Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Spiritual Transformers

There are three things in this verse that strike me: conforming to the pattern of the world, renewing your mind, and knowing God's will. Let's unpack this a bit.

What is the pattern of this world? The world is God's. He created it. But, the world is fallen and we are sinful by nature. We come out selfish. Nobody has to teach a baby to be greedy and selfish. They figure it out on their own. And pretty, darn early too! We, as parents, DO have to teach our kids how to share and be self-less. Our minds are by nature self-worshiping. The world is by nature against God. If left unchecked, Galatians 5:19-21 describes some of what happens when you walk according to the world. It calls it "the flesh".
19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
At first glance, it's easy to read the list and think "Well, I'm not that bad. I guess I'm OK." But if you are honest with yourself and if you see things as God sees them, we are all in trouble. Did you see the last part of the verse? "will not inherit the kingdom of God"? God is so holy. To him hating someone is the same as murder, having lustful thoughts is the same as committing adultery (see Matthew 5). So we are all in trouble without a Savior. But how do we not do these things? That's where the renewing of the mind comes in. Because our minds are bent to do what is wrong, we need to continually be training it, or renewing it, to do what is right. It's an ongoing process, daily, hourly. And it doesn't happen on our own power. That would be selfish again to think that we could do it on our own. We need God's power through the Holy Spirit to lead us. If you back up in Galatians 5 to verses 16-17 we read...

16But I say,walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratifyAE)"> the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
To be transformed we need to walk by the Spirit. What does that look like? Keep reading in Galatians, verses 22-24.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control;against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
So it is the Spirit who helps us not conform to this world by transforming us into Christ-likeness through the renewing of our mind by showing us God's truth in scripture.

"Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is..." We always choose our greatest desires. Do I want chocolate or strawberry? Should I sleep in or get up and read my Bible? Should I help my husband or keep watching my show? When we are walking according to the flesh our will or our desires don't line up with God's. Once we get into God's Word and He transforms us, we start to see things the way God sees them and our will will be the same as God's will. Our greatest desire will change and will be the same as God's. And His will is good, and pleasing, and perfect. What used to, drink, sarcasm, yelling, laziness, sleep, jealousy, envy, etc....won't satisfy anymore. Only God will satisfy.

Lord, help me to fight against the desires of my flesh. Give me the strength to do and choose what You are showing me is right. Continue to transform me so I look more like the fruit of the Spirit-love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.


Daniel Patz said...

Thanks Heidi for sharing with us from these verses. Nice blog!

Donna said...

Love the book of Romans! Go to and look at R12 Living by Chip Ingram - great resources!