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Grace to Change (Part 4)

 

 

Summary

Change can be interpreted on more than one level. It can be seen as undergoing a transition, experiencing a transformation, or becoming something different. We can experience God’s best through the process of change, similar to how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly. Change is not always easy but, looking back over the process after we go through it, we realize how much better our lives are and how much stronger we are than before the process began. It may be uncomfortable or even painful, but God is always with us when we undergo trials or persecution. One significant change from the old to the new covenant is that, before, the Holy Spirit descended on people; now, He actually lives inside us. As a result, we now can undergo change from the inside out instead of from the outside in.

  1. God sees us differently than we see ourselves. Each of us has unique qualities.
    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 (Romans 12:1, 2).
      1. God sees our bodies differently than the way we saw them before we were born again. We must change our minds about our bodies being His temple, and about how we treat those temples.
      2. God wants us to use our bodies as living sacrifices.
      3. God blessed us with intelligence; seeing our bodies as temples to God also includes serving Him intelligently.
      4. We must be able to live in the world without being a part of it. This means having a mindset that is not so “heavenly” that we are useless here on earth.
      5. We must adapt to God’s way of doing things, not the world’s way.
      6. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).
    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. The abundant life is measured in quantity as well as quality. God wants to give us a life that overflows with abundance.
      2. God has already made provisions for everything we need through the abundant life in Christ.
      3. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
      4. The enemy wants to rob us of the decisive, abundant life that Jesus came to give us.
      5. It is wonderful to know that we are holy and acceptable to God. In the Old Testament, the people had to qualify to be acceptable to Him.
    3. Regardless of the flaws we see in ourselves, God has made each of us with unique qualities no one else has.
      1. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well…How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee(Psalm 139:14, 17, 18).
      2. I will confess  and praise You  for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well…How precious  and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! (Psalm 139:14, 17, AMPC).
  1. God, Himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit, lives in us and teaches us all things.
    1. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:25, 26).
      1. We have the teacher of all things living inside of us, a built-in tutor who instructs us in everything we need to know.
      2. We are students of the Comforter. There are things the Holy Spirit wants to teach us and bring to our remembrance.
    2. I have told you these things while I am still with you. But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you (John 14:25, 26, AMPC).
      1. All these names that describe the Holy Spirit are things we have on the inside of us.
      2. The Spirit helps us move forward when we are weak and scared.
      3. He represents us to the Father and pleads on our behalf.
    3. Our soul is our mind, our thoughts, and our feelings. When we get born again and receive the mind of Christ, we receive His thoughts, His feelings, and His will.
      1. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
      2. For who has known  or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide  and instruct Him  and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart (1 Corinthians 2:16, AMPC).
  1. Renewing our minds is the process of bringing our minds into agreement with God’s.
    1. When we receive the mind of Christ, we are but one-third perfect. The other two-thirds of us still need to be renewed.
      1. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away (1 Corinthians 13:9, 10).
      2. For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded) (1 Corinthians 13:9, 10, AMPC).
    2. But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded (James 4:6-8).
      1. If we think thoughts contrary to those thoughts God gives us, we are double-minded. As we renew our minds, they will gradually become attuned to and in harmony with God’s mind.
      2. Our spirit minds and our physical minds are two separate entities within us.
    3. So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. [Recognize that you are] sinners, get your soiled hands clean; [realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery] (James 4:7, 8, AMPC).
      1. The enemy simply wants to remind us of our faults and bring to mind our past mistakes, like he did with Adam and Eve. He wants us to question God’s will for our lives.
      2. When we stand firm against the enemy, he does not have the strength to take authority over our lives. He will be forced to run away in fear.
  1. Our physical minds are unstable; therefore we must learn to use our spirit minds.
    1. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord (James 1:5-7).
      1. If we waver between our spiritual and physical minds, and let doubt creep in, we are double-minded.
      2. Double-mindedness halts change in our lives.
    2. Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither  and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable  and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides] (James 1:6-8, AMPC).
      1. We must allow the Word of God to settle any wavering in our minds.
      2. We are accepted and we are the righteousness of God, whether we feel it at the moment or not. Feelings change and they are fickle; we are not to let them dictate who we are.
      3. When our physical minds finally agree with our spirit minds, we receive revelation knowledge from God. We are empowered and enabled to get results in the physical realm.
      4. Double-mindedness causes instability, but single-mindedness brings stability.
    3. When we are in Christ we have the Word of God, the power that brought everything into being, inside of us.
      1. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things (1 John 2:20).
      2. But you have been anointed by [you hold a sacred appointment from, you have been given an unction from] the Holy One, and you all know [the Truth]  or you know all things (1 John 2:20, AMPC).

Scripture References

Romans 12:1, 2

Matthew 6:33

Romans 12:1, 2, AMPC

John 10:10

Psalm 139:14, 17, 18

Psalm 139:14, 17, AMPC

John 14:25, 26

John 14:25, 26, AMPC

1 Corinthians 2:16

1 Corinthians 2:16, AMPC

1 Corinthians 13:9, 10

1 Corinthians 13:9, 10, AMPC

James 4:6-8

James 4:7, 8, AMPC

James 1:5-7

James 1:6-8, AMPC

1 John 2:20

1 John 2:20, AMPC