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Monday, May 10, 2010

Category: Change

God is absolutely committed to the process of transformation in your life.  But as we’ve been learning, you will never experience enduring change unless you allow God to get specific with you and point out the areas of your life that need to be changed.  If you continue to hide out in the land of non-specifics, you will never know the life-altering power of the gospel.

In the last edition of “The Weekly Walk,” we looked at the important first step of asking God for wisdom about what He wants to change.  This week we’re examining step two: Review the biblical lists of attitudes and behaviors to change.

The New Testament is overflowing with lists of the specific things that God is working to accomplish in our lives. Often these lists are framed in terms of attitudes and behaviors that God wants us to put off and put on. For example, Ephesians 4:22-24 has this exhortation: “Put off . . . the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and . . . put on the new man.”

Colossians 3:5-14 is another great passage.  The apostle Paul instructs us to put off the following actions and attitudes: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, covetousness, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language, and lying.  He then calls us to “put on the new man [and respond with] tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”

In other parts of God’s Word, the picture is not one of putting off and putting on, but rather walking.  The Christian life is a walk of faith, step by step, one foot after another.  Look at Galatians 5:16-23 and note these sinful things that should not be part of our walk: adultery, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, and revelries.  On the flip side, here are the godly qualities—the fruit of the Spirit—that should characterize our daily walk: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Begin by asking God for wisdom, then open up your Bible to a passage like one of these, and, believe me, God will get specific with you.  Just pray, “Lord, convict my heart about something from Your Word—anything at all—that You want to change in me.”  As you read and reflect upon Scripture, you’ll be like, “O.K. in that area . . . Seeing good improvement there . . . Got that one under control . . . Ouch!  That’s on the list?!  Way off track there!”

Do you know what I’m talking about?  Has that ever happened to you when you were reading God’s Word?  You feel this prick in your heart, and you know God is saying, “That’s one of the things we can be working on anytime you’re ready.”  If so, surrender that area to Him, and get busy with your part.  Only then will you experience life transformation that really lasts.

 

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