Sometimes it takes a while to mess up your life. Sometimes you can do it pretty quickly. And the odd thing about it is how terribly hard it is to turn it around, and how often we make the same mistakes over and over again. There is a reason for that, you know. It is not just our lives that get messed up, it is our minds.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
What is he talking about here? What is the deterioration of the mind that has to be renewed? You go through life blissfully unaware that you are the object of an ongoing campaign for your mind. The TV sitcoms that you watch…the producers of these sitcoms are not merely trying to entertain you, they are trying to change your mind. I have felt for a long time that television has had far more to do with the change in attitudes in this country than anything the government has ever done. We forget that this is a government of the people and that the government is us. Whoever gets access to our mind and changes our mind is really the one in power. So from situation comedies on television, to novels, to movies—to people like me—we are all trying to change your mind.
And in the midst of all this clamor for your attention and for your mind, there is an great evil persona we call the Devil, and a terrible destructive principle that the Bible calls sin. These also are engaged in a battle for your mind. This may seem strange to you, but by far the most destructive influence in your mind is sin. Take the devil out of the picture. Get rid of the slavering jaws of evil and just leave man and the world around him. Will wine taste just as good without the devil? Will the little buzz you get from a few beers feel just as good without the devil? Sure it will. Will your neighbor’s wife be just as attractive without the devil? Will sex be just as much fun? Sure it will.
What sin does is change your standards. Sneak in your neighbor’s back door and commit adultery with his wife, and the process starts. You got away with it. Nothing terrible happened. You didn’t get caught. But then you have to lie about it. And when you start lying, your standards of right and wrong are rearranged. One thing leads to another, and corruption sets in. Sin messes up the head, big time. So when Paul says
be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, he is speaking quite literally. There is a process called conversion. Some think it takes place in an instant, but it doesn’t. It is a life-long process, and it starts with baptism…