Mind Over Matter

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2 NASB)

At first this may sound ludicrous but did you know there is no such thing as spiritual growth? Look carefully at the passage above. Romans 12:2 does not tell us that we are transformed by the renewing of our spirit, but rather by the renewing of our MIND thus proving (living out in vital display) God’s good, acceptable and perfect will. This is literally how we successfully apply the mind over all of life’s matters. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that we are a product of what we think of ourselves. Therefore, having a radically renewed mindset to all we are, all we have, and all we can do through Christ (Philippians 4:13) is the vital key to radical transformation. It is also absolutely essential to breaking the cycle of defeat from incessant frustration over our failures.

When we are saved our Spirit is born of incorruptible seed without one single strand of sin’s DNA. It never grows old and never dies. Upon the moment of salvation our spirit is Heaven-conceived, totally regenerated, wholly constituted, completely mature and fully loaded with all the make-up of Christ. We are partakers of the righteous nature of God Himself (Colossians 1:27, 2 Peter 1:4). A fully resurrected Christ lives inside of us. However, our flesh has yet to be contended with. This is the process of sanctification and rest assured it is a life long process. Our flesh has the same sinful human tendencies it had before receiving Christ. The outer man will struggle a lifetime, awaiting its glorification (the Kingdom come). However, when we see ourselves in Christ and surrender ourselves to Christ we will naturally begin to break habits and compulsions that hold us captive. Grace awakens the holiness of God inside of us! Once our mind is awakened to who we are in Christ (repentance) then the fruits of holiness and righteousness will assuredly follow (transformation). Holiness is a byproduct of a changed mind. Through the miracle of repentance, precipitated by grace, transformation is not just possible… It is IMMINENT!

Our total salvation in Christ involves three things: justification, sanctification and glorification. Our justification is immediate, our sanctification is life long and our glorification is in the Kingdom to come. Christ is involved in all three and all three are fully promised. As believers when we struggle with sin we must remember that the Holy Spirit is still powerfully at work in us. We shouldn’t worry whether or not He will be successful in that work. Know for certain that the Holy Spirit is exceedingly efficient in purifying us. He will not fail. The very notion that our inner man is struggling for freedom in the outer man is a sure sign that Godly sorrow is producing the desire to change  (2 Corinthians 7:10).

God calls us to more than just moralism. The worldly mind comprehends and even practices morality. But repentance leads to a true change of heart with an authentic desire to live in the fullness of God’s purpose. Repentance is the powerful work of God’s grace to bring us to a place of total freedom. Repentance isn’t mentally flogging ourselves for our failures until we feel some sense of penitence. Grace doesn’t lead us to feel guilty. It leads us to live Godly lives in this present world (Titus 2:12). Repentance isn’t wallowing in the sorrow of our sin. Rather it’s the power to walk away from it.

…From an adaptation of my book GRACE WORKS (pages 119-121).

Mirrors

"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:20 NKJV)

This passage is taken from the famous "Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew 5-7). It wasn't a mountain though. It was actually a small hill called Mt. Eremon located between Caperneum and Tabgha. The natural landscape of this hillside surrounded by a small valley created an amphitheater of sorts, perfect for the word of grace to reverberate into the gathering crowd. It was here that Jesus tells the people that unless their righteousness exceeded (surpassed) the righteousness of the Pharisees they would not be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven. To the typical, self-righteous mindset of their time this was impossible. The Pharisees were supposedly the most righteous on the face of the earth. Who then could enter Heaven? God's standard of righteousness was to be perfect as God Himself was perfect (Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:16). Even the Pharisees knew they weren't as perfect as God. OUR answer to Jesus' question also lies in our concept of righteousness. If making it to Heaven is based on our righteousness (our goodness, godliness, devoutness, etc.) then none of us can make it. The Bible tells us there is no one on the face of earth who is righteous, NO NOT ONE (Psalms 14:3; 53:3; Romans 3:10-12).

At no point in our own efforts are we righteous (in any part, even to the minute level). Only Jesus meets every requirement and standard of God. We must completely get this revelation! Our reliance must not be on perfect performance but But prove yourselves doers of the word and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25 NASB)

The reason we don't produce fruit is because we too often stare into the wrong mirror: the mirror of the Old Covenant, which reminds us of everything we USED TO BE. The Bible tells us the old has passed away and the new is becoming (2 Corinthians 5:17). However, when we look into the right mirror (the mirror of God's grace) We see who we really are in Him and the more intently we gaze into the right mirror, our focus becomes more clear and we see who we really look like: Jesus! Today during my teaching, my German translator rendered it as… “If we remain in the law of liberty (grace) we will enact the ability to change” WOW!

God wants us to be doers of the Word but this is totally contingent on what mirror we look into. The mirror of the old covenant will always reveal imperfection and no matter how hard we try to fix the flaws it will never reveal perfection. The mirror of grace says I’m forgiven, acceptable, holy, free, loved, sinless, complete and perfect. How? Because I am in Christ. This image of who we are in Christ is the only thing that will deeply change us and produce in us the overcoming life. Simply put, when we place our focus and faith on the legal degree of God's grace over our lives (the PERFECT law of LIBERTY) we will become much more effectual doers.

The reason why we can’t grow spiritually is because our born again spirit cannot grow. It is already perfect. We are the righteousness OF GOD (2 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, our spirit is as righteous AS GOD. The implications of this are staggering. As a believer our spirit was born in Heaven and therefore is completely perfect in every way. The facts are, spiritual growth is impossible. However, our mind is what needs the changing. The scripture doesn’t say our spirit needs renewed. It says we are transformed by the renewing of our MIND (Romans 12:1-2). The reason why we don’t grow is because we obsess about growing. But when we live in the right environment (grace) we naturally mature because the conditions are right.

Similar to the mirror of the old Covenant, The Holy Spirit doesn’t remind us about what’s wrong with us. He reminds us constantly about what’s right with us. Therefore, when we stop expending necessary energy through self-effort to make ourselves better, we allow God’s power to put to death the old deeds and bring about effective change compatible to the work of Grace in our life.

Meditate on this until it becomes revelation… You will NEVER be the same again!