But don’t most of us, as we enter a new year, want to improve ourselves, to make some needed changes, and to free ourselves from negative behaviors?
How can we accomplish this? Our failed resolutions, whether New Year’s or otherwise, remind us that fundamental change in ourselves is often hard to make. The world we live in exerts enormous pressures upon us to conform to its ways and to fall in line with its behaviors, which often include such things as selfishness, greed, false pride, vanity, idol worship and hostility toward others.
The Apostle Paul offers this wise counsel: “Do not conform any longer 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)
One important way to try to renew our minds is by regular, deliberate, focused attention to the written word of God. By patient, persistent reading, study, reflection upon and prayerful contemplation of the Bible, by careful, thoughtful, listening to good preaching and teaching, we may pursue what Paul described as “the mind of Christ,” (I Corinthians 2:16) and in the process experience an ongoing renewing of our minds.
Christianity is an intelligible religion which emphasizes the importance of the mind. When asked which of the commandments is greatest, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Mark 12:28:34)
I would like in 2013 to become in every respect a better person, for the sake of my family, my friends, my neighbors, my country, my world and myself. I’ll bet you would, too. Shall we do as Paul recommends?