After studying the topic of joy for years, I’ve come to read Romans 12:2 NIV in a different light. It says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . .”
First thing I noticed was “the pattern of this world.” The world, in fact, does have a pattern. Psychology shows that there are patterns of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that empty people of joy and hope. This pattern is one of sin, hopelessness, and negativity.
One must ask, how do we break this pattern? How do we fall into the pattern of life God desires for us—the one of joy and hope?
The answer to this question was the second thing I noticed about Romans 12:2. This verse gives a clear answer for how we are to resist this pattern. “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . .”
Behavior change begins with the mind. This is what Romans 12:2 says and this is what the latest discoveries in psychology say.
Yet how do we practically renew our mind, so we can live in the pattern of life God designed for us?
That’s the subject of this Bible Plan.
To begin this Bible Plan, I’ll start with the answer 2 Cor. 10:4-5 presents on this matter. This is where we first see the language of “taking thoughts captive” for God.
One might feel uncomfortable with the war language used in this verse, but it’s actually a great metaphor for what’s happening in our minds.
The pattern of this world will try to present new evidence, arguments, and claims to work against our knowledge of God and the hope we have in him. If we take this evidence in, then the pattern of this world will only empty us of hope.
Instead, 2 Cor. 10:5 suggests we take every thought captive and make them obedient to Christ. This means, we must learn the ability to challenge our thoughts.
Without the reflex of challenging our thoughts, we’ll just take our observations of the world as truth. We’ll get new evidence, arguments, and claims to work against our hope, and we’ll take it in, assuming that our observations are correct.
Scripture is clear: our thoughts need to be challenged if we want to make them obedient to Christ.
Today, ask God to help you challenge thoughts that try to work against Him. Learn to ask, “is this true, or is this just a thought that hurts me?” In time, you’ll be able to identify the thoughts that attempt to stray you from hope in Christ.