Renewing Our Mind (Part 2)
Renewing Our Mind (Part 2) – Using the words of Jesus, employ mental exercises to help renew our mind and in that way become people who love more like the Father loves Jesus the Son of Man*.
Before proceeding, if you haven’t already, please read: Renewing Our Mind (Part 1)
John 8:31,32, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
We begin to look closely at the words of Jesus by devoting ourselves to the mental exercises of ‘Reading and Study’, ‘Memorization and Meditation’, and ‘Contemplation and Discussion’ of His words. ‘Repetition is the mother of all learning’, and it is a key to renewing our mind.
Looking closely at the words of Jesus in this manner will help us in several related ways.
It will help us to strengthen our “believe in Him whom He sent”.
“Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, … This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:27,29)
And it will help us to continue our cooperation with the Holy Spirit in the process of our sanctification and transformation into the image of Christ.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” (John 17:17-19)
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; …” (John 14:6)
Reading and Study Exercise
For an overview of all of the words of Jesus in the Bible, in context and in chronological order, please download “The Words of Jesus” MS Word document and read through it from beginning to end.
The version of His words used in this document are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible*. (Unless otherwise noted, the version of His words on this ‘The Words of Jesus Online’ website are taken from the NKJV* or NAS* Bibles.)
As you read through “The Words of Jesus” document take time to study it by referring to the Bible Study Tools website*, or some similar site. There is also a Quick Reference Bible Dictionary* on the Bible Study Tools site.
On this same site, using the New American Standard Bible*, you can select Red Letter, Cross References, Footnotes, and Strong’s Numbers, which can be helpful in these exercises.
Begin the ‘Reading and Study’ exercises by reading through “The Words of Jesus” document mentioned above from beginning to end.
Then read the section covering “The Last Supper”, on pages 47 – 52. Or, download the MS Word section of “The Last Supper” here.
Read the Gospel of John chapters 12 – 17
Read again the Gospel of John chapters 14 – 17
Read again the Gospel of John chapters 14 – 15
Read again John chapter 15 verses 1-12
Read again John chapter 15 verses 9-12
These last words of Jesus in the Gospel of John are to be read and reread for emphasis, because it is considered that Jesus may have intended His last words to be among the most important of His words to us. For example, Jesus gave us the all important New Commandment at the Last Supper.
John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
It is also thought that His last words may provide a kind of summary or conclusion of His message to us. Such guiding thoughts are to be held loosely, not rigidly or legalistically. The Holy Spirit can of course impress upon us any of Jesus’ words without us having such overriding thoughts or guidelines. However, when held lightly such guidelines can sometimes be helpful.
Keep in mind the central thought at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is that God loves everyone just as God the Father loves Jesus the Son of Man. And this means that God perceives us, i.e., thinks about us, and feels about us just as the Father perceives Jesus.
It is thought that all of the other words of Jesus, and all the other words in the Bible, might best be considered in the light of this love that God has for everyone.
John 15:9, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; … 12 … love one another, just as I have loved you.”
John 17:26, “… that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, … .”
All of our attitudes, thoughts, words, and actions might best originate from a mind filled with these words and from a heart inspired by these words.
Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:15, “Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind.”
1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action.”
Matthew 12:34, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
As you proceed with these exercises, spend time every day reading portions of “The Words of Jesus” document, and/or portions of the other scriptures referred to here in the Gospel of John. And keep in mind as you read to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”. (Colossians 3:16)
Memorization and Meditation Exercise
We know that all of the words of Jesus are important to us. However, for this exercise of ‘Memorization and Meditation’, we will focus on what may be His most important words.
First memorize: John 15:9,12, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; … … love one another, just as I have loved you.”
Second, memorize the following three verses:
John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
John 17:23, “… that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
John 17:26, “… that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
These five verses can be paraphrased, “Love yourself and one another just as the Father loves Jesus”.
Then memorize John 15 verses 1-12.
Next we consider that the New Commandment given by Jesus in John 13:34, takes the place of the second commandment in Matthew 22:39.
Based on that we can paraphrase Matthew 22:37-40:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love yourself and your neighbor just as the Father loves Me and as I have loved you. On these two commandments hang the Law, the Prophets, and all of My other commandments.”
From this, the very act of keeping these two commandments fulfills the requirement of keeping all the other commandments given by God in both Old and New Testaments.
In the process of memorizing these verses we are also to meditate upon them. By meditation is meant to slowly repeat these verses over and over again in our mind in a quiet and relaxed manner for a specified period of time. (Start with a few minutes, and gradually increase the length of time. And start with a few words, and do not give up, … you can do this!)
Keep in mind that meditation, although it can be considered work, is to be a fulfilling experience and not one that is overly difficult and uncomfortable.
Meditation on the words of Jesus in this way is meant to help us slow down and quiet our mind, as well as renew our mind, and increase our faith in all that Jesus said. As we meditate in this way, the Lord is more able to show us the meaning of His words.
When meditating on the words of Jesus we will often be distracted, which can be frustrating. When this occurs, slowly and gently turn away from the distraction as well as any discouragement that may enter in. Then, in a relaxed way, gently return attention to repeating His words.
There are many websites describing different forms of Christian meditation. Although some of these forms might be helpful in other exercises, they are not to be undertaken as part of the exercises in this topic. Also, it is advised to not enter into any form of meditation that encourages emptying our mind. Rather our objective should be to fill our mind with the words of Jesus.
It is hoped that by focusing on the words of Jesus in this way that we will gradually “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2) into people who more and more experience and then express God’s love for Jesus.
Finally, it is hoped that by learning how to love ourselves and others as the Father loves Jesus, that we “may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (John 17:23).
And in this way help fulfill The Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)
Contemplation and Discussion Exercise
As we proceed along the path of devoting ourselves to the mental exercises of ‘Reading and Study’, and ‘Memorization and Meditation’ on the words of Jesus, we are also to take additional time to ‘Contemplate and Discuss’ His words with others .
For example, think about and try to understand how a perfect Father would love a perfect, strong, obedient, self-sacrificing, humble, wise, and holy Son, and then discuss your thoughts with others.
These discussions might best take place in a safe circle of others (or with just one other) who are renewing their mind using these same exercises. Here are some guidelines for small group discussion:
1. The leader proposes a topic or question from these exercises which is to be discussed by the group.
2. Participants sit in a circle and can respond or pass when it is their turn.
3. Participants should limit sharing to 3-5 minutes. If this time is exceeded, then the leader may gently, and respectfully move the discussion to the next person.
4. There should be no cross talk. Cross talk is when two individuals engage in a dialogue excluding others. And each person should be allowed to express their thoughts without interruption.
5. Participants are to support one another, and not attempt to ‘fix’ one another.
6. When it is their turn participants may question or make positive comments toward another. The other, when it is their turn, may or may not respond to them.
Why does the Father love me just as He does Jesus?
Does the Father think and feel about me in just the same way that He thinks and feels about Jesus, the Son of Man?
In conclusion, once we have assurance of our salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, we are to “work out [complete] your salvation” (Philippians 2:12). And in this topic we help this process by ‘Reading and Study’, ‘Memorization and Meditation’, and ‘Contemplation and Discussion’ of “The Words of Jesus”, and in this way work to “believe in Him whom He sent”.
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (John 6:29)
Also, consider reading other topics on this ‘The Words of Jesus Online’ website.
|* Holman Christian Standard Bible|
|* NKJV Bible|
|* NAS Bible|
|* Bible Study Tools|
|* Quick Reference Bible Dictionary|
|* New American Standard Bible|
|* Jesus the Son of Man|
|Abide in Me, and I in You|
|The Love of Others Redefined|
|Other Websites Relevant to this Topic|
|Google Search: A father’s love for his son|
|Is it Christian to Meditate?|
|Be Transformed by the Renewing of your Mind|
Last updated: February 29, 2016 at 11:23 am ET USA