It’s been a while since I shared a post with you. Truthfully, it’s been a season of transition and transformation. Its been an interesting, painful, joyous, and life-changing experience and I would like to share with you the journey to total transformation. Going forward, many of my blog posts will focus on transformation, especially, the transformation of the mind.
Many of the times we are told that we should be transformed by the renewal of our minds. Depending on how this is communicated to us, it may seem as though it is a simple process that happens quite suddenly. However, this is not the case. The longer I serve God and study His Word, the more I understand and accept the pain that comes with transformation. I am then led to count it all joy. Yes, I said it. The renewal of the Mind is a painful and slow process. Put these words together and you get that the transformation of the mind is a painfully slow process.
My friends, transformation is not merely a change of morals, group affiliation, or belief system—but a change at the very core of the way you receive, hear, and pass on each moment. Transformation, the mystery we’re examining, more often happens not when something new begins but when something old falls apart and away. The pain of something old falling apart—chaos—invites the soul to listen at a deeper level. It invites and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place because the old place is falling apart. Whatever it is, it does not feel good and it does not feel like God. You will do anything to keep the old thing from falling apart. This is when you need patience, guidance, and the courage to let go instead of tightening your controls and certitudes. Perhaps Jesus is describing this phenomenon when he says, “It is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it” . Jesus knows how much letting go it takes to “treat others as you would like them to treat you”
Transformation usually includes a disconcerting reorientation. Change can either help you to find new meaning, or it can cause you to shut down and become bitter. This difference is determined by the quality of your inner life, what I like to call your “spirituality.” Spiritual transformation is an actual process of letting go; allowing yourself to live in a confusing dark space for a while, and then allowing yourself to be spit up on a new and unexpected shore.
If only spiritual transformation were that easy; just read a book, see a coach, attend a conference, make a fresh commitment, resolve to be different, shed a few tears at an altar, memorize a few verses…and, presto, out comes a mature, godly Christian. To the contrary, the experience of many looks like this:
|1.||Commit. Fail. Confess.|
|2.||Re-commit. Fail again. Confess again.|
|3.||Re-re-commit. Fail again. Give up.|
After all the struggle and the effort, we tend to want a “quick fix” — a book, a conference, a coach, an encounter, a miraculous deliverance, a program — something that will be effective and preferably pain-free. We want God (or someone else) to do something to us or for us, for a once-for-all victory so that we won’t have to keep wrestling with the same old issues.
One of the greatest revelations of my life was that I can choose my thoughts and think things on purpose. In other words, I don’t have to just think about whatever falls into my mind. This was a life-changing revelation for me because as I think in my heart, so am I. I like to say it like this: Where my mind goes, my body follows.
Let me share an example: Justin decided to give His life to Jesus two months ago. He does all the right things but he is still struggling with anger. He says, “I can’t stop my outbursts. I get really irritated at the way people treat me. Every day I pray to God, but everyday people still make me angry.” He also confided that he is constantly struggling with lustful thoughts.
Harry, 67 years old, has been a Christian all his adult life. He grew up with a father who verbally abused him. “I can still hear my father saying-you’ll never amount to anything! You’re good for nothing!” And the damage still hangs on even though Harry is now a grandfather and loves God.
The struggles may not be identical, but many Christians are caught up in major battles in their mind. As Christians, we are told that the old way of thinking has gone, the new has come, but where reality hits the road-we fall short- especially in our thought life. Unfortunately, the old way of thinking has not gone away. Many of us still struggle with temptations in our mind, bitterness, depression, fear, hopelessness, frustrations, problems, and putting it bluntly-evil thoughts. To be a successful Christian means to follow Jesus, to obey His teachings, to love others, to grow spiritually. But this battle still rages in the mind.
God’s solution to this battle is not simply to pray more. Prayer is important but we need to do more than pray. So when you pray, “Oh God, renew my mind,” you are acting much like a child that says, “Mom, do my homework for me.” Most responsible parents would say, “No!”
When it comes to renewing your mind, God will do His part, but not your part.
In my own walk with God, I have discovered some helpful principles about how the renewal of the mind takes place.
If you would like to learn more, join me next week where I will share with you some helpful principles on how transformation takes place. Let me share a snippet…Deep, lasting renewal of the mind is a process. It rarely happens overnight. It involves training, testing, and time. There are no shortcuts. We hear of people being dramatically delivered from drug or alcohol addiction, and we may wonder, “Why doesn’t God do that for me? Why do I have to struggle with this food addiction, with lust, worry, and fear, with an unbridled tongue?”
Till next time, take care, be safe and God strengthen you.