The power to change our life is a major benefit of repentance and faith in Jesus. However, these changes are not all automatic. Even those changes that happened instantly, when you met the Lord, commonly need maintenance. You need to understand this power you have been given by the Holy Spirit.
Today, we need to grow quickly, becoming useful members of the body—for the time is short. Our rebirth provides for all our needs as we grow into mature faith. But many of these things are assumed. The Lord will enable you to mature at the rate you choose. Let’s talk about how these things work.
Key enablers of the power to change our life
We must ask the Lord and follow the Spirit if we wish to speed our spiritual growth. This does not require massive work or trauma, even though this often seems to be the case. We are expected to react to our personal tribulation by allowing the Lord to change our life. Thank God, the yoke is easy and the burden is light if we turn to Jesus.
Before we meet Jesus and receive His Holy Spirit, our life was controlled by our soul and flesh. We really didn’t have the power to resist sin for very long. Sin works on us through our soul [mind, will, and emotion] and/or our flesh [desires for physical pleasure]. Because of Adam’s sin, our spirits were cut off from God. The direction of your life was controlled by how you thought, what you felt, and what choices you made.
We really had no freedom. We were pushed to and fro by sin and the forces of the world. We didn’t even know that the world is Satan’s system—under his power. Adam’s sin gave Satan the legal rights needed to corrupt everything. But now we are free to choose the Kingdom of God or the world of the enemy.
The power of sin is broken
Paul makes this clear in Romans 6. His argument is that our baptism united us to the Messiah’s death. Spiritually, the penalty of sin has been paid in full by the shed blood on the cross. His great statement of our freedom is seen in verse 7: “For the one who has died is freed from sin.”
Accepting your death [picking up the cross] enables us to choose righteousness instead of sin. Paul wrote it this way in verse 11, …consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. When we are tempted we now have the freedom to say no. After we say no, we simply ask the Lord to change us and deliver us from that temptation. You may need to continue to make statements of faith for a while as this becomes real in your life. But persevere, you will overcome.
We can control our thoughts
In II Corinthians 10: 3-6, Paul tells us, “…though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God…bringing every thought into captivity…” When evil thoughts come into our minds, we can simply believe Jesus and tell those thoughts to go, in Jesus’ name.
Our mind can be transformed
In Romans 12: 1-2, Paul tells us to present ourself as a living sacrifice. Then he says simply that we should “…not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” As we control our thoughts, we ask the Lord give us good thoughts. If we become consumed with fear and worry, we can reject those lying concepts and ask Jesus to reveal the Truth to us.
Put off the old and put on the new
Paul tells us to simply do this—like we are changing our clothes. In Ephesians 4: 17-24, he writes “…from now on you walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their minds…you did not learn about Christ in this manner…you put off the former way of life in the old nature…and be renewed in the spirit of your mind…put on the new nature, which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness.” You decide to not think or act that way, and ask Jesus to make it real, by His Holy Spirit.
Paul gets specific in verses 25-32: telling us to put off “…lying, …speak truthfully…be angry but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give place to the devil…steal no more…labor, working with…things which are good…Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outbursts, and blasphemies, with all malice, be taken away from you. And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you.”
In Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, this is easy—though it may take a bit of time to work it out and make it reality in your life. It’s not done with will power, but by His power. We can’t do it with our soul or flesh. But, we can ask Jesus and allow the Spirit to change us.
We’ve been given amazing freedom
The goal is what John told us in his first letter [verse 3:8b]: “For this purpose the Son of God was revealed, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” We simply have faith and ask Him to do it in us—as it is revealed to us by the Spirit, step by step.