Do not conform 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 (NIV)
Often in the past when I've heard this scripture quoted, preachers/Christians referenced a weird mash-up of rules and actions. They speak of those "in the world" who possess a political ideology, listen to certain music, dress a particular way, go out to nightclubs, drink, play the lottery or any number of things that don't align with their interpretation of God's will.
And it always rubbed me the wrong way because it exuded self-righteousness.
Scripture warns us against other worldly patterns that we easily take upon, including fear/anxiety, fear mongering, judgment, hatred, gossip, negative speak, jealousy, ego, grudges/revenge tactics, foolish arguments, busyness, prejudice, greed, etc. These things are detrimental and adversely affect the mind in lasting ways.
So what things should we fill our minds with on a daily basis? Look at these words Paul also penned:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
Patterns are difficult to break and sometimes we don't even recognize it because we were "raised that way" or it's all we've known. Take a few moments each day to check-in with yourself. Are you thinking about the good things? Or are you allowing worldly thoughts to shape your actions? The pattern of fear that constantly plays out on our TVs, in our newspapers and down our social media timelines is pervasive, but you must be vigilant!
It’s sometimes easier to see and judge the outward actions and tangible things and quickly categorize them, but evaluating the inner transformation is critical too.
How do you protect your mind from dangerous thought patterns of fear and worry?