Change begins not in circumstances, but in the mind, and by the renewing of your mind.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing Alright today? Oh, I feel fine, thank you. Nice of you to ask. I feel great, praise the Lord, and it’s such a privilege to share God’s Word with you. What we’re doing right now is looking at Romans 12:1-2 as part of a commentary on Psalm 23 verse 6, “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”. God’s goodness. The will of God is good and you have opportunity to prove that that is so, by the way you live. “Be not conformed to this world”, that’s where we were the last time.The world system. He’s not talking here about the world of mountains and streams and flowers and trees and birds and blue skies, he’s talking about the world system. The world system that says, “Me first”- the world system that says you can get along better without obeying God. The world system that puts material possessions above spiritual achievements. The world system that is under the domination, the Bible tells us, “Of the Prince, of the power, of the air, the spirit, are not worketh in the children of disobedience”. Satan is his name, the world system. You do not have to cave in to peer pressure from people around you who are not saved and who are serving Satan.
You don’t have to cave in to the pressure to use drugs and to engage in illicit sex and to drink and carouse and break the law, and all that. You don’t have to cave in. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to good deal to that subtle pressure to put yourself first in order to succeed in the world, with all of the things that it leads to. There was a survey that was done some years ago, four or five I guess, I read it in one of the national magazines, a survey of university students, many of whom, a high percentage of whom, that is to say something over 80 percent said, you have to cheat in order to make it. You have to cheat on exams and otherwise in order to make the grade, and so the world system says, how to succeed- “cheat.” No, you don’t have to do that. God is able to make all grace, all that is grace, abound toward you that ye always, not sometimes, ALWAYS having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. God is able, so let Him run your life and refuse to be jammed into the world’s mold of “me first” and things first and sensation and satisfaction first. That’s the world’s way of doing it. Christ first, “Seek ye first”, Jesus said, “the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”. Where are the happy homes? Are they the homes where mother and father are cheating on each other? No. They’re the homes where people are praying and walking with God and being faithful. Where are the really successful businesses? Are they the business where people are cutting out each other’s throats financially, shrewd tactics and all of that? Sharp, what the law calls sharp practice, just barely within the law? No. They’re the relationships where people are true and honest and trustworthy and fair. You can prove for yourself that the right way to live is not to cave in to the world’s standards, but you have the encouragement now, of God’s inspired, infallible Word the Bible, that says don’t be jammed into the world’s mold, don’t be schematized with the world’s blueprint, don’t be building your life according to the world’s plans, don’t cave in to peer pressure. When you decide that Jesus is more important than the opinions of the crowd, you will probably for the first time, be aware of how good the Lord is to you.
Now, “Don’t be conformed”, said he, “but be transformed”. You who study your Bible know that that’s our English word metamorphosis, brought right straight over from the Greek. Transformed metamorphosis, what is a metamorphosis? Well, if you studied science you remember the story of the caterpillar and the butterfly, don’t you? The caterpillar covered with fuzz, 22 legs, crawling, eating leaves, finally spins himself a little silken home and stays inside for a matter of weeks and comes out entirely transformed. We say he has been undergoing a metamorphosis, and that means that he is changed from the caterpillar into the butterfly. He went in with fuzz, he comes out with wings. He went in with 22 feet or more, he comes out with six legs. He went in eating leaves, he comes out eating nectar. He went in crawling, he came out flying. He went in with the color that seemed to be built into his hide, so to speak, he comes out with wings that are colored with beautiful microscopic scales of various colors. Different. Same life, but different, transformed. He said, “Don’t be jammed into the world’s mold but be transformed”. Undergo that blessed metamorphosis where the Holy Spirit of God takes the person that is you and instead of crawling, allows you to fly, in God’s wonderful plan for your life.
Transformed, how does that happen? Well, there’s a passage that occurs to me now as I ask that question, it’s over in second Corinthians, “we all with open face, beholding as in a glass”, that’s a reference to the Word of God. Go over to the book of James and you’ll find that he calls the Word of God a looking glass. “Beholding as in a looking glass in the Word of God, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even is by the Spirit of the Lord we are changed into the same image”, His image that is to say. To be like the Lord Jesus Christ. Change into the same image from glory to glory. You never get over being thrilled by the presence and glory of the blessed Lord revealed to you by the Holy Spirit of God.
One of the facts of human existence is that any given thrill loses its effect proportionately as time goes on. It’s the law of diminishing returns. If you’re on dope, it takes more dope to give you a high, and if you’re experimenting with illicit sex it takes more experimentation to produce the same results that you’re after. If you’re drinking it takes more liquor to a get you as drunk as you want to be, and so on. It’s the law of diminishing returns, any given thrill diminishes in its impact, in its effectiveness as time goes by, so it takes more of whatever it is, but here you have just the opposite. From glory to glory. God gives you some blessing, then He gives you more and then He gives you more than that. I remember hearing Merv Rosell say one time when he was starting out a message at Winona Lake, he said, “I’m so blessed”, he said, “if it gets any better I don’t know what I’m going to do”. It does get better, it does get better and thank God it does. There isn’t any hangover the morning after you have yielded yourself to Jesus Christ. There isn’t any “I wish I hadn’t done that”, there isn’t any regret. It’s from glory to glory, transformed, be transformed. God reveals Himself to you through the indwelling Spirit of God and through the Word of God applied to your life, and in that relationship you begin to understand how good He is.
How wonderfully good our Heavenly Father is when you allow Him to begin to transform the person that is you into; it’ll be the same person, but an entirely different mold of existence. It’s a great prospect, isn’t it? You don’t have to cave in to the world’s pressures, you can be changed God-ward and heavenward, you can be moved in the direction of being more like the Lord Jesus. “We all with open face, beholding as in a glass, a mirror”, that’s the word of God, “the glory of the Lord our changed into the same image to be like the Lord Jesus Christ”. The result of my study of the Bible and yours must be that we get to be more like the Lord Jesus. That means the fruit of the spirit will be evident in our lives, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. He begins to change you in those strategic areas of life. My friend, if you’re growing in grace, you ought to be easier to live with; gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, those virtues are in there as well as love, joy, and peace. If you’re being changed and transformed to be more like the Lord Jesus, the control of God in your life ought to be more evident because that word temperance has to do with inner strength, doesn’t it? God’s control over your life, easier to live with, more controlled by the blessed Spirit of God working in your life. Oh, let that be so, for everyone of us.
Well now he says, “Be transformed”, the transformation comes as you look into the Word of God in the Holy Spirit of God applies it to your life and the Lord Jesus Christ becomes visible in you. See, the only Jesus that people will ever know until they themselves come to know and trust Him and read the Word and pray, the only Jesus that the unsaved will ever know, is the one they see in your life. Paul said to his friends when he wrote to them, “Ye are our epistle, our letter, known and read of all men”. People read you like they read a letter and when they do they begin then to evaluate what you say you stand for. Your life is like a letter being read by people and when they read you, they begin to evaluate the Savior whom you say you trust and to whom you have committed your life. See, the only estimate of the Lord Jesus Christ that the unsaved can have until they know Him themselves is what they find in you and in me. Not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind. Now, before this broadcast is over, let me drop this one very important thought into your own heart; change begins not in circumstances, but in the mind by the renewing of your mind. Change begins in the mind. What are you thinking about is the question. Are your thoughts moving in the direction of God’s perfect, holy will? Where are your thoughts? Well, you have to answer that for yourself, but I can tell you this, that when you take thoughts that ought not to be in your mind and you bring them by faith to the Lord Jesus, He does handle them. You don’t have to try vainly to repress them, to have them pop up some of the time from your unconscious mind, but you can bring as Paul says 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”. You can turn your thoughts over to the Lord Jesus and He can make you think His way and when He does you will start to be different. Change begins in a mind yielded to Christ.
Dear Father today, may we have minds that have been transformed by the Presence of the Holy Spirit of God, acting on the blessed Word, we ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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