We talk a lot about being transformed in spirit by the renewing of our minds as Romans 12:2 instructs. It’s one thing to recite that scripture as an anthem and another to actually be about it.
“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.” — Romans 12:2 NIV
Being about it, living life as one who’s transformed by the renewing of one’s mind takes God’s mercy, the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of The Holy Spirit. It can’t be done in one’s own strength.
We literally have to be willing and humble enough to ask Jesus Christ, through His Holy Spirit to tell us about ourselves and prune us. And it is God who gives us this willingness in the first place. He changes our thinking and gives us that zeal that causes us to no longer want to do the things we did before and start to do the things never did by the power of His Spirit.
“For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! — Romans 7:22-23, 25a NIV
And because The Holy Spirit is gentle (gentleness being His fruit; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” — Galatians 5:22-23 NIV); He won’t impose himself on us. We have to invite Him into our lives.
So we ask, “Dear Jesus, thank You for sending me Your Holy Spirit, I ask that You come into my life and transform my Spirit. Renew my mind. Help me not to conform to the world’s status quo so I may test and approve what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will is.
We ask and so we receive. He starts to tell us about ourselves but do we want to hear it? Do we want to hear that we’re gossiping, backstabbing, cheating impatient, vengeful, unkind, liars, who are hateful, hypocritical, judgmental, unclean in thought, word and deed, selfish, malicious, unforgiving towards others…? Do we want to hear — while our shortcomings are mostly internal and haven’t been found out —; that, we are actually who we call others — whose shortcomings have been made visible for the world to see — out to be?
Do we really want to hear it?
It’s a legit question because sadly, some of us don’t want to. And so instead of admitting that we are in fact messed up and have been wrong, our pride/ego steps in. We decide to stay in denial, thinking we’re perfect and in no need of any change. Thinking that we are the boss of ourselves. We decidedly stay the same.
The truth is, till we are able to sit with, face ourselves and admit that we’ve been wrong and that we need help, we limit The Holy Spirit from finishing the work He started. The work that we asked Him to help us out with in the first place. We limit Him because He always needs our permission. In this case, our admission of our wrong doings after He shows us who we are is a prerequisite to Him revealing how to live transformed and constantly renewing in mind.
Notice the phrase “constantly renewing in mind”? Yeah! That’s because a set mind is usually the easiest tool the enemy can manipulate. When our minds are set, especially on the things we thing we know, we become boastful. We think highly of ourselves and assume we’ve arrived;
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” — Romans 12:3 NIV
thus, we fall prey of putting God in a box. And so we think He works in a certain way based on previous experiences. A set mind can cause us to think that because God uses a pastor to do His work, he can’t dare use a prostitute to do even greater works.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” — 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NIV
So while we pray, we have to constantly ask Jesus Christ, by the power of The Holy Spirit to work on us. We need to ask Him to prune us constantly because sometimes it takes Him finishing work on a particular character trait/flaw/issue we’ve let Him tell us about; for us to realise there’s another trait that needs to be sorted out by Him.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” — John 15:1-4 NLT
We also have the tendency to fall short on our journeys and thus get disconnected. Thankfully, God’s grace super abounds even where sin is great.
“God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.” — Romans 5:20 NLT
I’m consoled that we’re pruned, transformed and renewed daily by God’s tender mercy, the grace of our Lord and power of The Holy Spirit. Till we attain perfection.