Hint: At its root, getting smarter isn’t about raw intelligence, or even thinking more clearly than you do now.
It’s about repairing and tuning the receiver in your brain to hear what the Creator of that brain is saying to you. After that, everything else you need to do is pretty much all lined up.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” —Romans 12:2
I’ve been focusing for some time now (about 3 years) on this verse.
It’s easy for me to look back over my life and think, Dude, you have really needed to get your mind renewed.
I think I was smart enough in the way people generally measure smartness.
But I wasn’t firing on all cylinders. I wasn’t making the connections. I wasn’t able to follow through.
I couldn’t stay focused.
I couldn’t let go and let my imagination work for me. Instead, my imagination, often as not, was a distraction that undermined whatever I was trying to accomplish at the time.
This went on for years.
Even when I was successful, I could tell I wasn’t as successful as I could have been, if…
So I definitely needed some serious retuning and repairing.
My mind needed renewing.
But does everyone need to get their mind renewed?
Do you need to get your mind renewed?
Not to make you feel bad or anything, but evidently so, at least through the eyes of this verse.
Here’s another one:
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” —1 John 1:8
First of all, notice the implication that pretty much all of us have sin (whatever that means).
Second, if we claim otherwise we are deceiving ourselves.
Here’s how I understand this, up to this point:
Whenever we’re wrong and don’t admit it, we are physically programming our brains. The self-deception becomes part of our permanent wiring.
Which, over time, makes it harder and harder to see where we’re wrong and easier and easier to rationalize our faulty thinking.
And every time we rationalize our faulty thinking, it’s another Gulliver thread hijacking our thoughts in a direction we really don’t want to go.
And these thoughts are not some ephemeral spirit thingy floating in abstract consciousness.
They are physical connections in our brain.
They effect our brain chemistry. They re-program the molecular structure of our brain cells. They have a profound effect on the entirety of our bodies.
Even the nicest, calmest, clearest-thinking folks among us are in need of serious mind-renewal. And, given the powerful toxic messages coming from all sides in this media-drenched world, even the most well-adjusted of us need powerful filters and (at least) occasional heavy maintenance just to stay even.
Answer: We all need to be renewed.
We all need for our brains to be rewired.
We all need our receivers tuned to hear God.
So how do we get started?