Thinking about thinking (Renovation of the Heart chapter 6)

How can we change? The NAACP used to have a commercial that ended with a simple slogan: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” In Christianity, a mind is a terrible thing to disregard as unimportant. In fact, ignoring the mind results in deformities that are often hidden. Often, we do not even realize the depth at which we need to change and the result is that we waste our minds by failing to engage in spiritual transformation. We must begin transformation by engaging the mind.
Willard says our thoughts must experience transformation. He defines thought as “all the ways in which we are conscious of things.” He says the realm of thought in centered in four main areas:
Ideas – the way we think about and interpret life. Willard says ideas are difficult to pin down and control. Therefore, it is difficult to recognize which ideas are really governing our lives. One of the important tasks is to identify the ideas of this world that are governing our age and have found their way into our lives.
Images – specific symbols or pictures in the mind that carry with them certain ideas. Images are incredibly powerful. Willard uses the idea of self image and says this image can “override everything else and cause one to act in ways contrary to all reality and good sense.” You and I carry pictures in our heads. These pictures radically influence our lives. Pictures of self, success, sex, the good life, and happiness are constantly influencing us.
Information – a properly informed mind is not a problem, but an asset to transformation. The problem occurs when we fail to have the information and corresponding knowledge that comes with it. Willard says, “Failure to know what God is really like and what His law requires destroys the soul, ruins society, and leads people to eternal ruin.”
Ability to think – the ability to search out what is true and not true.

Yet, as I look over what Willard says about the transformation of the mind, I immediately notice something. Most Christians are not prepared to engage in transformation at this level. They really don’t think much about their thinking. They don’t consider what ideas might be leading them toward deformation rather than transformation. They do not filter the images of this world out of their minds, in fact, they often invite them in. They don’t know much and don’t care that they don’t know much. And, as a result of this, they do not evaluate truth and falsehood as well as they should.
So, a few questions to chew on:
What are the ideas of these times? Do you agree with them? Why?

What are the pictures in your mind that influence you? Are they pictures that lead to transformation or deformation?

What kind of information are you taking in and how is it influencing what you think on and how you think?

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