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Grace to Change (Part 2)

 

 

Summary

Change is necessary for growth, and if we have been born again our own lives should demonstrate transformation. Others should be able to look at us and notice some type of difference or alternate route taken as a result of our Christian walk. Effective change is based on God’s Word, not self-will or self-improvement efforts. It requires a decision on our part to begin doing things differently. When we yield to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and begin thinking in line with Him, our lives begin changing radically. Letting God direct and guide us as we change is similar to the metamorphosis a caterpillar undergoes in becoming a butterfly. When we cooperate with Christ in this process, our lives will be totally different and unrecognizable from what they were previously.

  1. When we decide to change, God empowers us to do so spiritually and physically.
    1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith (Romans 12:1-3).
      1. We should consider our bodies living temples for God, and use them according to His will and to glorify Him.
    2. I appeal to you therefore, brethren,  and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service  and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God,  even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you] (Romans 12:1, 2, AMPC).
      1. This affects the choices we make in life, including where we go, what we do, and with whom we associate.
      2. God is not only concerned with our minds being saved, but also our bodies.
      3. Holy means to be set apart, aligned with the Word, and one with God.
      4. To understand how God wants us to see our bodies, we must change our minds. We are no longer to do what the world says.
      5. Change is a metamorphosis; it is a process or a series of events.
      6. Change begins on the inside, not externally. It requires making a quality decision.
      7. …Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord(Joshua 24:15).
      8. …I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live(Deuteronomy 30:19).
      9. God will always honor our choices because He made us free moral agents.
  1. Depending on the Word to change us causes powerful and permanent results.
    1. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
      1. The Word is alive, and it can bring about change in us that natural means cannot.
    2. For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12, AMPC).
      1. God’s Word has the power to change our lives. It can make us righteous and bring us to the realization that we are accepted in the beloved.
      2. The Word will find us wherever we go. We cannot run away or hide from God; He will continually pursue us.
      3. The Word points out areas of our lives that need changing.
    3. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17).
      1. The Holy Spirit will confirm God’s Word with no contradictions. The Spirit is part of the Holy Trinity.
    4. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His  very own image in ever increasing splendor  and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17, 18, AMPC).
      1. Jesus came to free us from inequality, not simply to free us so we could return to bondage.
      2. God’s will is to include all of us and give everyone, not just some people, access to Him.
      3. In order for us not to forget who we are, we must continually look into the Bible like a mirror to see our reflection.
      4. We must ask ourselves if we are reflecting God’s image in the world.
      5. Change comes in a believer’s life by grace, through faith.
  1. We block change in ourselves when we focus on others instead of God’s Word.
    1. For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise(2 Corinthians 10:12).
      1. We cannot change if we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. We must look at the Word, not other people.
      2. We must get out of ourselves and learn what God is calling us to do.
    2. Not that we [have the audacity to] venture to class or [even to] compare ourselves with some who exalt  and furnish testimonials for themselves! However, when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding  and behave unwisely(2 Corinthians 10:12, AMPC).
      1. Comparing ourselves to others belittles what God is trying to do in our lives. We all have our own unique calling.
      2. God wants to manifest Himself through us.
    3. In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth…Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering (Colossians 3:7, 8, 12).
      1. Sanctification and holiness is a two-part process; it is a putting on and also a taking off.
    4. But now put away  and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses  and slander, and foulmouthed abuse  and shameful utterances from your lips! Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed  and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it. [In this new creation all distinctions vanish.] There is no room for  and there can be neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, [nor difference between nations whether alien] barbarians or Scythians [who are the most savage of all], nor slave or free man; but Christ is all and in all [everything and everywhere, to all men, without distinction of person]. Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified  and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity  and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper]. Be gentle  and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]. And above all these [put on] love  and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]. And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always] (Colossians 3:8-15, AMPC).
      1. When we begin to see each other in the image in which God made us, our language will begin to change.
      2. The reason the children of Israel could not go into the land of milk and honey was because they could not see what God was trying to do in their lives. They saw themselves as grasshoppers, and little in their own eyes.
      3. When we see ourselves as we really are our minds will change, and our behavior toward others will also change.

Scripture References

Romans 12:1-3

Romans 12:1, 2, AMPC

Joshua 24:15

Deuteronomy 30:19

Hebrews 4:12

Hebrews 4:12, AMPC

2 Corinthians 3:17

2 Corinthians 3:17, 18, AMPC

2 Corinthians 10:12

2 Corinthians 10:12, AMPC

Colossians 3:7, 8, 12

Colossians 3:8-15, AMPC