“For as he thinks within himself, so he is” Proverbs 23:7 (NASB)
One of the great scandals in today’s church is Christians without Christian minds. Every pew has a few – Christians who pray and worship as Christians, but don’t think as Christians. You may know one or you may be one. The symptoms are obvious. The Christian without a Christian mind only eats once a week, is happy to be spoon-fed whatever the pastor is dishing up, and has little to no appetite for spiritual growth. In essence, they leave their minds unguarded, undisciplined and unthinking. It’s a case of “anorexia religiosa” (Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind).
There are a number of reasons for this declining willingness to exercise the human brain. To begin, the Christian mind has developed a tendency to survive on fast food fads. Many Christians consider themselves too busy to study God’s Word for themselves. They want everything predigested and conveniently packaged. Although they won’t admit it they would rather be told what to think than be taught how to think. The result is a measure of shallowness and nervelessness unlike any prior period in the history of the church.
Another reason for the apathy between the ears is the choices that many Christians are making. If we are to have Christian minds there are things we must put out of our minds. As R. Kent Hughes says in his book, Disciplines of a Godly Man, “It is impossible for any Christian who spends the bulk of his evenings, month after month, week upon week, day in and day out watching the major TV networks or contemporary videos to have a Christian mind. This is always true of all Christians in every situation! A Biblical mental program cannot coexist with worldly programming.” Likewise, the renewing of the mind cannot coexist with some of the trivia and drivel we read, listen to, and laugh at. The psalmist would agree. Even though he never lived in the media age he said, “I will walk in my house with blameless heart. I will set before my eyes no vile thing” Psalm 101:2-3.
Now that’s not to say that Christians should become legalistic and forbid many of the things available for our viewing and listening pleasure. I’m simply pointing out that input determines output. As it says in Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (NASB).
That’s food for thought. A reminder that the mind is like the stomach. It’s what’s put in that counts. That’s why Philippians 4:8 provides a diet for the mind. It encourages us to feed on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
This can only happen when Christians are determined to stop conforming to the pattern of this world (cf. Romans 12:2) and immerse themselves continually in God’s Word. There are no shortcuts. To renew the mind you must intentionally feast on the bread of life.