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We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.—2 Corinthians 3:181
By opening our lives to God in Christ, we become new creatures. This experience, which Jesus spoke of as the new birth, is essential if we are to be transformed nonconformists... Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit.—Martin Luther King Jr.
This new life is a gift of God performed by a miraculous transformation of our lives when we accept His truth in the love of His Son, Jesus, by the work of God’s Spirit. All we have to do is receive Him. Our new life is only by grace, never by works, or confession sessions, or battling in the flesh with our sins. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”2 If God can’t do it, nobody can!
Jesus called it being “born again” of His Spirit,3 and Paul called it the new birth in which “old things are passed away and all things are become new.”4 It is often such a remarkable transformation and actual personality change that God’s Word likens it to the death and burial of the old and a resurrection of the new to an entirely newlife and way of living. “For as many of us as were baptized (spiritually) into Jesus were ... buried with Him unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead ... even so should we walk in newness of life.”5—David Brandt Berg
To fulfill the high calling which God has placed upon us in creating us and redeeming us, we must have the right inner substance or character. We must come to grips with who we really are, inside and out. For we will do what we are. So we will need to become the kind of people who routinely and easily walk in the goodness and power of Jesus, our Master. For this, a process of “spiritual formation”—really, transformation—is required. Spiritual formation for the Christian is a Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self—our “spiritual” side—in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself. In the degree to which such a spiritual transformation to inner Christlikeness is successful, the outer life of the individual will become a natural expression or outflow of the character and teachings of Jesus. We will simply “walk the walk,” as we say.—Dallas Willard
Putting on the new self
And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.—Colossians 3:106
It can be very daunting and discouraging to be at the bottom of a mountain spiritually, looking up at the goal of what the Lord is asking of you, and knowing that it's going to take some real climbing and sacrificing to make it to the top. There are risks involved and a lot of forsaking—forsaking your pride, your own ways of doing things. It also takes honesty and confession. It takes real effort, and it’s difficult to put forth the consistent effort required to fight to walk in His newness of life, to make a conscious effort to change bad habits, to almost force yourself to walk in humility. Most of the time I'd venture to say you don't feel the strength to make it when you're looking up at what the Lord has asked of you or pointed out to you.
Perhaps you've been weakened through worldly influences or compromise, and you don't know if you have the strength or the willpower to make the lasting changes you know are needed to bring your life into conformity to the image of Christ.7 Or maybe you're lazy spiritually and don't feel like stirring yourself up. Maybe you feel buried in condemnation and reminders of all the other times you've tried to get the victory in some area, and you feel disheartened because you still have some of those same problems—maybe to a lesser degree, but nonetheless, you still have them. You might feel that if you cut out ungodly influences in your life, your life would become too "restricted," and you just don't see how you could ever be happy. The Enemy might try to convince you that these things aren't really something you should try to overcome—they're just a part of "you" and your unique personality.
Let me tell you, the Enemy will do anything he can to keep you from putting one foot in front of the other to climb the mountain of spiritual progress. He'll try every trick in the book. He'll try to convince you that the changes that the Lord is asking you to make are too difficult, will not make you happy, and you'll wind up a failure. If he can get you to resign yourself to fate, or to feel that hope is beyond you, or get you to give up before you even get started, then he's won the victory. So don't let him! Determine that you will give the Lord a chance by giving it all you’ve got, and then watch Him do the miracles in your life that you can't do.—Maria Fontaine
The income of God’s Word is the outcome of a changed life.—Ed Cole
The same Jesus who turned water into wine can transform your home, your life, your family, and your future. He is still in the miracle-working business, and His business is the business of transformation.—Adrian Rogers
Renewed and transformed
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.—Romans 12:28
Renewing the mind is a little like refinishing furniture. It is a two-stage process. It involves taking off the old and replacing it with the new. The old is the lies you have learned to tell or were taught by those around you; it is the attitudes and ideas that have become a part of your thinking but do not reflect reality. The new is the truth. To renew your mind is to involve yourself in the process of allowing God to bring to the surface the lies you have mistakenly accepted and replace them with the truth. To the degree that you do this, your behavior will be transformed.—Charles Stanley
[Transformation] 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?”
Occasionally God does grant instantaneous victory, but more often He leads us through a process that requires obedience, faith, discipline and time. God is committed to winning the hearts, developing the hearts and developing the character of His people.—Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Anybody can change, and the change that you desire in your life is possible. It doesn't matter how you feel. It doesn't matter what you've been like for years or how long you've been the way you are today. It doesn't matter if something you're trying to change is even a part of your personality, your nature, or something that you think is inborn or unchangeable. Even if you don't think you can change, you have to take it by faith that you can, because I promise that you can.
It takes that first step of faith, that step of believing—even if the belief is smaller than a mustard seed—for Me to begin to work in your life. But this is a work that I need your help to perform. I need you to give Me your full cooperation, and only then will it come to its full fruition. The complete fulfillment of all the changes that you desire will not be an overnight change.
For this work to happen in your life, you have to have a believing heart. You also have to have a willing heart—willing to do the things that I'm asking of you, willing to do your part, what is necessary in order for this change to become a reality in your life. If I made the world and every living thing that surrounds you, don't you see that it's a small thing for Me to change a heart and a life, to transform it into something even better?
You've seen the course of nature, how a caterpillar goes into a cocoon and then comes out as a dazzling butterfly—totally transformed, a completely different creature. But then you think about yourself, and since you haven’t seen such a drastic change in your life and it would go against your nature, you wonder if it's really possible. If I can perform this transformation in one of the least of My little creatures, doesn't it seem logical that My power is not limited and I can do the same for you? If you're willing to do your part, as the caterpillar must spin the cocoon, then My Spirit will work within you to do what you can't do.
All things are possible if you believe. It doesn't matter how long you've been the way you are or how bad you think you are. It doesn't matter how you feel or what you think about yourself, because I am able. It's possible, because all things are possible with Me—even what may seem impossible to you. All things are possible if you believe.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy
He is intangible and invisible. But His work is more powerful than the most ferocious wind. The Spirit brings order out of chaos and beauty out of ugliness. He can transform a sin-blistered man into a paragon of virtue. The Spirit changes people. The Author of life is also the Transformer of life.—R. C. Sproul
Published on Anchor October 2014. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
2 Ephesians 2:8–9.
3 John 3:3.
4 2 Corinthians 5:17.
5 Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:4.
7 Romans 8:29.