We need always to keep in mind two things about this transformation.
First , It is a process. It does not happen all at once. We " are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory. We must "work out", and keep on working out, our salvation with fear and trembling. We must "make every effort We must submit, and keep on submitting, to God. Over and over and over we must "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" 2 Cor Near the end of his life Paul did not consider that he had arrived Phil 3: Some of the passages do sound as if they speak of an instantaneous transformation.
We can understand those passages in this way. The change in our spirit comes about immediately. But it usually takes quite a while for that change to be reflected in our soul and flesh. Also, God's time is not the same as ours. A thousand years are as a moment in his sight. After Eli told Saul "the Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and given it Second, we and God cooperate to bring it about. We cannot do it ourselves. And God will not usually do it without our cooperation.
In this, as in so many aspects of our spiritual life, we and God are co-laborers. We work and God works. One aspect of the transformation we seek is called showing the fruit of the spirit. An orchardist cannot cause fruit to grow; he can create conditions favorable to its growth and protect it from parasites, diseases and other forces that seek to destroy it. In somewhat the same way, we cannot cause God's character to grow within us; only God can do that.
But we can create favorable conditions for its growth - by faith, prayer, study of the word, etc. What is our part in this labor?
Let me suggest some aspects of it. We need to believe that God can and will transform us into his image, that this astonishing metamorphosis can and will occur. We need to consider him faithful who has made the promise Heb We must "believe and not doubt"; if we do not believe that God will do this, or if we are double-minded in our belief, we cannot expect to receive anything from God Jas 1: We must make an act of the will.
We must choose to be transformed, choose to put off the old self and put on the new self, choose to live by the Spirit, choose to submit to God, choose to be weapons of righteousness, etc. God, through Moses, told the Israelites, "See, I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
God gives us that same choice today. The agent that renews our mind is the word of God. We need both the logos , or general word of God recorded in his Scriptures, and the rhema word specifically tailored to our personal situation and needs.
Jesus said "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth" John James tells us to "receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls" Jas 1: Paul says, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" Col 3: He says that it is by Scripture that the man of God is "thoroughly equipped for every good work" 2 Tim 3: Jesus says "This is eternal life: But it is also as we spend time in his word that he sometimes gives us those moments of revelation of himself that are so necessary.
Paul prayed that God would give us "the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that [we] may know him better", and that the "eyes of [our] heart may be enlightened" Eph 1: The best way to achieve this is to spend time in God's word. Note that it is not enough just to read the word. We need to let it dwell in us, work in us, become engrafted in us, become a part of us.. Scripture speaks often about the importance of meditating on the word of God Josh 1: The Hebrew word for meditate suggests a cow chewing its cud, working the material over and over to extract all the good from it. If we would be transformed by the renewing of our mind, be made new in the attitude of our mind, we need to guard carefully what goes into our mind.
We need to think on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, etc.
Even more important, we need to guard against our own wrong thoughts, the thoughts that come from the flesh and not the spirit. We need, to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" 2 Cor We need to do this, not just daily, but moment by moment. The same principle applies to any other quality we lack. And Jesus told us "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" Mat 7: The form of the verbs means "keep on asking", "keep on seeking", "keep on knocking".
When we keep asking God to change us into his likeness, we unite our will with his and make it possible for him to co-labor with us. Jesus told his disciples "that they should always pray and not give up" Luke We are to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us" Heb We must "show this same diligence to the very end in order to make your hope sure" Heb 6: Scripture is full of words telling us to apply ourselves diligently to the task before us.
We are to "pursue", "make every effort", "press on", "continue", "stand", etc. The promises of God do not usually drop in our laps. They come to the one who persists, presses in, keeps on keeping on. There is an enemy who does not want us to succeed. His purpose is to "steal, kill and destroy" John If he cannot prevent us from being saved, he will try to keep us ineffective. He does not want us to take on the image of God for two reasons: So he will do everything possible to distract, discourage and defeat.
We are dealing with spiritual warfare here. The Spirit and the sinful nature "are in conflict with each other" Gal 5: Within our body sin is at war against God's law Rom 7: The image of putting off our old self and putting on the new may sound as easy as taking off one coat and putting on another, but there is an enemy who will resist it stubbornly every step of the way.
The primary battleground is the mind. It is the mind that God wants renewed and it is in our mind that the enemy most often attacks us.
Hence the paramount importance of feeding our minds on Scripture, praise and communion with God, and of learning to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Jesus Christ. We fight the enemy, not in our strength, but in God's. The weapons we fight with have "divine power" 2 Cor Jesus has given us "authority If we recognize the enemy's work, submit ourselves to God, and stand firmly against the enemy, he will not succeed.
If we fail to recognize the enemy, fail to submit ourselves to God or do not take a stand against the enemy, we may allow him to obstruct or defeat the transformation we seek. We need to keep hold of the vision, to keep our eyes on the promise God has given that we can be transformed into his likeness.
We need to focus on the unseen promise, and not on what we perceive in the natural as our shortcomings or the seeming slowness of any progress. We need to keep reminding ourselves that "with God all things are possible" Mat Let us, then, push aside all sense of discouragement or failure, "throw off everything that hinders" Heb We become "a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come" 2 Cor 5: It is almost as if we become a new species.
Scripture speaks of the "first Adam" who was earthly and fell into sin, and the "second Adam" Jesus Christ who was sinless and holy Rom 5: We are "made new in the attitude of your minds" Eph 4: We "put off your old self" and "put on the new self" Eph 4: We "live by the Spirit" and not by the flesh Gal 5: We become "instruments of righteousness" rather than "instruments of wickedness" Rom 6: We have "been buried with him through baptism into death" in order that "we may live a new life" Rom 6: We have "been set free from sin and have become slaves to God" Rom 6: We are no longer "slaves to sin, which leads to death", but have become "slaves to Our citizenship and our allegiance has been changed.
We have become adopted sons of God John 1: We are "born again" John 3: Bible Verses About Change. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,.
And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." And he said to We are not to be conformed to this age, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. That is what God promises when he makes all things new. Grant found new life in Jesus Christ when he took part in a Project Philip Bible study after he As he came to understand God's Word, it transformed his life.
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Be strong and courageous. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.