I think many of us recognize areas within ourselves which aren’t the way we want them to be. We embark on many schemes; self-discipline, will-power, deliverance or self-help groups to effect change in those areas. We pray for God to change us and beat ourselves up when we fall short (again).
The word has something to say about every aspect of our lives and change is no exception.
The bible says in Roman 12:2 “...be transformed by the renewing of your mind“. God’s way of change is not from the outside, but starts on the inside of us.
We often want our character flaws, or what I call ‘symptoms’ to change, and if they don’t we become discouraged. It’s a lot of effort for really ineffective results. Behavioural change, isn’t tackling the root issues, just the result of those issues in our hearts. The difficulty is that just like a cobweb, getting rid of the web doesn’t change a thing; tomorrow the web will be back -instead we need to deal with the spider.
So how is it possible to experience effortless and permanent change?
The Greek word TRANSFORMED in Romans here is “metamorphoō”. You may recognize it; its’ the root of the English word METAMORPHOSIS meaning: a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one.
The word here is saying that we can become totally different by changing the way we think!
Society offers many techniques for behaviour modification, and while these work (maybe) for the short term, the truth is, if our thought-life doesn’t change, we will soon revert to acting in line with what we think.
People say “a leopard can’t change it’s spots” and that is true; but if a leopard ceased to be a leopard any more, it could look different!
There is really only one way to change, and that is from the inside out; beginning with our thoughts becoming totally different!
Most of us spend our lives in ignorance about what we really think. Maybe we will touch the tip of the iceberg when we consider some aspects of our belief system, but there are areas where we just accepted a lie, and learn to live with it.
John 10:10 says:
“A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect —life in its fullness until you overflow!” TPT
If something is causing you to feel worthless, stressed, fearful or depressed (i.e. it’s stealing your joy, your peace etc), then it’s not from God! It’s a thought that we have planted in our hearts, nurtured and allowed to grow there.
When you identify the lie, you can go back to the Word and renew (Strong’s: a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better) our minds. All this comes back to the same think I’ve mentioned before, but the truth is if you don’t know what the truth is (what God’s word says) how can you identify the lie and replace it with the truth that makes you free.
Reading and meditating on God’s Word continually is the only answer for change. Allow it to cast light in the dark areas of your heart, and be transformed by renewing of your mind to line up with what God says and watch how that impacts your daily life.
The word says we’re not fighting against external things (flesh & blood) and we’re to take every thought captive; our job is not to ‘change’ our character, our responsibility is to allow the Word to change the way we think. From that perspective we will change the way we act, and our character flaws will change without effort as we become more like Jesus in our thinking.