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A “Renewed Mind” Is Essential
by Charles R. Swindoll
Romans 12:1–2
Let’s talk about some positive input on the correct mentality of a servant. Is it possible to think so much like Christ that our minds operate on a different plane than others around us? Not only is it possible—it’s essential!
The familiar words of Paul in Romans 12:1–2 need to be reviewed.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1–2)
At this point in his letter to the believers in Rome, Paul drops to his knees, as it were, and pleads. That means it’s important, perhaps one of the most important truths he would ever write. After urging us to present ourselves to God as living sacrifices, he adds a warning. Let’s read it this time as J. B. Phillips paraphrased it:
Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God remold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves toward the goal of true maturity (Romans 12:2 PHILLIPS).
Stop being squeezed in! Quit aping the system of thought that surrounds you, its line of reasoning, its method of operation, its style and techniques! How? By a radical transformation within. By a renewed thought pattern that demonstrates authentic godlikeness.
Living differently begins with thinking differently. A life that is characterized by serving others begins in a mind that is convinced of such a life. That explains why that great section of Scripture describing Christ’s willingness to take upon Himself the form of a servant begins with the words: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
Jesus’s life of serving was the outworking of His mind—“unsqueezed” by the world system in all its selfishness—and remains, forever, our example to follow.
For us to be true servants of God, our minds must be renewed.

Excerpted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, pages 79–80. Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers)

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