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Friday, May 6, 2011

16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immoraity, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. — galatians 5:16-23

            God is absolutely committed to the process of transformation in your life. But 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.

             We already looked at the important first step of asking God for wisdom about what He wants to change. Today, 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 self which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and . . . put on the new self.”

             Colossians 3:5-14 is another great passage. The apostle Paul instructs us to put off the following actions and attitudes: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, covetousness, anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk, and lying. He then calls us to “bear with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

            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 the sinful things that should not be part of our walk, as well as the things that should.

             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. Do you know what I’m talking about? 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. — James MacDonald

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You promise that if I ask for transformation, You are faithful to help me do it. God, I want You to be seen through me, and that’s why I need You to change me. But I can’t do this without Your help. I have to confess that sometimes I don’t want to change or be any different. But then You reveal Yourself to me through your Word, and I can’t help but confess and repent. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Journal:

  • What obvious things in my character do I need to put off?
  • What areas do I not want to surrender? Why? What am I afraid of?
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