MINDING HIS BUSINESS
RENEWAL OF THE MIND:
Ephesians 4:23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind is the key to unlocking the secret of mind renewal, be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Often, our first response to considering this admonition is burdensome, as it creates a dilemma: how do I do this? What do I have to do to work this up? What about yesterday’s memories and events and tomorrow’s uncertainty?
However, when we look at the Greek, this is less of an admonition to do something else and more of an offer of a gift to have an action imparted. The word for renewed is in the present tense and means, go on being renewed, or be ye being renewed. It’s an action that happens in relationship, as it is also in the passive voice, which indicates it’s something that is done, not something that we do. This an action of Holy Spirit as He imparts the mind of the risen LORD to us as we yield to Him.
THE SPIRIT OF THE MIND:
Our ability to daily embrace the renewing power and presence of Holy Spirit comes as a gift of grace. We are not left as orphans or abandoned children to enact that which is impossible in the natural concerning transformation. God has given the ability to be assisted by Him, as we embrace His offering. When Paul talks about the spirit of the mind, he is addressing a Hebraic concept that was revealed to Moses, you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5). That Mosaic injunction resonated throughout the annals of time as Jesus echoed Moses with an additional addendum, the mind. Jesus said, God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Our spirit renewed/made alive plus our renewed mind are necessary for us to have real communion with God and learning to think and act as He thinks and acts.
Throughout Scripture the mind is seen as the seat of intellect. It is the volitional aspect of being a human. We must will ourselves to receive the Spirit’s inspiration and interpretation into our thought life. Having a renewed mind means we are allowing Holy Spirit to control our thinking, guiding what is put into us. This is something that is at enmity to our natural, fallen selves, as we like to be in control. Philippians 2:5 says, let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. That is an impossibility without mind renewal. Romans 12:1-2 says, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
I want to note for you that the Greek words for do not be conformed and be transformed are both in the passive. It’s something that is done for us as God assists us to accomplish what He desires to get done. We are not to let the world conform us to its values, ideas and attitudes. We are to allow the Spirit to transform us and renew us. This is only possible because of what happened to us when we became a believer. We put off the old man and put on the new. It’s us taking on an attitude and posture of surrender.
SURRENDERED AND RECLOTHED
Ephesians 4:13 expounds on what this means: till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. The term fullness means that with which something is filled, or the abundance of the container which is filled. To be a growing Christian is to consistently be filled with the Spirit, Christ’s Spirit, becoming more and more like Him each and every day. This means that no matter what happens around us daily, we are to be in a posture to open to the fullness of Christ to be made manifest in us and through us daily.
What this means is that you are offered a new mind for each new day you are alive. Each day is supposed to be a day that is lived in submission to Him, allowing Jesus to captivate us, and to assure us that we are His prized possession. He wants us to know that He delights in our submission, allowing our minds to be open to Him.
Lamentations 3:21-23 says, This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. 22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The prophet Jeremiah had sufficient reason to be bummed out and discouraged, despondent over what was happening in his life and his nation. Babylon had conquered Israel. No matter the condition, God’s mercy and kindness had not failed. His faithfulness had not been diminished.
Paul’s urging for us to take on the mind of the Spirit is part and parcel with this train of thought in Ephesians 4:30, and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Grieving simply means to have sorrow or mental distress that is caused by affliction or loss. The implication is that anyone who has suffered great loss understands affliction. We can cause God affliction by our actions or our reluctance to submit to Him and His ways. As difficult as that is to process, God can be grieved. λυπεῖτε (Root: λυπη, verb, present, active, imperative, second person, plural).
Genesis 6:6 says that God was grieved before the flood, And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. Anger over sin and grieving over the loss sin creates are two separate things. David records that God was grieved by the mumbling grumbling Israelites in the wilderness in Psalm 95:10, For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways Isaiah 53:3 tells us that Jesus would be a man acquainted with grief, He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Both Luke and John (Luke 19:41, John 11:35) express Jesus heart of sorrow as He wept over a grave and a city.
You cannot be filled with bitterness, anger, hatred and still be filled with the fullness of the Spirit. That’s why God repeatedly calls us to a place of renewal and restoration. It keeps the cisterns of our hearts cleansed, repaired and unplugged. If you are grieving Holy Spirit, let me give you a piece of advice: STOP IT! But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; so He turned Himself against them as an enemy, and He fought against them (Isaiah 63:10).
The language of grieving the Holy Spirit is derived from Isaiah 63:10, where it describes Israel’s rebellion. “With whom” could be “by whom” or “in whom,” but the wording at 1:13 implies that the Holy Spirit is our seal guaranteeing salvation, In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. This verse marks the incongruity of grieving the one who is proof we belong to God and are destined for his future salvation. Why live contrary to him whose ownership seal we wear and in violation of our destiny? Here eschatology is brought to bear on ethics, and once again the double focus on present (now) and future (not yet) is expressed. This verse stands in marked contrast with what is said of the devil in verse 27, nor give place to the devil. No room is to be permitted for the devil, but through the Spirit God is at work in us. The thought is that disobedience to any of these commands causes the Holy Spirit, who is in us, great and terrible sorrow and distress. The closest parallel may be that of a parent who suffers when a child commits a crime. It hurts God when we are hostile to one another.
We are also not supposed to quench Holy Spirit, Do not quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Again let me say that if you are quenching holy Spirit, STOP IT! Quenching is a bad deal, don’t do it. Quenching means stifling, or suppressing His work, resisting or halting His work in your life, exalting your will above God’s will for your life. It can be seen as tuning out the voice of the LORD, and tuning into channels fear, entertainment, greed… By definition, quenching means to extinguish or put out a fire. There is never a time or a place where we are to put out the fire of the LORD. God’s fire is intended to protect us, keep us warm and provide us with light/illumination.
When we stop quenching the Spirit we can expect wonderful things to begin to pop in our lives and ministries. Expect doors to open. Expect the peace of God to invade you. This is the work that the comforter longs to issue to you.
We are also called to walk in the Spirit, I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). The word walk is the equivalent of lifestyle. It implies progress and motion toward a goal instead of stagnating or working ourselves backward. You need to understand that our sinful nature is always in a combat mode that attempts to quench and grieve Holy Spirit. For some odd reason, it doesn’t seem to appreciate being daily crucified, put to death and having it’s carnal will subverted to the will of the LORD.
But the answer lie in what we are immersed into or baptized into. The term baptize comes from the fullers trade. It means taking that which was without color and making it colorful. It’s like tie-dying a shirt. That shirt was baptized. That’s what it means to filled with the Spirit. We display a different look or appearance by the grace gifts, by the fruit we produce, by our transformed lifestyles. As we are filled with Him, He affects our nature, allowing us to see correctly with new heart eyes. This infilling should be evident in how we live our lives. It should impact our families, us individually and our church. The point is, there must be evident change that comes from encountering Holy Spirit.
If we have grieved, quenched or hurt the heart of God or His people, we need to confess our fault and be healed.