BCC Staff: In this second installment of a two-part series on renewing the mind, we consider some of the components of this crucial part of the Christian life. Recall from the last post how Pastor Mark had to help Jeremy, an emotionally distant husband, figure how he needed to change in order to honor God in his marriage.
How we participate in mind-renewal
How can Pastor Mark guide Jeremy to participate in the Spirit-led process of renewing the mind? How can Jeremy be more consistent in making connections between what he reads in the Bible and what he does in his life? Here are four suggestions:
- Encourage Jeremy to pray
Pastor Mark can remind Jeremy to pray regularly for this blessing. Since the renewing of the mind is something the Spirit does in His people, Jeremy’s prayers will be a reminder that he needs the Lord’s help and an indication of the humble, submissive attitude that is necessary for mind-renewal.
- Encourage Jeremy to discover the value of God’s Word
Pastor Mark can help Jeremy understand how to read the Bible like he might read a treasure map. If most people were given a vague map that they were told could lead to a buried treasure, they would probably invest significant interest, time, and energy into deciphering the map! The writer of Psalm 119 states that he delighted in God’s law because he thought it was “more precious … than thousands of pieces of silver and gold” (Ps. 119:70, 72).
Jeremy probably does not appreciate the Scriptures the way the psalmist did. Jeremy should be taught that the more time he devotes to uncovering its riches, the more his values—and behavior—will be changed by it.
- Encourage Jeremy to process all of life from a biblical perspective
As Pastor Mark continues to shepherd this couple, he will want to look for ways to broaden their ability to think about life and respond to its challenges from a biblical perspective. He can take Jeremy to Ephesians 5:22–33 and help him see the connections between “being renewed in the attitude of your mind” and loving Hannah as Christ has loved the church.
Jeremy will need mentoring in looking at the disappointing situations that Hannah mentions as opportunities to learn how he can imitate the love of Jesus. And he should be motivated to do this so that his marriage more clearly illustrates how Jesus relates to His bride.
Merely telling Jeremy that his love should be like Jesus’ love—in broad, general terms—will not be effective. Pastor Mark should take specific examples and dialogue with Jeremy about how the sacrificial, sanctifying, and satisfying love of Jesus could shape Jeremy’s specific responses to Hannah. For example:
“Jeremy, remember the time you went out with friends after work, but didn’t call Hannah, who was home making your favorite meal? Although the incident with your buddies is over, it can be a good place for us to consider how you could have had a ‘renewed-mind response’ that would have communicated your love for Hannah more effectively. Hannah was justifiably upset for two reasons. First, you did not try to contact her about your plans after work. Now that you are married, you will need to always consider how a decision of yours will affect your wife. You will recall how Genesis 2:24 describes marriage as a ‘one-flesh’ relationship. That involves two people taking the strands of their individual lives and weaving them together into a tapestry that depicts a mutually interdependent life in which both of them are better able to fulfill God’s purposes for them. Therefore, train yourself to think of Hannah as a part of you. Especially now, at the beginning of your married life, you should start the practice of asking yourself, ‘If I do ___, how could it affect Hannah?’ The more you think of your wife before making decisions, the more considerate you can be toward her.
“The second reason she is upset is because you did not remember that she said she would be cooking your favorite meal. I understand that everyone forgets sometimes. But you already have a track record of forgetting that reflects negatively on your attitude toward Hannah. Thus, you need to pay more attention to what she says so that your forgetfulness is less frequent.
“There are different ways to work on your memory, so we might need to experiment with different options. But regardless of what you try, always keep in mind the reason for doing this: you want to communicate your love for Hannah more consistently, so that she feels cared for and treasured. Remember, you are reflecting the love of Christ as you love your wife!
“Notice, Jeremy, in this example you are responding to Hannah’s needs and providing a nurturing relationship for her. This is precisely what Jesus does with His bride. ‘In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church’ (Eph. 5:28–29).”
Helping people participate in the renewing of the mind is central to the task of discipleship, because to be a disciple of Christ means learning to think like Him. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1–3). As Jeremy grows in his appreciation of what his Savior has done for him, Hannah will be blessed by a husband who has the heart of Christ for her.
Join the Conversation
In what ways have you taught counselees how to participate in the renewing of their minds?
Note: An earlier version of this series originally appeared on: http://www.careleader.org/teach-people-renew-minds (May 26, 2016).