"... and be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Eph. 4:23).
Throughout the Bible, we see an important truth illustrated over and over: The Holy Spirit releases his power the moment you take a step of faith.
When Joshua was faced with an impassible barrier, the floodwaters of the Jordan River receded only after the leaders stepped into the rushing current in obedience and faith. Obedience unlocks God's power.
God waits for you to act first. Don't wait to feel powerful or confident. Move ahead in your weakness, doing the right thing in spite of your fears and feelings. This is how you cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and it is how your character develops.
The Bible compares spiritual growth to a seed, a building and a child growing up. Each metaphor requires active participation: Seeds must be planted and cultivated, buildings must be built—they don't just appear—and children must eat and exercise to grow.
Although effort has nothing to do with your salvation, it has much to do with your spiritual growth. At least seven times in the New Testament, we are told to "make every effort" in our growth toward becoming like Jesus (Luke 13:24; Rom. 14:19; Eph. 4:3; 2 Tim. 2:15, Heb. 4:11, 12:14; 2 Pet. 3:14).
You don't just sit around and wait for it to happen.
Paul explains in Ephesians 4:22-24 our three responsibilities in becoming like Christ.
First, we must choose to let go of old ways of acting. "... that you put off the former way of life in the old nature, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts" (Eph. 4:22).
Second, we must change the way we think. "...and be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:2b).
The Greek word for "transformed" is metamorphosis (used in Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18), and it's used today to describe the amazing change a caterpillar goes through in becoming a butterfly. It's also a beautiful picture of what happens to us spiritually when we allow God to direct our thoughts: We are changed from the inside out, we become more beautiful and we are set free to soar to new heights.
Third, we must put on the character of Christ by developing new, godly habits. Your character is essentially the sum of your habits; it is how you habitually act. The Bible says, "... and that you put on the new nature, which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness" (Eph. 4:24).
Don't just sit around and wait for spiritual growth to happen. Be obedient in this so that you can unlock God's power in your life.
Talk It Over
- How do you think God responds when you move forward in faith despite feeling weak?
- What habits do you need to develop so that you can grow spiritually?
- In what ways can you renew your mind?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global internet community for pastors.
For the original article, visit pastorrick.com.
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