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What changes when we surrender our hearts to Jesus? Certainly, not our outward appearance, our income or the people in our families or at work. On the outside, we look the same. So, what changes?
The Bible says, "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
The salvation experience is an intensely spiritual encounter. Because we are spirit, our lives are transformed from the very core. The Spirit of God does a transformation that isn’t visible to the human eye. The change is instantaneous, and heaven rejoices that we have come home. Luke 15:7
Our minds and the outward expression of this change, however, is a different kettle of fish. We are still in the flesh, living in a fallen world with sinful influences. There is a constant battle between our spirit and our flesh (Galatians 5:17).
The more we give in to the flesh the more our lives stay the same. The more we yield to the Spirit the more we begin to look like Christ. It is important to note that we cannot and do not change our ways first before we come to Christ. Hard as we try we do not have the power to do that and if God required that no one would be saved.
Paul, however, instructs us to renew our minds.
"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." Romans 12:2
Paul knew that it takes a sincere desire to want to obey God to resist the lure of the world, hence his admonition to not copy the ways of the world. The same temptations we experienced in the past will come our way as new creations in Jesus Christ. We will face the same hardships, deal with the same emotions and circumstances. What makes the difference is our sincere desire to please God. Our desire, fueled by God's grace and love makes real change possible.
Philippians 2:13 says, ‘For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.’
But how do we carry out Paul's instruction to renew our minds in the practical sense?
It’s all in the word. God’s Word empowers us and enables us to go all the way in our pursuit of Him.
Our job is to study and apply the Word. It is our weapon against everything that comes against us; whether sickness, fear or evil thoughts. God’s Word is the standard by which we measure our lives and conform to His will.
Here’s how God’s word changes us.
"Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path." Psa 119:105
We don’t stumble in darkness anymore. We have the light. We follow His word, walk in his steps and are empowered to become more like Christ.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12
We don’t wonder anymore if we’re right or wrong. When we fill out hearts with God’s word, we know when we fall short and ask for the grace to get up when we fall.
“...to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God's word.” Ephesians 5:26
God’s desire for us is to be Holy before Him. His word cleanses our minds and hearts. The more we study and apply God’s word the more we become like Him.
“For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.” James 1:23 NLT
When we surrendered our heart to Jesus, we were instantly translated from darkness to light. He gave us a new identity. However, we need to acquaint ourselves with this new life continually. That’s what happens when we study the word. We see ourselves for who we now are. But we must be careful to live out the word for true and lasting change to occur.
“So, get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” James 1:21
We can win the battle against sin by humbly accepting God’s word into our lives. It has the power to renew us each day.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16
The journey to renewing our minds is a daily one. The word of God sheds light on every difficult situation. When we’re battling with what is right or wrong, all we have to do is look to the word.
We renew your minds by studying and living out God’s word. Ask Him to guide you as you delve into the word. Use resources that are available to you. Do not let the word depart out of your lips. Meditate on it day and night. Joshua 1:8.
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Remi Roy lives, writes and enjoys being in Dallas, Texas. Originally from Nigeria, she is passionate about her purpose which is following God every step of the way no matter the details. She is a contented wife, communications consultant and writing coach. She is the author of two books Ms. Unlikely and From the Sidelines and editor of Purpose Anthologies, a collection of personal life journeys. When she’s not working with clients, she spends time working on her next book and trying hard to be a morning person. You can find her at remiroyonline.com. Or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.