Finding Joy in the Lord
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
The answer to emotional problems is renewing the mind. That is where transformation takes place. For most of us, we just want to change the way we feel. But that’s the pattern of the world. God has a different goal in mind. And that is a renewed mind, one that is able to test and approve what God’s will is.
For most of us, our thinking is filled with worldly ideas. We have unrealistic expectations about life. We think everyone is going to like us, or that our kids will never get into trouble, or that life will always treat us fair.
And then on top of that, we look to the things of the world for happiness or meaning and purpose to life. We call those misplaced dependencies. We look to money, or relationships, or our jobs. But none of these can touch the deepest areas of our hearts or fulfill our deepest needs.
When life doesn’t go as expected, or the things of the world let us down, our worldly thinking will trigger a whole host of negative emotions and unhealthy actions. Usually, the first response is fear. Out of that fear, we try to change our circumstances to meet our expectations or control those things we are depending upon.
When circumstances don’t cooperate with our expectations, the next emotion is anger. And that can spiral down to self-pity. And if left unchecked, self-pity will spiral down to depression and despair. But it all began with worldly thinking.
God wants to change your thinking by replacing unrealistic expectations with truth, and anchoring your mind to the only one who is worthy of your dependence, Jesus Christ. Renewed thinking moves you down another path when life throws trials and tribulations your way. Instead of reacting with fear, you respond with faith, a faith that gives thanks in all things.
God doesn’t want to numb your mind. What He wants for you is a renewed mind. As believers in Christ, every one of us is in the process of allowing God to renew our minds. As Romans 12:2 states, we are to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind”.
A renewed mind embraces truth. Truth that anchors you to all that Jesus Christ accomplished for you through his death, burial and resurrection. Your hope is secure, Christ himself lives in you, your sins have been forgiven, and you have been declared righteous in the sight of God. All of those things allow you to experience joy regardless of what life throws at you.
Life will throw things your way. When it does, you don’t need to react with fear. God wants to change your mind from a worldly way of thinking to a godly way of thinking. Because the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, you have the mind of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 2:16). By His grace, you can actually think about the things of life through his perspective, rather than your limited human perspective.
When we find ourselves in an emotional pit, we will do almost anything to feel better. If that is you today, recognize that God’s goal for you is renewed thinking. Let him transform you by giving you his perspective on the circumstances of your life. With renewed thinking, you will be able to see that his will for you is good and pleasing to you.
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