The Word of God
God’s word empowers us and enables us to go all the way in our pursuit of Jesus. In the passage from Romans, Chapter 2, nonconformity to the world does not simply mean avoidance of worldly behaviors. If that were the case, Jesus would have been affirming the Pharisees as opposed to challenging them. Certainly, behavior modification is important. It just is not the depth of transformation the Bible calls us to. We can use our willpower to avoid all sorts of unhealthy, ungodly, and un-Biblical choices in our lives, yet still not be transformed in Christ.
True inner transformation is not merely switching from the to-do list of the world to the to-do list of the Bible. Rather, what happens to us occurs within our heart. When the apostle Paul in the Bible described how we are to replace the to-do list, he does not replace it with the works of the “law” (613 commands the Israelites of the Bible were expected to obey), but the fruit of the Spirit, found in Galatians 5:19-22-23 (NIV) – “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.”
These only become part of who we are when rooted in our hearts, not merely through the dedication of our mind and will. Our mind and our will provide the outward expression of what God is doing in our heart. They, themselves, are not the truest measure of who we are in Christ. Have you ever heard someone say, “Her heart wasn’t in it” or “He is just going through the motions.”?
The Christian alternative to immoral behaviors is not a new list of moral behaviors. It is a profound shift within us through faith in Jesus Christ.
“He has enabled us to be ministers of His new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6 NLT).
So, true transformation is a radical change from the inside out, that unfolds as we read, study, believe, and submit to the truths and teachings of the Bible, and allow God’s spirit to redefine our hearts in the process. We must surrender our heart to God’s word, or what we learn will just become another set of unachievable rules and unreachable expectations in our lives. Here are several ways God uses His word to grow us and change us:
- God’s word guides us. We don’t stumble in darkness anymore. We have the Light. We follow His word, walk in His steps and are empowered to become more like Christ.
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light to illuminate my path” (Psalm 119:105 NLT).
- God’s word convicts us of sin and wrongdoing. We don’t wonder anymore if we’re right or wrong. When we fill our hearts with God’s word, we know when we fall short and ask for the grace to get up when we fall.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT).
- God’s word cleanses us and makes us holy. God’s desire for us is to become purified like gold. His word cleanses our minds and hearts. The more we study and apply God’s word the more we become like Him.
“…to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word” (Ephesians 5:26 NLT).
- God’s word shows us who we have been created to be. When we surrendered our heart to Jesus, we were instantly translated from darkness to light. He gave us a new identity – our true identity. However, we need to acquaint ourselves with this new life continually. We must be intentional and committed to live out the teachings of the Bible for true and lasting change to occur.
“For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like” (James 1:23 NLT).
- God’s word rids our hearts of evil. We can win the battle against sin by humbly accepting God’s word into our lives. It has the power to renew us each day.
“So, get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls” (James 1:21 NIV).
- God’s word instructs and corrects us. The journey to renewing our minds is a daily one. The word of God sheds light on every difficult situation and every moral confrontation.
“All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT).
- God’s word makes our minds new. We renew our minds by studying and living out God’s Word. We ask Him to guide us as we dig into the Bible, and we commit to use the myriad of resources that are available to us.
“Study this book of instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do” (Joshua 1:8 NLT).
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