Mao Zedong, the leader of China was wrong on so many levels, and the results were catastrophic. He was a Communist and an atheist, and his mistaken beliefs led to misguided behaviors that are now writ large across history. For example, in the 1950s Mao developed a belief that sparrows were a pest. In fact, he developed a “Four Pests Campaign” to rid China of sparrows, mosquitoes, rats and flies.
He believed that sparrows had to go because they ate grain from the farms. Thus, by killing the sparrows of China, he thought, would result in enough surplus food for 60,000 people. Mao initiated a campaign to kill sparrows—the little birds were shot, their nests were destroyed, their eggs were broken. Chinese Communists succeeded in killing about every sparrow in Chinese air space.
But Mao Zedong was wrong. He was operating on mistaken presuppositions. He did not realize that sparrows are natural predators to locusts. With the sparrows all gone, the locusts multiplied and devastated Chinese agriculture. It is estimated that more than 30 million Chinese died of malnourishment because of the ensuing locust invasion.
The point is that defective thinking always leads to destructive living. If people are mistaken in their beliefs, they will be misguided in their behavior. Faulty thinking leads to flawed habits, because what you think effects how you behave and how you live. The Bible says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). Paul admonishes us in Rom. 12:2 to undergo a thorough brain washing, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” and that we are to obtain “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).
Becoming a Christian involves not only giving Jesus your heart, but it also involves giving Him your mind. By studying God’s word, our thinking patterns are revamped and many of the false ideas that we’ve come to believe or absorbed from the world are debunked. A key part of that process is replacing the lies of the Enemy (John 8:44), with the truth of God (2 Cor. 10:4-6).
Just as a caterpillar undergoes the slow metamorphosis that transforms it into a butterfly, your mind is meant to undergo a steady, purposeful change as it is saturated and controlled by the Word of God. There are no shortcuts and no alternative paths. The one and only way your mind can be renewed is by the Spirit of God working through the Word of God.
Tim Challies writes in a challenging way, “Which direction is your mind changing: toward conformity to the world or toward transformation into God’s image? Which has more of an influence over your mind: the sports page or the Word of God? Where do you find yourself more often: sitting on the couch watching television or bowing on your knees in prayer over the Word? Over a lifetime of commitment to God’s Word, you gain new wisdom to replace old foolishness and godly desires to replace satanic longings. The sins that once fueled your imagination and motivated your actions begin to lose their power and are displaced by virtues that motivate good to others and bring glory to God. Your eyes stop their lusting because your mind is now filled with love; your mouth stops its cursing because your mind is now filled with joy; your hands stop their stealing because you are convinced you can be as content with little as with much. Such transformed lives begin with transformed minds, for your body always obeys your brain.” -DM
 Judith Shapiro, Mao’s War Against Nature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 86-89.
 Tim Challies, “Renew Your Mind,” 26 May 2017, <https://www.challies.com/articles/renew-your-mind/>