My father became a Christian when he was 83 years old. There were many times throughout the years when I thought, "He will never change!" But I kept praying for him. And thank God, eventually, he did change—he experienced the greatest transformation of all.
To be transformed means you are changed entirely from the inside out. When we become born-again Christians, 2 Corinthians 5:17 (AMPC) says we are "a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!"
The Holy Spirit comes to live in us, and He works in us—transforming our mind, will and emotions—so we become more like Jesus day by day. As we grow spiritually, the good work that's happening inside us can be seen through the way we live, and we become testimonies of what God has done.
Sadly, many times people don't believe they can be completely changed. And often they don't believe other people can change. But the only thing that never changes is God (Heb. 13:8). And He wants us to dare to believe that He "is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]" (Eph. 3:20 AMPC).
The question is what are you expecting God to do for you? Maybe you're having a hard time believing that your kids can change, your marriage can improve or that you can ever lose weight, get a better job or get completely out of debt.
But Jeremiah 29:11 says God's thoughts and plans for us are "for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome." He has a good plan for you, and you can dare to believe He can heal you anywhere you hurt and help you with every problem you face. It's time to start expecting more from God than you've ever believed He would do for you before.
The key to having what God wants you to have is learning to think like He thinks. And Romans 12:2 teaches that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. I've discovered several ways we need to change our thinking so we can live with the mind of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:6).
We need to change our thinking about:
- God. It's so important for us to know who God really is. He's not an angry God, and He's not "harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant" (Matt. 11:30a, AMPC). God loves you, and if you know how much He loves you right now, then you'll have hope that the things in your life that need to change can be changed.
- Ourselves. If you don't like yourself, you're going to have difficulty in every area of your life. Don't demand perfection from yourself. No one is perfect, and no matter what we do, we usually don't think it's enough: we don't pray enough, work hard enough, study the Bible enough, etc. God spoke to my heart one day and told me, "Joyce, you're never enough, but I'm always more than enough." That's why Jesus came! Believe that, in Christ, there's more right than wrong with you, and you can do whatever you need to do in life through Him (2 Cor. 5:21; John 15:5; Philippians 4:13).
- Trials, or the hard, painful things we go through in life. Habakkuk 3:19 says God is our strength and He will help us to "walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make spiritual progress upon [our] high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!" James 1:2-4 encourages us to "consider it wholly joyful...whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials," because "the trial and proving of your faith" are what God works through to make us "fully developed...lacking in nothing."
- The level of importance we put on what others think about us. It's easy to let what others do and say affect us, and to feel like "If you don't like me, my day is ruined." But the truth is, if we're more concerned with being a people-pleaser than a God-pleaser, we won't become what God created us to be and do what He's calling us to do (Gal. 1:10).
I want to encourage you to study Scriptures that reveal God's true character and His heart for you. And dare to believe that there's nothing in your life He can't change—including you!
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Get Your Hopes Up! (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org.