Special note: Today’s the last day of this seriesRomans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind. But that doesn’t mean it has to be over! You can now order all 40 lessons from this series in a beautiful paperback book that you can use to review what you’ve learned or to share it with others. Copies are available simply for a donation of any size to our ministry this month.
Also, I’d like to invite you to a special night of “Praise and Feasting” here at Clover Ranch this weekend! See the two P.S.’s at the end of today’s message for details. Now here’s the conclusion of our study together…
My son came home from Bible college a few weeks ago and said some people in his town think that all the kids who go to his school are brainwashed. My son said, “They’re right! We are!”
Their brains are washed in the best possible way, washed by God Himself, cleansed by His Holy Spirit, and renewed to look more and more like the mind of Christ every day.
As we wrap up this study of Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind, I wanted to give you some final thoughts on how to keep your “brain washed” in the best possible way, too.
First, I want to encourage you to keep reading the Word of God.
My wife has been going through chemotherapy the last few months and spending a lot of time reading and memorizing God’s Word. Once in awhile she’ll read a newspaper or magazine article about cancer and its devastating effects. It always reminds her how much more hope and joy she has whenever she reads the Bible! So she picks up her Bible again and starts reading it instead. We could all do more of that!
As God said to the Israelites:
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-8).
Some people might think that reading the Bible all the time is like burying your head in the sand and ignoring the problems in your life. But there’s a difference between burying your head in the sand and burying your head in God’s Word! Sand leads to suffocation and death, whereas the Bible leads to fresh air and life!
If you want to keep your mind as fresh and clean as possible, keep reading God’s Word as much as possible, every day, many times a day. A pastor was once asked which version of the Bible was the best. His answer? “The one you read the most.” Amen!
Second, I want to encourage you to keep surrounding yourself with other Christ-minded believers so they can “re-mind” you of God’s Word, too.
I know that there may be times when you may not feel like going to church. I know that you may not feel like going to Bible studies and getting to know complete strangers. I know that once you’ve gotten to know those complete strangers, they may do things that annoy you, or irritate you, or make you wonder why you ever bothered going at all.
But for all the potential pitfalls of interacting with others, there’s nothing more powerful than having a Christian brother or sister encourage you in your faith and life.
As the writer of Ecclesiastes said:
“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Renewing your mind is hard work, but God doesn’t want you to do it alone. He wants you to rely on Him, and He wants you to rely on His people, the body of Christ, who all share the same head, Jesus Christ.
We got a package in the mail last week that made us cry. It came from a church we used to attend about 20 years ago. In the package were a stack of cards from the church members and a check from the church. We were so overwhelmed by this expression of love and care that we couldn’t even open the stack of cards.
When we finally did open them, our tears began to flow again-tears of joy and thankfulness for their thoughts and prayers for us during this time in our lives. It was such a reminder to us of how the body of Christ works to lift us up in our time of need.
While it can be hard at times to invest your time in getting to know other Christ-minded believers, it’s an investment that will pay dividends for you and for them for years to come… for all eternity, in fact!
So first, if you want to keep renewing your mind, keep reading God’s Word. Second, keep surrounding yourself with other Christ-minded believers so they can remind you of God’s Word, too. And third, always remember that God LOVES you, He is FOR you, and He can work ALL THINGS for good in your life!
When I started writing this study almost a year ago, I had no idea what the year might hold. I had no idea how my life was about to change as my wife was diagnosed with cancer. Yet, as I’ve been rereading the whole book of Romans again this week, and rereading each of my messages from this past year, I’ve been reminded again just how much God loves me, is for me, and can work all things for good in my life, too.
And I’m positive that God loves you, is for you, and can work all things for good in your life. How can I be so sure? You don’t take my word for it! You can take His! Here are just a few reminders again of what Paul said in his letter to the Romans:
“But God demonstrates HIS OWN LOVE FOR US in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:3).
“If God is FOR us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b).
“And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
If you’ve read with me this far, I’m sure that you love God and are called according to His purpose, too, so these words apply to you just as much as they applied to the Romans to whom Paul was writing! Let God’s Word sink deep into your mind today. Let Him speak words of love, words of support, and words of encouragement to you every day.
If you need a good “brain washing,” I’d encourage you to take some time to read and reread the whole book of Romans again (then take some more time to read and reread the whole Bible again!) There’s nothing better to help you renew your mind than to wash it with the Word of God. Surround yourself with other Christ-minded believers who can speak God’s Word into your life as well. And always remember that God LOVES you, is FOR you, and can work ALL THINGS for your good.
As I said at the beginning of this study, one of the most powerful forces in the world in an idea. Revolutions of all kinds have been sparked by mere ideas and even the smallest ideas can grow to either define… or destroy you. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your ideas are in line with God’s ideas.
As Paul encouraged the Romans, let me encourage you:
“Do not conform any longer 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” (Romans 12:2).
Will you pray with me?
Father, thank You for speaking to us through this amazing book called Romans. Thank You for Paul’s faithfulness to write down what he learned from You so he could share it with others. Help us to be faithful with what we’ve learned so we can apply it to our own lives and to help others apply it to theirs as well. Wash our minds, cleanse our hearts, and fill us with Your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
P.S. I hope you’ve enjoyed studying the book of Romans with me through these messages this past year. If you’d like to get a copy of all 40 of these messages (38 lessons plus the introduction and conclusion), I’ve put them all in an 8×10 paperback book that you can get through our ministry simply for a donation of any size. Reading and rereading these lessons can be a great way to renew your mind, as each lesson points you back to the Word of God. Each lesson also comes with a set of “Questions for Reflection” that you can use renew your mind, or to go through them with a small group to help others renew their minds, too. As I’ve been rereading these messages myself as I’ve been putting together this book, I’ve been amazed how each lesson continues to speak to me again and again as I’m now going through a whole new set of circumstances in my life. The As Hebrews 4:12 says, the Word of God really is “living and active,” and God can use it to speak to us in fresh ways every time we read it. To make a donation to our ministry and get a copy of the book as our way of saying thanks, just click the link below.
Make A Donation and Get A Book!
P.P.S. I’d also like to invite you to a special night of “Praise and Feasting” here at Clover Ranch this coming Friday, June 1st at 6 pm Central Time. Ever since our day of “Prayer and Fasting” for Lana and her health, we’ve wanted to have a night of “Praise and Feasting,” to celebrate all that God is doing in our lives. There’s no charge, and all you have to do is bring yourself, a lawn chair or a blanket to sit on, and a dish to pass (if you’d like to add it to our feast!) We’ll be spending our time in praise and worship and encouraging one another in our faith. There are hotels nearby if you’re coming from out of town. We’d love to see you if you can make it! Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be glad to send you more details and directions.
Questions for Reflection
1. Read Romans 12:1-2. The term “brainwashing” is often used in a negative way, referring to someone who has been convinced of something that is untrue. But in light of today’s study, how can “washing your brain” with God’s Word work in your favor?
2. Who are some people in your life who are so filled with God’s Word that it seems to flow out of them whenever they speak? What could you do to spend more time learning from and growing together with them?
3. Read Romans 8:28-39. What verses from this passage stick out in your mind that are particularly helpful to you in your life right now?
4. Skim through the book of Romans again, or take an hour or so to read the whole book again. Write down any words or phrases that God may be wanting to speak to you. Hold onto those words and let God use them in the days ahead to continually renew your mind.