Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mind Metamorphosis

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Do not conform to worldliness (the world's evil and corruption). Do not be molded by the values of this world. But be transformed by the renewing of your mind. The Greek word for "transform" is metamorphoĆ³ (meaning "to change form") from which the word "metamorphosis" derives. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, metamorphosis is "a major change in the appearance or character of someone or something." For example, a fuzzy, crawling caterpillar is transformed into a graceful, flying butterfly. Metamorphosis provides a wonderful illustration of the amazing spiritual transformation in a believer's life. A good example is Paul who wrote more than half the books in the New Testament. He used to be Saul who persecuted Christians. After encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul was completely changed and became an effective & enthusiastic evangelist.

Spiritual transformation begins in the mind and heart (inwardly, not outwardly) and continues throughout our lives. We are gradually changed into the likeness of Christ as we spend time in intimate fellowship with Him. Our mind (thoughts and will) must be renewed by God's Word/God's truth and guided by the Holy Spirit to be able to discover/understand that God's will is indeed good (it is good for our spiritual growth), pleasing (to God, not necessarily to us), and perfect (no improvement is needed). Mind metamorphosis is a prerequisite to being fruitful in every good work and growing spiritually. To know God more & more and to understand His heart/will, we must spend much time with Him in prayer and in His Word. There are no shortcuts! "This kind of transformation can occur only as the Holy Spirit changes our thinking through consistent study and meditation of Scripture. The renewed mind is one saturated with and controlled by the Word of God." (John MacArthur) It is only through God's Word that we can understand what God's will is and resist the pull of our own flesh, the Enemy, and the world. Seeing our circumstances, trials, tasks, identity as our Heavenly Father sees them changes our attitudes and actions. Think right thoughts. Think God's thoughts.

"Without the renewed mind, we will distort the Scriptures to avoid their radical commands for self-denial, and love, and purity, and supreme satisfaction in Christ alone." (John Piper)
Sad but true, we have seen people, including those who appear to be "active" Christians distort the Scriptures to justify their sins, to serve their own agendas, and even to commit crimes. Satan knows the Scriptures. Most atheists know the Scriptures. Pharisees and false teachers know the Scriptures. What do they all have in common? The lack of the renewed mind (and transformed heart)!

The difference between worldliness and godliness is a renewed mind." (Erwin W. Lutzer)
Without the renewed mind, the world continues to have a hold on you. Self is still on the throne of your heart. Love is still conditional and selfish. Purity is only for nuns and monks. Supreme satisfaction in Christ alone...no way. However, the Scriptures are clear about denying self (Mark 8:34-36), sacrificial love (1 John 3:16), purity (1 Timothy 4:12), and the spiritual satisfaction which can only be found in Christ alone (John 4:10, 13-14). This quote from St. Augustine comes to mind: "If you believe what you like in the Gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself."

We're a new creation in Christ. We no longer think the way our old self thinks or the way the world thinks; we embrace the mind and the attitudes of Christ. Our old way of thinking and living has gone, being replaced with the new way of thinking and living according to God's Word.

"Conformity to the world, in all ages, has proved the ruin of the church!" (Rowland Hill)
We live in a culture that bombards us with non-Biblical messages. We really need to spend much time in prayer and in God's Word to transform the way we think. 
Worldly pleasures are enticing and deceiving. We must prayerfully guard ourselves and our children. We must teach our children that God's Word is the final authority for our faith and practice and teach them to be like the Bereans (look up what God says about any given thing). 

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Farewell, vain world; my soul bids you adieu.
My Savior taught me to abandon you.
Your charms may gratify a sensual mind,
but cannot please a soul for God designed.
          ~David Brainerd

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" Matthew 16:24-26a

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:15-17

Prayer: Lord, please mold me and make me be more like You every day. Please renew my mind to reflect Your mind/Your thoughts/Your will. Please give me the strength to remain steadfast in faith and in pursuit of holiness. Please protect my children, my husband, and me from the enemy's lies, the world's lures, and the fleshly desires. Please empower my children to resist the negative peer pressure and immorality of the society in which we live and hold true to the values they learn from Your Word. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen! 

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