CHANGE FROM INSIDE OR OUT

ewf_beardTHE SEVENTH DAY OF FEBRUARY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND SIXTEEN.


A gracEmail subscriber has a vision of what it means to be like Christ, but she feels completely helpless to change her thoughts, words, and deeds to bring that vision to fulfillment. Does scripture provide any guidance or inspiration in resolving this common and widespread problem?

* * *

God does not merely forgive sinners and leave us in our sin. Having forgiven us, he changes us to be like Jesus. Meanwhile, the present temporary world-order is also working busily to change us. But its goal is the very opposite of God’s goal–and so is the way this world-system works to bring about its change. These details bring us to Romans 12:2 where we find both the guidance and the inspiration we seek.

The passing Present age in which we live is always eager to press us like malleable clay into its mold. “Conform,” it tells us. “Fit in, don’t make a fuss, don’t call attention to yourself.” Our moral environment will shape us to its image. Not real change of who and what we are but external change only. The verb translated “conform” here gives our words scheme (arrangement or plan) and schematic (diagram or blueprint).

God’s Spirit changes us from the inside, first changing who and what we are. Not external conformity but internal transformation. The verb “transformed” here translates the word that gives us “metamorphosis,” the wonderful change experienced by a caterpillar when it becomes a glorious butterfly. God transforms us by giving us a new mind grounded in reality and truth. Our mind is renewed as we receive God’s word and allow it to reprogram our thinking. The result is a changed life, one that demonstrates God’s will for us, his plan for humankind, the “good,” “acceptable,” and “perfect” way of life for which he redeemed us in the first place.