Meditative Transformation

Romans 12: 2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

I heard an interesting comment recently. Dr. James Richards said, “Renewing the mind, if you don’t mix meditation with it, is nothing but an exercise in ego and intellectualism.” Whoa!!! That is a big statement. The Apostle Paul tasked us with renewing our minds. The problem is, most of us don’t know how. So, we begin to try to “change” our minds and thinking patterns and rarely do we enjoy any degree of success. There is an entirely different paradigm available to us which is effective and that is what we need to know. It’s imbedded in this “Partnership with God” that I speak of frequently.

There is a difference between “change” and transformation even though they are in the same family. The biggest functional difference is that transformation only occurs through the power of the Holy Spirit by the grace of the Father. When we try to “change” that is a self-effort and it is always doomed to failure.

The second big difference between change and transformation is that transformation does not involve who you are. Truthfully, transformation is about bringing out the beautiful person who is hidden inside you. Inside, you are Christ-like beautiful, but there are likely areas of your life where you are not fully capable of letting that glory shine. The world has trained you in certain ways and those ways are not the way God does things. For example, the world says, “Every man for himself.” God says to put other people’s needs before yours. The world teaches us to be antagonistic and defensive. God leads us to continual peace. So, when someone cuts you off on the highway, you might react as you’ve been taught or you may be able to let God’s thoughts show.

The only way we can be transformed in the inner parts of our soul is to let the Lord work in us and ultimately, through us. Transformation doesn’t actually take place in the mind. It occurs through the renewing of our mind, but the transformation takes place in our spirits. The key is in allowing God to speak to our minds, yes, but also to our spirits. That is when He is able to make transformative changes in us which releases our glorious selves.

Meditation is the slow, deliberate time of connection with God. It isn’t the conversation you have with Him on your way to work. That isn’t a bad practice, it just isn’t what I am discussing here. Meditation is when you allow yourself to slow down and commune with the Father. I am always reminded of Psalm 46: 10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” It is in the quite pensiveness that we most easily find God. Then He is able to minister to our inner selves to work out our salvation through the transformation process. To try to change ourselves or to attempt to “renew” our own minds is an ego trip on the failure express. We cannot change ourselves in any meaningful way. We certainly cannot transform ourselves from the caterpillar to the lovely butterfly. That is a God process and only by surrendering our will to Him can we experience and manifest the beautiful creature He has created us to be. He is the author of transformation. To think that we can make ourselves into a silk purse from the sow’s ear that we are is to elevate ourselves to the throne. How can we initiate such a transformation if we are, in fact, in need of transformation? Doesn’t the mere fact that we need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind suggest that we are not complete and therefore incapable of completing this transformation in our own strength? If we knew how to let our inner butterfly out, wouldn’t we have done it long ago.

Transformation and the renewal of the mind are grace processes. Father God is the author of grace. It is His touch within us which is going to effect the transformation. Slow down and take time with God. Enter into a time of quiet and stillness. Meet God beside the calm waters and let Him guide your growth. Let Him lead you and guide the process. To do otherwise is merely “an exercise in ego and intellectualism.”

His Will

Romans 12: 2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

I heard the Father saying in my head to do today’s Word of the Day on Romans 12: 2. I responded, “Dad, I know what that verse says. I have written on it several times and I don’t have anything to say about it.” None the less, I went and read it again. It’s what you do when Yahweh speaks. And guess what, I do hear something to convey. He said, I want people to know my will and here is one of the ways I have taught you to know my will. Good point.

I usually think of this verse as “the” transformation verse. Of course, it is also about non-conformity with the world. I don’t meditate enough, apparently, on the proving His will part, but there it is, as plain as you like. Sure, the first direction is to avoid conforming to the ways of the world. Second, we accomplish that through transformation. Third, transformation is achieved through the renewal of our minds. By now we also know that the renewal of our minds comes through the Word. There is a fourth part, through transformation, you will know and prove the perfect will of God. How, though, how are we to prove the will of God in our lives?

The answer is that it is in this transformation process. As we renew our minds with the Word of God, we flush out the perfect will of God. We begin to see a pattern emerge in His Word.  Additionally, the transformation of ourselves makes us more sensitive to the Kingdom of God around us. We become more sensitive to God’s voice within us and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We become tuned into our own spirits so that we perceive spiritual concepts, some of which come so naturally to us that we wonder why we didn’t see them before.

As long as we conform to the ways of the world, we are going to miss out on the perfect will of God for our lives. That is a huge statement. Conformity to the world subtracts from our lives. People often speculate what they will have to give up to become a Christian. They ought to be asking, what am I forsaking by living without Christ as my Lord. We Christians should ask ourselves a similar question, what do we forego by living in conformity to the world. Are we allowing ourselves to be transformed or do our lives pretty much look like the lives of our unsaved friends? What makes us any different from them apart from Sunday and Easter? Do we behave in similar ways? Do we have the same values? Do we solve problems the same way? Do we rely on our intellect or on our Father? Are we any more guided by God’s spirit than they? Here is the way I want to ask the question, and I hope it makes sense, “Is the fabric of our lives substantially different from an unsaved person?” It’s not a matter of going to church or even reading a daily devotional. It really is all about this personal, intimate relationship with the Father that comes through the transformation process. It is a management issue. How do you manage each minute of your day? Is it as a member of a partnership with God or are you a sole proprietor making all the decisions and bearing all of the responsibility?

God wants to wash your mind with His Word so that He can, with you, show His perfect will in and through your life. He wants people to know that you have a God of power and blessing who is constantly at work in your life. He wants to demonstrate His glory through proving His perfect will in you. You are His masterpiece but He has not completed the painting. His will is to finish His grand work by adding more color and glory to your life. Here is the rub, though. It comes through transformation. It is arrived at through non-conformity with the world. You are unique and rare and it is His will to show you off and to show off His glory on you.

Be transformed. Renew your mind and allow the good, acceptable and glorious will of the Lord be seen in you.

Saved by Fire

1 Peter 3:21                God’s Word Translation

Baptism, which is like that water, now saves you. Baptism doesn’t save by removing dirt from the body. Rather, baptism is a request to God for a clear conscience. It saves you through Jesus Christ, who came back from death to life.

Everything changed with Jesus. John came preaching a baptism of repentance. Jesus brought a new baptism. A baptism, not out of something or removing something, but rather a baptism into something. That something is salvation, we are baptized into salvation. “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 11: 17).

Baptism, like so many things, experienced a fulfillment and renewal when Jesus came to the earth. Peter’s words in today’s verse are very perplexing because this is not the baptism we were raised thinking about. He wrote about an appeal to God for a clear conscience, not forgiveness of sins. Isn’t that amazing. This is a baptism of salvation but the salvation happens on the inside of us. We are made new and that renewal must occur in our minds as well as our spirits.

In this new dispensation, we are baptized in the Holy Spirit of God who has been likened to a river. So, we are still going to get our water baptism, it is just happening by Jesus in the river of the Holy Spirit. Can we even wrap our heads around this? God is doing something amazing in us by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit, as we are immersed in him, does not cleanse us from our sin. The blood of Jesus already did that. The Spirit washes through the inside of us cleansing out the sin consciousness. He washes out the sin identity and replaces it with an awareness of our life in Christ. No longer does the memory and stain of sin color our hearts and minds. The baptism in the Holy Spirit restored us. He cleanses out the memory of sin and replaces it with the remembrance of Jesus. He replaces the injuries in our hearts with the image, and in fact, the very presence of Jesus.

Salvation, at this level, takes place in our conscience. Jesus has done his part. He has saved us from sin. His love has cleansed us. However, many people carry around the consciousness of sin in their hearts and minds instead of carrying around the thoughts and memories of a loving and victorious Jesus. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is meant to cleanse your thinking. This baptism renews your thinking to what Christ has done rather than what you have done. Being immersed in the Spirit of God sears the pain, loss and destruction from your bones and allows new cells to grow, new cells which are the very DNA of Christ himself. When Jesus speaks of renewal, he has a very comprehensive view. And, if you want to revel in the whole truth, he is a lot more literal than we give him credit for.

God did not send the baptism of Jesus, which is the baptism in the Holy Spirit, as a symbol or a representative ritual. This baptism is real and it is meant to accomplish a real transformation in us. The Holy Spirit is a cleansing fire. He burns away all that Jesus overcame. Whatever is in us that is not of Christ and his renewal, the Holy Spirit will sweep away. The sin of your past is dead. Jesus has overcome sin and death in your life. However, the shadows of that sin may remain in your heart and mind. These are the memories, the guilt, the condemnation, and the marred self-image. They are like debris from a volcano, black and lumpy, littering your internal self. The Holy Spirit cleans all of that rubble from your inner self so that fresh, new, healthy tissue can grow. There is life in Jesus so it is imperative that our insides have this regenerative opportunity. This affects your emotional and spiritual life. Does it also impact your physical health? Sure. Jesus came to give you abundant life (John 10: 10). That means renewal in every facet of your being.

Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Be immersed in the Spirit of God. Let his cleansing fire fill every cell of your being. He will sear your conscience of the sin stain and fill it with the knowledge of the love of Christ Jesus and him resurrected in glory. Be made whole.

Mind Exchange

Romans 12: 2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

I realize this is a familiar scripture to you but I want you to think about it again. Okay, we understand that Father is telling us that we are not supposed to be like the people in the world. I think we get that part but perhaps we even need a bigger revelation of this first phrase. Do you ever think that we fit in a bit too well? I know I struggled with this. I didn’t want to be different. I wanted to be cool. Now I don’t care so much but it was a challenge. I wanted to fit in. The truth is, we are not going to be giants in God and fit in with everyone else. He has called us to be unique, peculiar. He wants us moving in the power of His Kingdom but it does not operate by secular rules so we really have to be transformed. Our thinking needs a 180 degree revolution. How are we going to accomplish that? What are we doing to transform our minds and our thinking?

Have you ever really posed these questions to yourself? What can we do, what did God intend we do when He told us to renew our minds? Our thought life is going to determine the outcomes in the rest of our lives. As a person thinks in her heart, so she shall be (Proverb 23: 7). So, what are we thinking about? How are we thinking, like the world thinks? The bigger question, though, is, what are we going to do to facilitate this renewal of our minds. Clearly God is of the opinion that our minds need renewal. How is that accomplished?

One thing I have discovered is that the more time I spend with the Word, the more good ideas I get. Another tool that is so overlooked but incredibly valuable is reading books by Christian authors. There are fiction and non-fiction titles out there. I personally enjoy the non-fiction because they really stimulate my thinking and my conversation with God. Another great tool is Christian music. If you only listen to secular music, do yourself a favor and pepper your play list with some popular praise music. Just go to your Christian bookstore and ask what’s popular or turn on the Christian radio station. You are going to blessed. And, one of the best things you can do is to socialize with other Christians and talk about God and the Bible; talk about the things you have been thinking about. Listen to what God has been speaking to other Christians. A really great idea is to buy a Christian book and then get together with your friends weekly and discuss it. Go to your favorite coffee shop and have a great time over the Word. You will find this practice life changing. Is it transformative? Absolutely yes!

I humbly recommend using the Journey Through the Bible. It is perfect for discussion groups and book groups. You will have a very fun time while growing spiritually and also helping your friends grow in their insights.

Be transformed! It can only be accomplished through the renewal of your mind.

Divine Design

Romans 12: 2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
We looked quite a bit last week at what God has to say about acceptance and in a nutshell it is that you are accepted in His sight. He said, Himself, that He has not rejected you. That is such an important truth for us to receive. Truly, we cannot give away what we have yet to receive. So, if you see a person who is critical and judgmental it may just be that they have yet to receive the acceptance and love of God for themselves.

There is a commercial running on television right now from Time-Warner cable where a motivational speaker challenges people about change. He tells them that they can change and asks if they want to, to which everyone resoundingly replies, “Yes!” Well, as I listened to the commercial I heard another message come right up out of my spirit. What I heard is that God has not called us to change. First of all, He loves you without you changing. Second, what He has given us is transformation. 

Transformation is not something we do; it is something we allow God to do within us by cooperating with His Spirit. We are transformed by God and the Holy Spirit through the renewal of our minds. We are not asked to change from who we are to someone else. No, we are only being transformed into the fullness of who we are in Christ. This transformation is more akin to the metamorphoses of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The essence of the butterfly was always in the caterpillar. He doesn’t have try not to be himself. He just grows up into the fullness of who he was always destined to be. 

Like the caterpillar, in every one of us is a butterfly. We have only to enter our chrysalis and allow the butterfly to emerge. This is the transformational process which our beloved Father has given us. We are not the authors of change, we are not transformational engineers. God has already put butterfly DNA in the caterpillar. He has created and put in the caterpillar the process for fulfilling its destiny. Truly, we are more important to Him that a butterfly. He wouldn’t abandon us and task us with the responsibility of change when He has so carefully designed the butterfly and it’s growth phases.

God has given us a chrysalis into which we can cocoon ourselves too. He has prepared a process by which He brings us into the fullness of our Divine Design. Through the renewal of our minds, we are transformed into the very likeness of Jesus. You will be the version of you which is so apparently a sibling to Jesus himself. I like to call this fulfilled you the Jesus you. So you may be Jesus Scott or Jesus Mary. You are of the same DNA as Jesus. When you took on the New Birth which is wrought in his blood and his glory, you became genetically tied to Jesus. There is a glorified you. This is who God sees every time He looks at you. Now, in order for you to live the fulfillment of who you are in Christ you must renew your mind to the Word of God. When you do, you will find that you think like God. You will begin to feel the things God feels and you will even react to events the way God does. The renewal of your mind washes out the worldly way of thinking that we were all indoctrinated in and replaces it with God thoughts and yes, you really can think the way God thinks. It is amazing and glorious and you were meant to live this way – to live an anointed life.

So, here is your part. Renew your mind by reading God’s Word. It really is that easy. Meditate on what you read. Let it seep into your own thoughts and consciousness. Allow God’s Word and God’s thoughts to become integrated with your own. You will find that as you do this you will begin to develop wings. You will emerge from your own chrysalis a glorified, emancipated child of the Most High with wings as eagles. Go soak in the glory of God’s Word, let Him pour his DNA into every cell of your being and then spread your wings and soar. You are His beautiful child, created in His image. Don’t try to change just be transformed, by the renewing of your mind.