The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) has used "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" as their motto since 1972. "UNCF plays a critical role in enabling more than 60,000 students each year to attend college and get the education they need and that the nation needs them to have..." Basically, this means they invest in young people by helping them acquire necessary knowledge.
There are two types of knowledge in the world; natural knowledge and spiritual knowledge. Common sense tells you that everyone needs natural knowledge. It is impossible to live life without natural knowledge. Its challenging to work at a job if you have no natural knowledge. It's also impossible to acquire spiritual knowledge without the natural knowledge of reading or the ability to understand the words people are speaking to you. While the importance of natural knowledge is indisputable it is inconsequential in comparison to acquiring spiritual knowledge.
Natural knowledge can take you to great heights during your life time. Spiritual knowledge takes you to eternal life. Natural knowledge can open the door to understanding in the physical realm. Spiritual knowledge reveals the majesty and splendor of the entire creation. Natural knowledge shows you how things work. Spiritual knowledge introduces you to the heart of the One who created all things.
Spiritual knowledge, like natural knowledge, is not automatic. Someone has to put forth the effort to teach and someone must put forth the effort to learn. The major problem Christians have is that they think showing up at a building on Sunday, for a thirty to sixty minute teaching is sufficient for a spiritual education. Consider how long it would actually take a Christian to learn and grow spiritually if that is the only education he is receiving.
How much time do parents invest in teaching their new born before that child is ready to begin attending school? How much time and effort is involved in a child acquiring natural knowledge as he attends kindergarten through twelfth grade? Now consider the time and effort to acquire a higher education, or a master's degree, or a doctorate. By comparison, how long would it take that Christian to reach the kindergarten level at a rate of one hour of education per week?
Spiritual knowledge does not come from simply being near a church, or by joining a denomination, or being an active member of a congregation. Spiritual knowledge requires time and effort on the part of the student. Christians need to become students of the Bible. Christians need to feed their minds with spiritual food or they will become spiritually deficient and incapable of common spiritual reasoning.
We have seen how Romans 3:21 through Romans 5:11 teaches us what God has done for us in terms of justification. We have also seen how Romans 5:12 through Romans 8:39 teaches us what God has accomplished in us in terms of righteousness. Today this very basic spiritual knowledge is almost completely unknown in Christianity. Without this basic knowledge Romans 12:1 through Romans 16:27, which teaches us the correct application of the doctrine taught in the first eight chapters of Romans, becomes almost unintelligible to the Christian. If you do not understand the basics of the internal combustion engine can you really be expected to function as a mechanic? In order to accurately apply knowledge you must, of necessity, first have the knowledge.
The first thing we need to realize about Romans 12 is that it follows the parenthesis of chapters 9, 10, and 11. These three chapters are addressed to Jews and Gentiles rather than the ekklesia that Paul is addressing in chapters three through eight. Therefore, when reading Romans you should go from 8:39 right to 12:1 to follow the context and flow of what is being taught to the ekklesia known as the Church of the Body.
I beseech you therefore,...
Or, "Therefore, I beseech you". The therefore ties together what was just said with what will follow. Because there is no condemnation for us (8:1), because we have been set free from the law of sin and death (8:2), because the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us (8:4), because the carnal mind is death (8;6), because to be spiritually minded is life and peace (8:6), because the carnal mind is the enemy of God (8:7), because you cannot please God in the flesh (8:8), because the spirit of God dwells in you (8:9), because your mortal body is quickened by His spirit in you (8:11), because you have spirit from God and can cry, Abba, Father, (8:15), because His spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God (8:16), because you are an heir of God (8:17), because you are a joint-heir with Christ (8:17), because God's glory shall be revealed in you (8:18), because our spirit within makes intercession for us (8:26), because that same spirit makes intercession for other believers according to the will of God (8:27), because all things work together for good to them that love God (8:28), because we are called according to His purpose (8:28), because we are conformed now and later to the image of His firstborn son (8:29), because God called you (8:30), because God justified you (8:30), because God glorified you (8:30), because God, with His firstborn, will freely give you all things (8:32), because no one can lay anything to the charge of God's elect (8:33), because you are God's elect (8:33), because Christ makes intercession for you (8:35), because you are super conquerors through him that loved you (8:37), because nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus (8:39), therefore stand along side of God by renewing your mind.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
"I beseech you" is parakaleo oun humas meaning, I am calling you alongside of me. Paul is asking us to stand where he is standing, and that is along side of God. "Present" is the Greek word paristemi which means to stand along side of. Christians are asked to stand along side of God!
To the average Christian this thought is inconceivable. But to the Christian who understands God has justified the believer and made him righteous in Christ, this thought is simply logical. And that is the word "reasonable". "Reasonable" is the Greek word logikos and could be translated reasonable or logical. It's logical for the believer of the doctrine of Romans to stand along side of God. Remember, we are seated in the heavenlies with Christ and he is at the right hand of God.
God has made us holy and acceptable. God has made it available to stand along side of Him day by day and situation by situation. If we are standing by His side, when He needs something done, we are right there to act, to carry out His will. But we won't be able to do this if we are controlled by the world and the commotions the world produces. We need to be conditioned by the Word not circumstance controlled by the world.
This will take effort. Effort in getting to know the Word, effort in putting the Word of God in our minds. Effort in controlling our minds when the turmoil of the world endeavors to shake the very foundations of Biblical Truth. Effort to resist the subtle urgings of the world to please receive all the pleasure it has to offer. The world does not like a non-conformist.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Every believer has a choice once they have believed the doctrine of Romans 1 through 8. A believer can either conform or be transformed. Conforming to the world will never keep you standing by God's side.
The Greek word translated conform is suschematizo and is defined as, "to conform one's self to another's pattern." A Scottish professor stated the following, "the root of suschematizo: is schema, which means the outward form that varies from year to year and from day to day. A man’s schema is not the same when he is seventeen as it is when he is seventy; it is not the same when he goes out to work as when he is dressed for dinner. It is continuously altering. So Paul says, “Don’t try to match your life to all the fashions of this world; don’t be like a chameleon which takes its color from its surroundings."
The believer can conform "to this world" or be transformed. One theologian had this to say concerning the use of the word conform in the context of Romans 12:2, it "means the society or system that man has built in order to make himself happy without God. It is a kingdom that is antagonistic to God. The god and prince of this world is Satan. All unconverted people are his subjects. He seeks to attract and hold people through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. The world has its own politics, art, music, religion, amusements, thought-patterns, and lifestyles, and it seeks to get everyone to conform to its culture and customs. It hates nonconformists..."
The Greek word for "world" is aion and generally means age, as in the song "Age of Aquarius".
1 John 5:19
We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one.
The world operates under certain thought patterns that do not line up with the Word of God. The world functions with the mindset of selfishness as in, take care of number one and God helps those who help themselves. The world functions with desire that is simply greed. You see it in the salaries paid to executives, people taking hand outs when they aren't needed, millions trying to become multi-millionaires without work or effort but through a lottery. The world talks of hook-ups that satisfy both parties when all it is really doing is using another person for your own ends or your own pleasure. The world sets standards for when a lie is good and profitable and justifiable verses simply being a lie and wrong.
To be carnally minded is death for anything done without the right way of believing is sin and the wages of sin is death. The schemes, and plans, and thoughts of the world stand in direct opposition and deliberate contradiction to the Word and will of God.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
This is the way of the world. Evil is called good and good is called evil. The world can and does justify whatever it decides to do, no matter the cost.
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
When salmon go to spawn they must swim against the flow of the river. Sometimes when they dive forward their dive is off and they land outside the river. Then they must fight to get back into the river to continue their journey. They must also avoid the bears and fishermen endeavoring to catch them and eat them. It takes all of their strength and all the determination they have within them, for if they fail there will be no more salmon.
After declaring all of the blessings and benefits of what God has done for us and in us, Paul asks the believer not to walk the way the world has declared to be the right way. Believers are asked not to conform to the world, not to go with the flow of the river. And yes, it takes strength and determination just like the salmon. But unlike the salmon, if we conform it will not be an end to a believer. For we have already seen that what God has created within us is His gift of holy spirit and it is permanent.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God has called believers to a higher purpose, a greater walk, a walk with Him. The thoughts and the ways of the world are not the thoughts and the ways of God. Those that say, or insinuate, that they are the same, are those who call evil good and good evil.
In the Greek world money was made of coins. The metal for the coins was heated and poured into a mould. When it cooled the rough edges were smoothed. But not all of the people who made the money were honest men. Some would shave the edges so that the coin no longer was the proper weight and in so doing these men made a little extra money for themselves. But there were others that acted with integrity and would only produce coins of the correct weight. These men of integrity were called dokimos, men of integrity, men that are approved and had honor. Believers are to be dokimos as we walk in this world. Believers are to have integrity and be honorable in our walks. The only way for a believer to be dokimos in his walk is to walk on the Word of God.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
If is a conditional clause in the indicative mood and therefore assumed to be an actual fact and should be translated "Since you are risen with Christ" and the word "with" is again the preposition sun meaning together with. Since we are raised with Christ we need to set our affections on things above rather than on earthly things. The word "affections" is the Greek word phroneo and should be translated thoughts.
As believers our thoughts are to be godly thoughts because His thoughts are higher than our thoughts or the thoughts of the world. And the only way a believer has to not conform to the world is to be transformed by the renewing of the mind. The renewed mind is the only way a believer can consistently manifest the potential power God has given to every one of His children in His gift of holy spirit.
We are not transforming the spirit as some would have us believe. The spirit God has created within the believer is perfect and needs no transforming. The spirit of man, otherwise known as the old man, or the natural man, or the carnal man cannot be transformed. We are not updating nor making the thoughts of the old man new and improved. The thoughts and mindset of the old man are beyond repair. We are looking to bring in a whole new mindset, clean house so to speak.
We are asked to transform our minds because until that point in time when we became a child of God the world has filled the mind with the logic and reasoning that is contrary to, and antagonistic to the heart and will of God. And even after we have received spirit from God the mindset of the world has been shoved down our throats by the world that engulfs us daily.
That which controls the mind, controls the person. If a believer will not control his mind with the words and thoughts of God, then the world will gladly take control for you.
We will not be transformed, we will not have a renewed mind by simply showing up for one hour a week to listen to someone speak or teach about the Word of God. The renewed mind is the believer's key to power. The renewed mind is the how of practicing what God has accomplished for every one of His children in our Lord Jesus Christ. The renewed mind is how we recognize our place along side of God and respond to that which He asks us to accomplish in our walk with Him.
When we were children our parents went out to work and paid the bills, and brought home food for us to eat, and basically saw to our every need, or at least tried. But there came a time when we moved on from living with our parents and we started paying our own bills, and providing our own food, and seeing to our own needs. Spiritually this same concept should take place in the life of a child of God. Physically we need to eat every day. Spiritual the same truth applies. Christians don't need to move into their churches so that they are fed regularly, as if the church has become a parent. Rather Christians need to begin feeding themselves, daily.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
We need physical food and we need spiritual food. God's Word is that spiritual food.
We have time for television. We have time for the internet. We have time for facebook. We have time for twitter. We have time to eat our physical food. We need to have time for God and His Word every single day. Yes, the world will call you a fanatic. It will call you a religious zealot. It will say you have gone overboard. It will say you think you are better than everyone else. Because the world calls evil good and good evil. The world becomes very unhappy with those who go against their flow. Like the salmon, it takes determination and commitment to achieve the goal of daily feeding yourself with God's Word.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Everyone has entered a dark room and bumped into something, or even tripped and fallen down while searching for the light switch. The Word of God is that light within our minds that can keep us from falling down and getting hurt.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,...
The Greek word translated "transformed" is metamorphoo. We get the word metamorphosis from this Greek word. The process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly is described by this word. It is a transformation from one thing to another thing. And as with the butterfly, it is a rather profound and drastic change. In the case of Romans 12 we are transformed from a person who lives according to the standard of the world, to a person who lives according to the standard of God. Consider the change in the religious man Saul who became the apostle Paul. It is the account of the world corrupting the Word of God. It is the world introducing a conformist belief system in place of the right way of believing.
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
The transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly takes place from the inside out. Notice that is the opposite of Adam's action with the fig leaves and the Pharisees actions of dressing up the outside of the package. The transformation for the believer begins with the mind, not with the actions. We only walk forth in newness of life after we start to renew the mind.
The word "renewing" is the Greek word anakainosis. Anakainosis is made up of two words, the preposition ana and the noun kainos. Ana means up and kainos is defined as “new as to form or quality, of different nature from what is contrasted as old." So "renewing" is comparable to a complete makeover, a renovation of how the mind views and thinks about everything the old man, or old nature taught it to think.
The world says revenge, the Word says forgiveness.
The world says use people, the Word says love.
The world says fear, the Word says trust God.
The world says greed, the Word says give.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ;
If a believer chooses to conform, this is what his mind can look like; vane, understanding darkened, alienated from God through ignorance, spiritually blind, calloused, unbridled lust (not simply referring to sex but to untamed desire), greedy. It is true that most people do not run fully and completely with the way of the world. Many have learned godly principles and godly ethics from others they have met in the world, beginning with the parents. But without roots in the Word of God there is no root to the godly principles they have copied. Then when the right pressure comes along, or the perfectly timed pleasure, their godly ethic is sacrificed to situation ethics. In other words, when push comes to shove, the ends justifies the means.
If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Putting on the new man takes work, it takes effort on the part of the individual. In order to completely renovate a portion of your home someone is going to have to put forth effort. It won't simply happen because you desire a new room. If we are going to put on the new man we have to go to the place that describes, defines, and details that new man. You can't put on new clothes if you only own rags!
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
The believer wants to minister grace unto those around him. In order to minister grace a believer needs to know the gospel of grace. Not the four gospels, not the gospel of the kingdom even though the grace of God is seen throughout His entire Word. There are glimpses of grace in every administration but there is only one administration that is named for the abundance of the grace God has bestowed.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
This is the look and feel of a renewed mind. It is a believer putting on the new man who is created in righteousness and true holiness. In the new man we have a whole new wardrobe. The rags are gone! God has given us the entire catalog!
We began this teaching by considering the mind's need for natural knowledge without which it is a mind that has been wasted. Many people in the world today have the spirit of God created within them, yet they have no knowledge of God. Whereas God is exceedingly thankful when a person becomes one of His children, how much greater would a person's life become if they also had a daily relationship and fellowship with their Heavenly Father? The true waste of a mind is when a person becomes a child of God but then acquires no spiritual knowledge or understanding.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The reason we renew the mind according to Romans 12 is. "that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." The word "that" is the Greek word eis which means, unto or toward. Eis can be viewed as the destination you intend to reach. The goal or destination of renewed mind is to prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. No one, in their right mind, wouldn't want to know the will of God. As His children, God wants all of the believers to know and understand His will. A good earthly father has an intense desire to fellowship with his children, how much more the Father of all fathers?
The word "prove" is the Greek word dokimazo and is the verb form of a word I mentioned earlier, dokimos. The dokimos is the man who produces genuine, authentic, correctly weighted coins for circulation. Dokimazo is examining a thing to insure that it is genuine and correct. The child of God wants to know the genuine will of God in each and every situation. The Critical Greek text has the words "will of God" immediately after the words "may prove".
In all of our daily situations and daily circumstances the believer wants to know the will of God. This begins with knowing the Word of God. In the fog and commotions of emotions the adversary of God endeavors to cover his manifested will and desire but the believer can dissipate the fog of the world with the Light of God's Word. We renew our minds so that we know the genuine, authentic, accurate will of God in every situation.
Renewed mind is not a one time event. It's a process that we must undertake if we are going to succeed spiritually. One step at a time. Verse by verse, thought by thought, principle by principle we build the heart of our Heavenly Father. Seeing Him clearly through the fog of the world and the smoke screens of religion. We strive to know Him who has created us in His image by His gift of holy spirit. We build who God has enabled us to be realizing our old man, with the assistance of the world, will fight for the dominance it once possessed in our hearts and lives.
The mind of a believer is a terrible thing to waste and it is wasted without the mind being fed spiritual knowledge so that it is renewed.
1 Corinthians 2:16
For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.