I once watched a beautiful French commercial for Dove soap, in which women were asked to write in a journal every time they had a thought about themselves and turn them in.
Later on, two actresses were chosen to memorize lines from these journals, and were told they would say them aloud to each other in a coffee shop. One actress asked the director “I have to say that? But it’s so horrible!”
After reluctantly memorizing their lines, the two actresses sat in a coffee shop, where all the other women who had written down their thoughts were also sitting and enjoying coffee. The women were all appalled to hear the things the actresses said to each other and one stood up and told the actresses to stop because they were being “harsh” and “violent.”
It is absolutely crazy the things we say to ourselves sometimes. We say things to ourselves we would never say to another human being, and then we wonder why we feel lost, stuck, not good enough, etc. We doubt that God can love us. All that negative thinking is not from God and is not good for us at all – spiritually, mentally, or even physically.
About a year ago I listened to a TEDx Talk by Dr. Caroline Leaf. Amazing talk. She is a Christian neurobiologist, who states that negative thinking can have negative effects on the body and brain. She says God made it that way, and that’s why there’s so much scripture on fixing our mind on God and on positive things. If we are trusting in Him, trusting in His truths, then our bodies, our hearts, minds, our entire lives will be healthier.
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Embracing a Renewed Mind
God has a beautiful formula for us to experience more of the abundant life He came to give us, and it comes in the way of thinking positively, of thinking of God’s truths which are good for our mind, soul and the body He has created for us.
“Do not conform yourselves anymore to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
I memorized this verse years ago, and still have a hard time living it out. I’ve wondered if I’m missing something, because if I was getting it, I would be transformed, right? Instead, I felt stuck. Paralyzed right where I was. So one day, I pulled out a concordance and did a word study. Sometimes, a word study can be transformative to the way you see Scripture, because as much as I love the written word (I was an English major after all), the New Testament was written in Greek, and a lot can get lost in translation when put into English. So anyway, I was doing a word
study, and I decided to look up three of the words in this verse. We’ll go through each one here. Hang with me, because this is good stuff here. 🙂
The Greek word for this is metamorphoo. It means “to change, to transfigure”.
This is exactly what butterflies go through. One day they’re creepy, crawling caterpillars, and then they spin a cocoon and they emerge graceful, soaring butterflies.
My pastor gave an illustration of this verse using the Transformers. These robots from the planet Cybertron can conform to our world by disguising themselves as a car, helicopter, truck, etc. But who they really are, are much more powerful than that. They can stay in their disguised vehicular form, or transform into who they truly are.
But what’s cool to realize, is we have the power to transform too. Not into butterflies or alien robots, but we can transform more and more into the holy person God wants us to be. It won’t happen all at once. It will take our entire lifetimes to transform. But it is possible. And it is what God wants for us.
The Greek word is anakainoo. It means “to refresh, restore, reinvigorate, and renovate”.
I always thought the word meant to make like new. Which in and of itself is pretty cool. But I was caught on the word renovate. When you renovate a part of your house, you take out the old stuff. Put in new stuff. And the transformation is incredible, right? There’s a reason Chip Gaines is so excited about demo day on Fixer Upper (removing the old) and his wife Joanna is so in love with decorating day (putting in the new). There’s a reason families cry and are so amazed when they see their houses fully renovated on any of those home makeover reality tv shows. They had lived with their home the way it was for so long, but now it’s different, better, healthier, more practical. Like new.
The Greek word for mind is “noace.” According to the Greek dictionary, noace includes thoughts, feelings, purpose, and desires.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I always thought the word ‘mind’ meant like your brain, your head, your thoughts. But no, according to the Greek word, every time the word “mind” is used, it refers to all the parts of us – our thoughts, feelings, purpose, and desires. Our mind is the very essence of who we are as individuals.
So when we read 1 Corinthians 2:16, “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? For we have the mind of Christ,” it essentially means we have the thoughts, feelings, purpose, and desires of Christ. Powerful stuff, huh?
Putting it all together.
Ok, now I did something with these definitions that changed everything for me. I put my favorite word from each translation into the verse.
“Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world anymore, but be transfigured by the renovating of your thoughts, feelings, purpose, and desires.”
Oh, how different life would be for us if we renovated our thoughts, feelings, purposes, and desires to align with God’s words, rather than our own thoughts! How much healthier we would be in mind, body and spirit if we lived believing the things God says about us, rather than our own negative thoughts.
If you’re looking for a good book (or two!) to read to help you overcome your struggle with negative thinking, these are two books I have LOVED and highly HIGHLY recommend.
Self Talk, Soul Talk: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Jennifer Rothschild.
Here’s to thinking about ourselves the way God does!