|Faith and the Renewal of the Mind
In the midst of the increasing turmoil of our times, I find that it is more and more necessary to exercise faith in God, in His purposes and in His ways, just to remain upright in the face of the storms of daily life. The raging hate of Satan is being expressed daily in current events, natural disasters, political and cultural unrest, disunity and murderous anger in the culture.
How do we as followers of Jesus stand firm in faith in the context of cultural upheaval? The Bible gives us help in this, so I want to highlight two passages that are profoundly important as anchors for our souls in times like these.
Hebrews 11:6 says this: “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” This verse says that faith is an essential commodity for successful living, but faith is more than a doctrinal position or a vague emotional state. Faith is defined in this verse in this way – the foundational belief that God is who He says He is, and that He will do what He said He will do.
It is one thing to believe that verse intellectually, but under the pressures of the day, intellectual belief is not enough. There must be an internal confidence that grows out of encounter with God in worship, gazing on the beauty and the glory of the Lord, the majesty of Jesus as King and sovereign Lord of all creation. Encounter with God in worship is the key to taking our intellectual beliefs to a deeper place, so that the root systems of our faith go deep in the experiential knowledge of God. As that happens, we find strength to stand in stormy seasons.
In order for this to happen, the dynamic of Romans 12:2 must be in play in our lives. We must be “transformed by the renewal of our minds.” We must learn to see reality differently, to think differently, and therefore to act and react differently under the pressures of the day. We are to see from the perspective of Heaven, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father, unshaken and immovable in His sovereign authority over the affairs of earth.
How does this renewal happen? Again, through encountering the reality of who God is, meditating on His Word in the context of worship encounters. We are to fix our gaze on Him, not on what is going on around us. We become conformed to what we stare at, and the primary goal of Satan is to get our gaze off of Jesus and onto something less. To the degree that he can accomplish that, he will drag us down into instability and fear.
Set your mind and heart to worship God today, and again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Turn off the distractions, and fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, so that your mind will be preoccupied with who He is, and that as a result you may be steadfast and immovable in shaky times.