Have you been in a church service and the leader conveys through words or actions that you “should do this," or “don't do that?"
Do you believe that God cares only that you “behave correctly?” That as long as you aren’t doing “bad” things, you and God are okay? Do you find yourself trying to live by a set of rules and “white knuckling” your Christian walk – straining very hard not to give into temptations and sin?
Our parents disciplined us as children, attempting to shape proper conduct, often by using reward and punishment. BUT that's not discipline, that's behavior manipulation. And as soon as our parents turned their back, we did exactly what they told us not to do! Why? Because we wanted to please our parents, but we didn’t believe in the merit of changing our actions.
Many believers in the church are very good at controlling their actions to “appear” Godly when others are watching, but don’t live or act like a Christian the other six days of the week.
1 Samuel 16:7: The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. (NIV)
Ouch! So we aren’t fooling God one bit when we only “act” like a follower of Christ!
What, then, is the solution to NOT living a life of behavior manipulation, of simply following a list of “do’s and don’ts?”
God wants to inwardly transform us. Note that HE will do the work! He just wants us to be open to Him and cooperate with Him.
He wants to change our understanding of Him so that we increasingly view life from His perspective – which will RESULT in Godly behavior. He doesn’t want us simply to attempt to change our OUTWARD behavior without allowing Him to transform our INWARD THINKING.
Romans 12:2 provides the steps for this transformation process: 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. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (NLT)
As we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our understanding of Him [MIND], so that we increasingly view life from His perspective and make conscious choices to seek Him wholeheartedly in our daily spiritual walk, our values and convictions [ATTITUDE] will change. That transformed perspective will produce behavior [CONDUCT] that is pleasing to Him.
As humans we are “wired” so that what we do is merely a reflection of what's important to us. God knows this! So He wants to change our inward value system, because the behavior will naturally follow.
As we walk through this plan together we will focus on foundational principles that make us malleable, allowing God to transform us which will produce the end goal of Romans 12:2 – Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Prayer: God, help me to be open, honest and teachable towards You as we walk together on this transformation journey