God’s Word, the Bible, is what God has to say to us about our condition, our need for Him, His desire and readiness to rescue us, and how we can have access to that rescue. In Ezekiel 36:26, God says, “I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
How we desperately need Him to rescue us from the stoniness of apathy and hardness of pride! How we urgently need His deliverance from the awful destination our indifference to His Gospel will bring us unless He changes our hearts!
But His mercy and grace move and challenge us to turn to Him. How even now He invites you and me to relinquish our futile efforts to control our destiny and trust His good will towards us! How He urges us to yield to His holy authority and allow Him to make us new!
And, if we will indeed turn in faith to Him, how He is faithful to make of us new things! “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, Who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18 ESV).
But how does that work? How does the “new” that God has made of us spiritually become the “new” that God intends of us experientially?
In Romans 12:2, God says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
The “new” that we experience and that those around us can see is the transformed life that flows from the mind that is no longer conformed (shaped and influenced) by the world around us, but is free indeed (see John 8:36) to be unafraid in the presence of God, unhindered in the worship of God’s, and unchained from patterns of sin and folly that once characterized our lives before God brought us to faith in Jesus.
The “key” to that kind of “new” is in a mind that is overhauled by God’s truth. The renewed mind to which Romans 12:2 refers is the mind that is filled with 1) new thoughts, specifically God’s own thoughts which are imparted to us from God’s Word, the Bible. Those new thoughts deliver to our psyches the 2) new ideas (new to us, anyway) of God’s perspective, our new identity as God’s children and all the amazing and glorious truths of that new identity. These new ideas lead us to make 3) new commitments, specifically commitments to know Jesus and to make Him known. And these new commitments lead us to 4) new choices each day and in each situation; decisions to obey God, to love others, and to entrust our welfare into His care. As these new choices are lived out consistently, we invariably find ourselves with 5) new habits, and with God’s help, find that it is becoming our nature to walk with Him and live life on His terms as opposed to our own. And as these new habits become increasingly characteristic of us, we begin to truly enter into 6) new experiences that reinforce and reinvigorate us in our journey through this life toward our eternal destination, home with God forever and ever.
Is God interested in your life being set free from regret and becoming a transformed masterpiece? Is He concerned about you experiencing more than merely a religious lifestyle? Is He committed to your knowing love, forgiveness, peace, and hope for the future? Yes. To all of this, yes! God is at work in your life, His Spirit is calling to your spirit, and His Son, Jesus, is inviting you to know what it means to finally live life the way you were created to live it!
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 26 years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.