Whether we grew up in the church or embraced faith later on in life, one of the disciplines that we learn early in our Christian walk is to memorize Scripture verses. Usually, we start with well known verses such as John 3:16, Proverbs 3:5-6, Matthew 6:33 and Romans 3:23. By memorizing these sacred truths we commit them to memory, so that we can quote them verbatim when we need to. Many of them eventually become a part of our Christian vocabulary.
Like many Christians, I have stocked my mind with treasures of divine truth, which have been a source of comfort, encouragement and inspiration. During the stormy periods in my life, memorized Scriptures have been the life-lines that have anchored my hope to God. For example, when I received news of my brother’s brutal murder some time ago, Isaiah 26:3 blanketed my mind and soothed my grief as I often whispered: “You will keep me in perfect peace, because my mind is stayed on You, because I trust in You.” At other times, Scripture verses have been the source of much contentment and joy, reminding me of God’s love, precious promises and blessings. Memorizing Scriptures is like stocking the shelves of our minds. However, while many of us have been stocking our minds, the biblical instruction is for us to renew our minds, hence Romans 12:2 instructs us: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Memorizing stores God’s word in our minds, but it does not automatically renew our minds.
Mind renewing is a process that requires more than just filing away verses in our memories. It involves us actively replacing lies with God’s infallible truths; revamping worldly beliefs, values and standards; repairing faulty reasoning and refreshing our minds with His word. It includes memorizing, meditating, reflecting on the meaning and finding personal application of Scripture. It is our responsibility. God does not control our minds. Renewing our minds with the Scriptures helps us to adopt God’s perspective, and allows it to shape our lives. The following poem by an unknown author aptly summarizes how our minds or thoughts influence our lives.
Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
God has a destiny for each of us which will ultimately be influenced by our thoughts, good or bad. Proverbs 23:4 says: “as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Renewing our minds is not a suggestion; it is a biblical prescription. The Holy Spirit has already implanted His nature in us. As we memorize Scripture, actively meditate on the truths and apply them to our lives, the Holy Spirit has access to do the supernatural work of transformation. The goal of transformation is for the character of Christ to be formed in us, seen in us and experienced through us. So, let us move beyond memorization to renewing our minds. That way, we can reflect the character of Christ and fulfill our God-given destinies!