My personal experience in guiding individuals through spiritual growth reveals a common disconnect between the development of one’s mind with spiritual disciplines, heart attitudes, and overall behavior. For some, it seems they do not see the crucial role the mind plays in the process.
The early founders of the church believed those who follow Christ should be broadly skilled in and beyond the teachings of Scripture and the church in order to achieve a complete search for truth (Gyertson, 2006). This approach to spiritual growth was fueled by the conviction that all things that are true begin with, and are sustained by, Christ (Gyertson, 2006) who is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn. 14:6). In other words, all truth comes from God himself, and the pursuit of truth, whether in Scripture, in life, or in the natural laws of God’s creation. John Milton, writer of the epic poem Paradise Lost, wrote in his treatise Of Education the goal of learning is to repair the ruins of our first parents [Adam and Eve] by knowing God and, out of that knowledge, to love Him, imitate Him, and be like Him (Milton, 1644). Milton’s sentiment is in line with Paul’s writings where he exhorts the Romans to resist conforming to the world but seek out a transformation through the renewing of the mind in order to test and approve the will of God (Romans 12.2).
It is important that spiritual growth begins with a change of the mind. In order to develop spiritual disciplines, change our hearts’ attitudes, and modify our choices in behavior, our minds have to come into alignment with God’s word and the truth found in the world he created.
What obstacles stand in the way of Christ followers embracing the renewing of their minds?
Gyertson, D. J. (2006). Heads First, Hearts Fast and Hands Outstretched: A Personal Theological Journey into Whole Person Discipleship. A Journal of the International Christian Community for Teacher Education, vol. 2(iss. 1), pp. 1–9.
Milton, J. (1644). Of Education. Kypros Press.