We are working our way through some of what I've learned over years of studying transformation. When the paradigm (the truth we believe) shifts from living for our transformation to living from being transformed the posture of our heart is moved into a place of centeredness. We will no longer be plagued by the weight of trying harder, doing better, keeping score rather we will live empowered by participating with Holy Spirit in a life changing way.
Centered in the love of a good Father we are able to present our bodies as living sacrifice sand participate in the process of renewal. It's a shift in the way we participate. For example, if I think about eating healthy as depriving my body of what it wants I will walk out eating healthy as a punishment rather than a privilege. Instead of depriving my body of what it wants, I am simply learning to provide my body with what it needs. And just like that, with a simply mind shift, the strength to eat healthy becomes a little stronger.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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 12:1-2, NIV.
Real transformation always starts on the inside. It's about laying our lives down as a human sacrifice, staying on the alter even when it hurts and is not the most convenient. It's learning to reprogram our minds to head toward Good News rather than the Bad News we are often more conditioned to recognize. We struggle with transformation. We try to force it, fix it, forge it with fakeness, but what if we dedicated some time to simply understanding and cooperating with it instead?
God's good, pleasing and perfect will is found and represented in the renewed version of ourselves. Instead of struggling to figure out how we can know what He wants us to do, transformed we simply become who He's called us to be and thus are able to rest confidently as sons and daughters of the most high King and walk freely in step with His Spirit. .
Here are numbers 2 and 3 of my observations....
2. The mind doesn't change by doing what it's always done
Addy has a girl on her soccer team who ties her shoes multiple times a game. Every single game her shoes come untied. That is not a normal thing. No one else on the team has this issue. It never fails. Her shoes always come untied.
Here's what has to happen for the situation to change. She has to become so tired of the inconvenience of stopping to tie her shoe in the middle of the game that she refuses to do it anymore. She will then have to ask for help learning the right way to tie her shoe, because the way she learned is obviously not effective. After she's taught the proper way, then she will begin to reteach her brain how to tie, through repetition and practice.
“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,"
2 corinthians 10:5, NIV.
Reteaching and ultimately renewal happens through the discipline of capturing our thoughts. To catch herself before her mind naturally does what it has always done and redirect it to do what she has just learned. Once or twice doesn't do it either. She will have to do it dozens of times before tying her shoes the right way becomes her natural response.
The majority of what we do we do because it is what we’ve always known or done. Addy's teammate simply ties her shoe this way because it's the way she's always done it and her mind doesn't have to think about it. Our brains will always choose the quickest route from A to B. For example, if I am a left footed soccer player, who for most of my life has kicked the ball with my left foot, then as I approach the ball and prepare to kick I will instinctively position myself in a way to kick the ball with my left foot. I will do this unless I decide to pay attention, capture my thought and redirect it down and more undeveloped pathway. The pathway leading toward a right footed kick.
And you do it again and again and again until the new pathway (which used to be the old pathway) has developed into the fasted route from A to B. Once Addy's teammate has tied her shoes the new way so many times that she is no longer tempted to tie them the old way transformation has taken place.
What you do you do because of what you’ve previously done.
Your mind goes where the pavement lies.
You do not react on accident – you react because of the pavement you've paved.
Changing an action starts with catching a thought.
3. Nothing is just the way it is
Everything we do comes from a thought we have – these thoughts start in our minds and are then carried out through our actions. Our thoughts are neurotransmitters. Picture a tiny hot marble. These neurotransmitters disguised as marbles, carry the message through our neuropathways (picture a big chunk of cheese) leading to our actions. When the hot marble is dropped into that piece of cheese, that marble is going to cut through there and build a highway in the direction of it's choosing.
The Good News here - our thoughts are not the problem. The problem is what we do or don't do with our thoughts. We are actually in charge of directing them in the way of Jesus, but we must discipline ourselves to know the way of Jesus.
Our actions don't happen on accident. They happen because of the pathways we've developed in our brains.
You are not just a fearful person. You actually are the exact opposite. You are faith-filled, fully empowered son or daughter. You don't fight for your freedom, you fight from your freedom. From the moment you come into relationship with Him, you have the invitation to live like Him. The thing keeping you like a lesser version of Him is nothing more than a lack of discipline or as the passage in Romans would put it, a lack of worship. It's ignoring Holy Spirit's invitation and choosing to stay where you currently live. Keeping hold of our bodies rather than laying them down. Choosing our will rather than becoming His way.
Our partnership is with Holy Spirit and He is in our sacrifice. Can we stop the non kingdom thought before it becomes a non Christ like action?
I have developed the discipline of aligning my thoughts, actions and reactions up to the mind of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit by simply pausing and asking myself, "would Jesus have wrestled with this feeling?"
Did He doubt His ability to overcome?
Would He have been overcome by fear of missing out?
Did He overthink the way forward?
If Jesus didn't think it, feel it or live with it, then the Word of God promise I don't have to either.
You are not like you; you are like Him.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here,"
2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV.
I have two very different daughters. Ella is thirteen, super confident and always forward thinking. I don't have to spend a lot of time building her up, if anything I spend my time keeping her humble. Addy, my eleven year old, is an entirely different story. She has a predisposition for low self esteem. It's nothing we've
taught her, but more of something she seems to just carry around. Instead of going to the best possible scenario, her marble drops and travels toward the worst. Let's say she walks into a room and asks a question. Then no one answers her in the room (because the room is loud and there's a lot going on.) Addy's first thought is 'no one wants to hear me.'
Addy immediately goes to the negative. It's her natural response, she thinks that's just normal. That's who she is. But I know, that's not Jesus so that's not who she is. She is a daughter of the King, she has the mind of Christ, the ability to bring heaven to earth. She also has the invitation to bring heaven to her thoughts, but the inability to understand how to do so. When my daughter can't take her thoughts captive it's my job to capture them for her redirecting them in the way of Jesus.
How do I do that? I grab the thought, reject it and then I replace it with the truth. I look her in the eyes and speak His truth over her. "Addy, the room is loud and busy, there's a lot going on. That doesn't mean we don't want you in here. I would rather have you in every single room I am in than not present with me. You are wanted. You are loved. You are valued. They simply didn't hear. Take another try."
I think it's what Jesus would say to her if He heard her whisper the lie of being unwanted. He is a good catcher and redirector of His children's thoughts.
You might not have chosen all the dispositions you have but you are in charge of choosing what to do with them. You were created in the image of God, given access to His table and the keys to His Kingdom. You have the mind of Christ and the fruit of the Spirit. And yet all the time, you settle for less than His abundance. Don't do that anymore. You don't have to do. There's so much more.
To summarize, real transformation always starts on the inside. Our God is not after behavior modification. It's not about what you do, it's about why you do what you do. Your renewal, your transformation, starts on the inside. The mind will never change by doing what it's always done. If you want to partner with your transportation than you are going to have to do just that; partner with it. Change demands action. A new way of thinking leads to a new way of doing and ultimately a new way of being. And finally, nothing is just how you are until it looks just like Jesus.
Keep thinking about your thinking. There is so much transformation available to you. Don't settle into less than He has for you. He withholds no good thing. Your Renewal is so vital to your future.
Let's talk more on Wednesday!
See you then!