We are talking about the Apostle Paul.
When Paul talks about the renewing of the mind, he’s not talking about a theory, a process that wasn’t personal, or a complex set of processes to undertake. Paul sees the importance from his own dramatic change from devout zealot to the fulfillment of the Jewish scriptures. A journey that would take him far and wide.
Paul who was named originally Saul was a devout Jewish boy from the tribe of Benjamin. He had done well in learning the first five books of the old testament by heart as all good first century Jewish boys did. Why not, they didn’t have tv, sport or social media and play stations.
Saul did so well in this field that he was chosen to graduate to the next phase that was more elite. Boys that learnt the first five books well went on, those that did not, learnt a trade, usually their dad’s trade. But being a cut above Paul went on to the next phase in which he had to learn the rest of the books of the Jewish scriptures. An impressive feat! Furthermore, he must have impressed probably the most well known of the Jewish Rabbi’s the great theologian Gamaliel. To impress Gamaliel enough that he chose Saul to be a student, and him a Rabbi, to Saul shows he knew his stuff. By the time Saul was twenty he had the equivalent of two Masters in today's language. This guy was no slouch and took Judaism very seriously.
When the stories of Jesus Resurrection and followers started to surface this would have been red rag to a bull for Saul. This was a direct heresy to be challenged in his eyes and he pursued it with gusto. He stood by whilst people stoned one of Jesus closest followers. Saul went on the rampage to stamp out this Jewish knock off religion.
That was until he met the risen Saviour.
Though it’s debated, roughly between 18 months and three years after the ascension of Christ, Saul travelling to Damascus from Jerusalem with written warrants to arrest anyone he finds that proclaims Christ, he’s met with Jesus on the road.
Whatever this encounter took on, it made Paul start a journey of reevaluating everything he had ever learnt. I do not believe Paul converted, I think he found the completion of the Jewish scriptures, and Paul himself would say he was still a devout Jew.
So, Paul had good reason to know firsthand what it meant to sit and think very carefully through and meditate on God’s word and allow the Holy Spirit to undertake the transformational work.
He is probably the best poster boy for renewal of the mind.
Paul at the end of his years was able to say I fought the good fight, I ran the race well, and that leaves us with the question - What race have you been called to and are you spiritually fit for it?
What do you want to say when you are in your end game? Paul’s example gives us a life lived out and a completion to be proud of. When we ask ourselves, what Paul has brought to Christianity, it is undeniably one of the biggest contributions outside of Jesus himself. Lets be fair, Paul was locked away in prison writing letters for most of that, but he did continue to serve even there and this is why we have these letters today wrapped up and bound along with the memorized Jewish scriptures he would have learnt.
So ask yourself, and have an answer for, what do you want to be able to say about the race, the fight God has called you to in your life.