“When you pray, go into your most private room, and closing the door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you in the open.” (Matthew 6:6) The secret place of prayer is also a place of renewal; that is, renewing of the mind.
Romans 12 speaks clearly of this in verse 1, and I read this also from the Amplified Version, for it adds clarity to the verse: “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of all the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies, presenting all your faculties as a living sacrifice, devoted and well-pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service.”
Out of the wonderful cluster of truths in this verse, we take one little nugget of gold; that is, the sentence, “the renewing of your mind,” for there is no place where the mind can be so fully renewed as alone with God in the secret place. When you come aside from temporal things which distract and harass you, and there in the presence of God put your mind on the things of God, His majesty and glory, then the transforming power of God begins to work.
We are indeed transformed by the renewing of our mind. Now this is vital, because it is in the mind that sin is first conceived. The devil attacks us first in our thoughts: This is the door through which he finds entrance. But thank God we can close that door. You have found, as I have, that in the hard places, amidst severe trial, the devil tries to put discouraging thoughts in our mind.
The one that has not learned this secret of the renewing of the mind instantly will, as God’s Word says, “faint in his mind.” Here’s the verse: Hebrews 12:3, “Think of Him and consider it all, so that you may not grow weary and faint in your mind.” That’s where we faint first and become discouraged.
It’s no use to talk victory, using cheerful words, and think thoughts of defeat and discouragement, as some do. In our mind is the door through which the devil finds entrance. Then, if that’s true, we can by an act of our will take our minds off such thoughts and put them on God and the many wonderful things He says to you in His Word.
It’s vital that you have certain scriptures memorized so that you can quickly wield the sword of the Spirit when the Enemy attacks. Soon you will be lifted out of dark, discouraging thoughts and feel this transforming power renewing your mind. The one who has not learned to thus renew his mind when he sees his thoughts are pulling him down cannot claim the promise in this verse, that he shall “prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) That’s a tragedy, because it’s a tragedy not to know God’s will for your life.
So when the Enemy comes with evil thoughts of any kind, and you slam the door, stay your mind on Christ and the truths of Scripture; then the uplifting and transforming power promised in today’s verse will give you victory over every ugly thought, and you will partake more and more of the divine nature. As you form the habit of thinking Godward from His Word, thinking God’s thoughts after Him, gradually, according to 2 Corinthians 10:5, this will be fulfilled: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
It is the word “Christ” that makes all the difference in this verse. Last year I visited in the home of a woman who was deep in the study of science of the mind, and she was constantly struggling to think positively, but was always being defeated in her positive thinking. She reminded me of the little boy whose mother told him at long last that if he did not sit down, she would punish him. Well, he sat down, but soon he said in a rebellious voice, “I’m sitting down, all right, but I just want you to know that I’m standing up on the inside!”
This dear woman would put on a veneer of control, but inwardly she would be boiling! She wasn’t a Christian, and when she gave up her negative thinking she had nothing factual to tie into. She did not have Christ to help her, or all the wonderful truths of God’s Word to think on. What an advantage the Christian has. She was exalting her mind above the mind of God.
Note this verse again: “Casting down everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” I believe in positive thinking, and there is a science of the mind, but there is no salvation or eternal life in either.
God’s Word says there is no other name given among men under heaven whereby we can be saved, and in none other is there salvation. (Acts 4:12) Meditate upon these scriptures. David said, “Thy testimonies are my meditation.” (Psalm 119:99) And 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear that as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted from wholehearted, sincere, pure devotion to Christ.”
At first it is not easy to deliberately, by the act of the will, put the mind on God, His Word, His love, His truths. But gradually, by the principle of repetition, the thoughts will be brought into captivity to Christ. Remember, God never asks you to do what can’t be done! He never, never asks us to do what we’re unable to do.
This is His Word, and His Word is true. God cannot lie. His Word stands unchanging, everlasting, steadfast, the blessed Word of God. God says it and it’s so because God says so.
Let’s have just a wee word of prayer about it. We thank Thee, Father, for this precious Word of Thine, so wonderful in its helpfulness, so true! We pray that Thou wilt quicken faith for Thy blessed Word, that when we will read it we will know that it’s God that is speaking, and its truths will take hold of hearts.
We pray, Lord, that nothing in our lives shall be exalted or lifted up above the mind of God, but we might have that mind in us which is also in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 2:5) until at last we can say with the psalmist, “Thy law I love, and I meditate upon Thee even in the night watches.” (Psalm 119:148) God grant it, Father. We ask Thy blessing upon each one and answers to prayer for these that have written in.
God bless you and make you a blessing and keep you in these days. Remember, He’s still on the throne and prayer changes things.