Path to transformation

nyc-251976_640Jeremiah 26:3: It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds.

Repentance is the path to change and it is not just something you do to become a Christian but also something you need to do after, on an ongoing basis. That is what Paul referred to when he said we need to be renewed in the spirit of our mind (Ephesians 4:23), that we should be transformed by the renewal of our mind (Romans 12:1-2). We need to change in our mind for us to be really changed.

Some people want to make you feel guilty to change you. It doesn’t work. It breeds resentment. Any attempt to manipulate behaviour change through manipulating the emotion never works on the long run. It did not even work with God.

God set up the law in the Old Testament, a set of dos and don’ts. Paul said that the law never helped (Romans 3:20). The principle of sin that is ingrained in man does not allow for things like manipulation of emotion to yield lasting result. It may serve as a temporary remedy but it does not deal with inner issue of sin in man.

The mind needs to be retrained, and that is called repentance, but being taken on a guilt trip does not accomplish much. The only appeal that works is the appeal of the love of God manifested in the coming of Jesus. Love is the gateway to change. Faith (the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen) itself works through love.

Nothing is worth anything if not motivated by love. Paul wrote that it is saying the truth in love that we are built up into the image of the son of God (Ephesians 4:15), nothing else works for the change need of the Christian. That is the one who is the author and finisher of our faith to whom we should look (Hebrews 12:1-2) and as we look at him we are transformed into the same image from glory to glory (2Corinthians 3:18). Christ is the motivation, becoming like him is the goal. That motivation connects with us at the heart level because of the height of perfection that he represents.

He is the perfect man. He is the perfection powerful enough to draw us to himself. He said: If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me (John 12:32). He releases his grace to us that change may be smooth for us. Change cannot be by force it has to be by choice and that choice is made possible by grace.

That is why the bible says that by grace we are saved (the ultimate change) through faith (Ephesians 2:8). The change is already in Christ, through the way he has made possible by going to the cross, through the way he made (through the veil [Hebrews 10:19-23], which was torn when his flesh was torn and the blood flowed) to the presence of God.

He made it possible for the presence of God to come into us to change us inside out (Matthew 12:33). Therefore appeal for change should be focused on how the life of God in us can flow out more effectively. It is not forced change, it is change based on the template of Christ, and the manifestation of life of God.

A list of commandments and demands only breeds death, and not life (2Corinthians 3:6). Of the Pharisees it was said that they lay ever more burden of rules on the people crushing them under its weight (Matthew 23:1-4).

It is not in you to change yourself, it is not even in anybody to change you because change requires a work that goes deeper than the conscious mind; it is also a long-term objective, and the Holy Spirit is key in this.

Jesus spent a lot of time with the disciples; three years. And with all his anointing, miracles and many speeches, the disciples only expressed minimal change in their mental disposition.

But Jesus after his resurrection said: they should receive the Holy Spirit. That really made the difference. It is the Holy Spirit who makes the difference in the final analysis. He has the ability to reach deep into us and cause change. He is described as wind (John 3:1-21). You see his movement, you see his effect, but you do not see him.

When Jesus was explaining what it means to be born again to Nicodemus, he said it is to be born of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the change in us, as we yield to his work in us, as he moves us (Romans 8:14).

Nothing moves unless he moves it, nothing works except he works it. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of power (2Timothy 1:6-7). And it takes power to make things work, in view of the satanic opposition to the work of God on the earth, and the many years of entrenched satanic interest. But nothing can withstand the influence of the Holy Spirit.

He works well with those who believe. Since he is the Spirit of glory (1Peter 4:14), when Jesus said that if we believe we will see the glory of God (John 11:40) (a description of change), it was a reference his operation.

The bible says in reference to the manifestation of the sons of God that we do not know how we should pray as we ought but the Spirit helps our infirmity by praying with groaning that cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26-28). The Holy Spirit has a special role to play in the area of prayer. And with God prayer is the way things change.

James wrote that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous makes tremendous power available, great in its working (James 5:16). We have prayer as our mandate and the Holy Spirit as the medium, while the name of Jesus is the access as we come to the father. We cannot be spiritual change agents when we neglect prayer. That only shows that we believe in our strength and power to cause us change, ignoring the words of the bible that it is not by power nor by might but by the Spirit of the Lord (Zechariah 4:6), and in prayer we engage the Holy Spirit, especially as we pray in the spirit, speaking in unknown tongues (1Corinthians 14:14-15).

The Holy Spirit is not only the spirit of power, and of glory, but also the spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:29). Grace stands for the divine ability working in us (Hebrews 4:16). We need help daily to live right, to be right, and because of that Jesus came to manifest grace to us and that by the Holy Spirit.

 

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