For the past ten years or more, I’ve often referred to myself as a Recovering Fundamentalist. I’ve gone through a process of unlearning many things that I was taught growing up in a completely fundamentalist environment: Christian school, Christian church, Christian college. I don’t necessarily regret this upbringing, but it does come with some unfortunate baggage.
One of the main threads of my devotional life, particularly in the past five years, is not only learning more of what the Word of God says. It’s been learning what the Bible doesn’t say.
As the Greek philosopher Antisthenes said, “The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue.”
When one is as immersed in the Christian culture, it’s easy to pick up habits and ideas that are in no way based on scripture. But somehow, they become part of our faith.
One of the primary examples can be found in Romans 12:2. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Many of us have heard this verse literally hundreds of times. But let’s take a moment and intentionally notice what this verse does not say.
It doesn’t say be transformed by your circumstances. Circumstances change, are often outside of our control, and many times actively work against us.
It doesn’t say be transformed by your choices. We are all flawed human beings, and likely make poor choices every day.
It doesn’t say be transformed by the things you do, the actions you take. Actions are only products of other elements at work within us.
It doesn’t even say be transformed by the way you feel. Which brings us to one of the most prevalent fallacies of our era: That emotions are a proper gauge for the Truth. They are not. Emotions are often quite misleading. The heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). The way we feel can lead us astray. Sadly, this is true of many church’s penchant for appealing to emotion.
What it does say is that we should be transformed—changed—by the renewing of your mind. In other words, by the Way. You. Think.
Why this emphasis? Why place this importance on the mind above other things? Why is our thinking the vehicle by which we are transformed?
Because when our thoughts are properly aligned, everything else falls into place. When we know the Truth, the lies fall away. Lies that may have been driving our actions, our circumstances, and especially our emotions.
But “mind” isn’t the only operative word here. It says, “the renewing of your mind.” Our minds must be changed. Our minds must be made new. We must lay down the old, harmful thoughts, and take up the new ones.
We must unlearn what is untrue. And we must learn—or be reminded of—the Truth. Because if you change the way a person thinks, you change the person.
This is hopefully the start of a journey for you and I, together. Here you’ve seen two big themes that will come up again and again over the coming weeks and months: Learning what the Bible doesn’t say. And seeking the Truth.
I hope you’ll come with me on this journey, as we all draw closer to the Truth. After all, the Truth is really a Person. And ultimately, it’s by knowing Him that we are eternally changed.
As the Word of God says in Isaiah 1:19: “Come, let us reason together.”
Photo by Cristofer Jeschke