Begin a journey of spiritual transformation
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be in Christ and to live as new creations. What does that mean? What does it look like? Our natures don’t change instantly, once we accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour. How do we begin our journey of spiritual transformation?
(See Chinese versions: 简体中文 > 开启心灵蜕变之旅 | 繁體中文 > 開啟心靈蛻變之旅)
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
When we commit to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we become citizens of heaven. Our new citizenship status is immediately binding. Starting to speak, think or behave like the people of our new citizenship however, does not happen overnight. Complete transformation from the inside out takes longer. It takes some learning and practice.
Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,
We can’t expect to transform spiritually without changing our daily routines and patterns.
1. Draw the line, turn away from the past
It starts with drawing a clear line between our old life and our new citizenship. This is what God’s Word calls “putting off our old self” and “putting on the new self”. There is a conscious effort and focus in this process. In the past, we spent time nurturing our personal interests, relationships, bodies and careers. As citizens of heaven, we now also spend time nurturing our Bible knowledge and relationship with God through His Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV to put off your 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 to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
2. Repent and receive the Holy Spirit
We cannot live the life that God calls us to without the help of the Holy Spirit. Even Jesus, Son of God, was filled with the Holy Spirit while He was on earth. He promised His Holy Spirit to all disciples so that we would be able to follow His commandments and truths. In order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, we need to first repent of our sins and be baptised.
Romans 8:13-14 ESV For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Acts 2:38 ESV And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
3. Find a community of godly role models
We learn new patterns in life by studying, hearing, as well as observing. This is why God calls us into community to encourage and edify one another. Together, we learn and grow more than when we are isolated.
Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
4. Learn the truth about God’s love for us
Some of us grew up with parents who didn’t know how to demonstrate the purest of love towards us. This can distort our view of God the Father and His love for us. Now, we need to make an effort to understand the depth of God’s love for us through His promises and revelations.
Ephesians 3:18-19 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
5. Study God’s Word
Many things and people influence how we think and behave. If we keep feeding ourselves with worldly “junk”, we will suffer spiritually.
The Bible is our spiritual food. There are many ways to consume the Word of God. We can listen to the audio Bible while driving, sitting in a train or preparing for work. Another way is to read the Bible as we have our breakfast. We can also form a Bible study group that dives into God’s Word together. Having God’s truth in our heart is critical in knowing how to live as citizens of heaven.
Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
6. Train our minds
The Bible teaches us to turn away from worldly beliefs and value systems that prevent us from having a close personal relationship with God. This is what it means to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. Like any purification system, we need to process and filter out any lies and accusations from this world, using God’s Word.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
7. Allow the Holy Spirit to convict
In our journey of transformation, the Holy Spirit will reveal areas in our lives that displease God. He doesn’t scrub us clean without our explicit consent. We need to decide to turn away from our sin and return to God. This could include confessing to God, with God-fearing Christians as our witnesses so that they are able to pray for us and encourage us along our journey.
John 16:8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:
8. Converse with God continually
We enjoy having conversations with the people we love, what more with God! Just as there are ways to hold healthy conversations with people, we also need to know how to pray in healthy ways.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Spiritually transformed because of God’s love
Anyone who truly appreciates the price Jesus paid for our heavenly citizenship cannot help but be transformed as a result of His love and grace. Love motivates and inspires lasting change, rather than rules, guilt or obligation.
So let us never lose sight of God’s everlasting love for us and be renewed day by day!
Zephaniah 3:17 ESV The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
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