As believers we have been accepted as sons and daughters of God and are covered by Jesus’ sacrifice, we are justified. But what comes after that is what’s been on my heart recently. At YWAM Maui it is our goal to raise up men and women of Christ to walk in the truth of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit, becoming more like Jesus every day.
This is the process of sanctification. It doesn’t happen in a moment but starts the day we are saved and continues until the day we reach heaven. We are being transformed from one degree of glory to the next by the Spirit of God.
We are justified and adopted in a moment, but sanctification comes through grace-driven effort. It takes us moving toward the things of God.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
We are called to set our minds on the things above and not of earth.
This is one reason the Bible is so important for the children of God, because it is God’s divine words to us that instruct us in every area of life. It helps us to recognize the things that we’ve been believing that are not true. We receive much of what we believe from our upbringing and our culture, but the Bible points us to God’s ultimate truth. Once we’ve realized things that don’t align, it’s then up to us to surrender what we’ve believed and to accept God’s truth. I ask, ‘Why would we want to believe something that is not true?’
This is where putting things to death begins to come into play.
Colossians 3: 5-9 tells us to put to death what is earthly within us; Sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires, covetousness, which is idolatry, anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk, and deceit. As God doesn’t push Himself on us, it is our choice to put these things to death or to hold on to them. Putting these things to death is hard. It takes effort, surrender and a whole lot of Holy Spirit. For a while it takes intentionality, but in time your mind will get renewed to the point where you’re not battling yourself all the time or continually reminding yourself. Recognizing the things that cause us to drift from the Lord becomes more natural and we begin to desire the things that pull us closer to Him.
To renew our minds is to take every thought captive. It means saying, “I’m going to watch what I’m thinking and make sure it lines up with what God says.”
This isn’t just taking our outward thoughts captive, but also how we view and speak to ourselves. We are our own biggest critics and we so easily believe lies about ourselves. It is just as important for us to take our thoughts about ourselves captive as it is to take our perceptions of others, and our sinful desires captive. It’s only when we truly understand who God says we are that we can begin to walk out in our true identity with confidence and truly love those around us.
God desires for us to press into Him, have our minds renewed, be serious about putting anything and everything to death that might be sinful or might hinder our love for Him, and delight in Him. As we spend time with Him we begin to recognize his voice more clearly. It takes less effort, and becomes more of a natural desire for us to seek the things of the Lord and not the world. As we get to know Him more, our love grows more deeply, as does our desire to honor Him and live our lives in a way that brings Him glory.
Romans 12:2 says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Let us each draw nearer to the Lord.
By Kari Kalhagen