Some people call this transformation process “sanctification.” As a believer in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit indwelling you, and you have the power to change.
As Christians, there are times when there is inherent change by the power of the Gospel, but there are other times when we need to pursue this change. Romans 12:2 tells us, “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.”
Notice that this verse tells us that we have a choice – “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Let’s explore just a few of the spiritual disciplines – or choices – we make to be transformed into Christ-likeness.
Know the Bible
This is foundational to the others we will explore below – prayer and obedience. When we know what God has to say about something through His word, we can pray about things according to His will. We can also act in obedience, doing those things we know He commands us to do.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing the division of the soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
When we know the word of God, the result is conviction. And what can result from conviction? True transformation.
Our first act as a Christian is prayer, when we tell Christ we believe He is Who He says He is, receive the salvation He offers and ask Him to invade our hearts and lives. This is the starting point of true transformation.
Let’s take the example of the man who had a demon-possessed boy. He asked Jesus to heal his son. Then he said in Mark 9:24, “…help me in my unbelief.”
First of all, this man was brutally honest – with himself and with Jesus. He acknowledged his weakness and prayed for more faith and to be changed. Christ esteems our sincerity. It is also His will, according to the Bible, that we believe Him. He will never deny the kind of change He tells us He wants to see in us.
Jesus also tells us to pray for our enemies. In Matthew 5:44, He puts it this way: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
This might not change our circumstances, but it can change our hearts. When you continually pray for someone who has wronged you, or someone with whom you have a strained relationship, the result is a more Christ-like attitude – one of love and compassion for the offender.
When we earnestly serve God, doing that which He has commanded, change is inevitable. Let’s look at Romans 6:16:
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?
The context of the word “slave” in this verse does not have the negative connotation that many may read into it. The original Greek word used in this text is doulos, from the root word, deo, which means “to bind.” So, a “slave” in this sense is one who is bound to obedience and righteousness, if he so chooses the path of submission to God.
When God is our Master, we are bound to Him. We obey, and we are transformed.
*All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible.
We have resources to help you on your path to becoming more Christ-like. Check out Pursuing More of Jesus, by Anne Graham Lotz. This book, along with other related titles, are available at Ruth’s Attic Online.