Focal Passage: Romans 12:1-5, 9-13
The technical name for a brain freeze is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. This occurs when cold hits the receptors in the outer covering of the brain. The cold creates a dilation and contraction of arteries, causing the pain.
Romans 12 leads us to consider a different kind of brain freeze. According to the first two verses in this chapter a Christ-follower’s transformation hinges upon the renewing of the mind.
Stagnation in sanctification can occur when a believer isn’t regularly renewing their mind.
The result of this brain freeze isn’t a headache, but a heartache. Have you become discouraged due to the lack of spiritual growth in your life? Let’s explore what it means to renew your mind as a remedy for this spiritual sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia.
The Greek word for “renewing” is anakainsis (an-ak-ah’-ee-no-sis). Another English word that could be used here is “renovation.”
HGTV has made us all too familiar with this concept. Home renovation is essentially out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new in the real-estate realm. This is why our spiritual transformation is tied to renewal in our minds.
Affections, passions and pursuits that were developed in our minds before we knew Jesus are constantly thrust at us by our culture. If we aren’t living in a constant state of renovation we can get bogged down by this “cultural clutter.”
Titus 3:5 is the only other place in the New Testament that the Greek word for renewal is found. This passage should provide us insight into the process of renewal.
The last part of the text says, “By the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” Ray Wilkins writes this about renewal in our lesson, “This is the work of the Holy Spirit as He reorients us away from the self and toward Christ.” The work of renewal is accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
Let’s connect the dots. How does the Holy Spirit specifically renew our minds? I encourage you to read Ephesians 4:20-30. There is a lot of information in this passage, but I want to point out a couple of realities relevant to our study on the Holy Spirit’s ministry of renewing our minds.
Reality No. 1 — Christian’s are not passive participants in the renewal process. We are to be actively living out the different ways we’ve been made new. Notice how this works with the thief in Ephesians 4:28. It’s not just that he no longer steals after he is saved, but he works honestly to make a living and shares what he earns with those who are in need.
Making good on the biblical commands to be generous and meeting the needs of others is one of the ways the Holy Spirit renews the mind of this redeemed robber. Through his obedience to the Word, the pattern of pilfering is broken by a new way of thinking about possessions. Actively obeying God’s Word opens up our lives to the Holy Spirit’s work of renewal.
Reality No. 2 — The Holy Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). If we don’t do our part, the Holy Spirit’s work of renewal will be stifled and the sinful patterns we once involved ourselves in will continue to make a home in our mind. B&R