During an argument over politics several years ago, someone dismissed my convictions with the remark, “Well, your faith informs your thinking.” The implication was that I let my pastor dictate how I vote. Never mind that no pastor I’ve ever had would do such a thing. Apparently my Christian convictions rendered me incapable of thinking for myself.
In reality, the person arguing with me was heavily influenced by academia and liberal media. Her world told her what thoughts were acceptable and what thoughts should be rejected. I could have easily countered that her social circles informed her thinking.
Does anyone really think for herself? Maybe to a point, but outside influences always shape our thinking. We just need to decide whether we want those influences to come from a worldview that rebels against God’s values and purposes or whether we want those influences to come from the Word of God.
Paul taught clearly that Christians must not retain the world’s values and attitudes.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~~Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot remain influenced by a world that actively hates Him. Our allegiance belongs exclusively to Him because He purchased us with His blood (1 Corinthians 7:23). Instead, we must follow His influence out of a commitment to honor Him.
That phrase, “be transformed by the renewal of your mind,” demonstrates that how we think matters to the Lord. He commands that we renew our minds in order that we rightly discern how to please Him.
So how do we renew our minds?
We don’t blindly follow pastors or popular teachers, assuming that everything they tell us perfectly aligns with Scripture. As a young Christian, I made some serious mistakes by doing whatever pastors and elders told me to do. Had I held their counsel up against God’s Word, I might have seen the folly of their advice.
No, renewing our minds happens as we study God’s Word and allow it to redirect our thoughts. Certainly, we should listen to pastors and teachers who develop a reputation of properly handling the Bible. When possible, we should join churches that actively teach and preach the Word accurately, seeking counsel from men and women who make Scripture thoughts standard.
But our source for renewing our minds first and foremost has to be God’s Word. We read it trusting that it shows us Who God is. Its pages reveal what He loves, what He hates and how He commands us to conduct ourselves as His children.
The more we read God’s Word, the more the Holy Spirit transforms us into women who think like the Lord.
I want God’s Word to inform every aspect of my thinking — from my political positions to how I clothe myself. If my pastors, their wives or other mature men and women in the faith can help me understand His Word more accurately on a given topic, I welcome their input. But I will not feel shame for having a mind that’s informed by the Word of God.