Painting, Path Leading through Tall Grass by Renoir 1877

Well-worn paths

Every preacher has a favourite verse or theme that they slip into every message. Mine is probably Romans 12:2, “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (NLT).

Time and time again, I come back to the idea that a large part of the process of transformation of discipleship lies in changing the way we think. We need to move away from broken systems of thinking and behaving and allow the Spirit to transform us inwardly by a total reformation of how we think. The NIV calls these broken systems “the pattern of this world”, and I think that captures something of the neurobiological reality of who we are as persons: a lot of our being in the world is shaped by patterns of thinking. These are habitual thought processes, ingrained stories that we tell ourselves, ones we picked up from our family of origin, formed as a result of experience, and repeated again, and again, and again.

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