically. Most importantly, pray and be consistent in reading and absorbing God’s word and be willing to allow it to change you from the inside out.
“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind” Ephesians 4:23