“Therefore, I urge you, brothers,” the apostle Paul declared, “in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2, NIV).
As a believer in Christ I am instructed to have a teachable spirit–to be open to the Lord's instruction. I do not have the option to ignore the change the Holy Spirit wishes to continually bring in my life. My whole life should be a “spiritual act worship” to the merciful God who became a living sacrifice for me. If I live a surrendered and holy life, my obedience pleases God. My life becomes one of worship. If I worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24), I offer a yielded heart and mind that seeks to be more like Him. I yearn to grow spiritually. Spiritual transformation is discovered in the renewing of the way I think—allowing the Holy Spirit to mold my attitude and direct my actions. A willingness to be renewed means that I am willing to learn something new in my walk with the Lord. It means that I don't have all the answers, but that I am continually seeking His. “You were taught,” Paul also wrote,” with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4: 23-23, NIV).
“Now you must be holy in everything you do,” Peter wrote, “just as God who chose you is holy” (I Peter 1:15, NLT) However, I cannot live a righteous life until my attitudes and desires are what He wishes. As I am taught and transformed by His Spirit, I discover God’s holiness, and strive to live it. If something is not right in my life, the Holy Spirit reveals it, and I immediately repent. If I also need to grow spiritually in an area, the Holy Spirit reveals it, and I choose to change. As I choose to add His virtues in my life (2 Peter 1:5-7), my heart and mind are open to His sanctifying presence, and I receive His power that makes true change possible. When my heart and mind are constantly renewed, I am able to put off the old self and put on the new one.
God seeks the whole earth for those whose hearts totally belong to Him (I Chronicles 16: 9). To such a person God gives His strength which empowers personal change. When David’s sin with Bathsheba was brought to his attention by Nathan (Psalm 51), David hit the ground in repentance. There was no hesitation in his heart. His example teaches that I need to be spiritually open to the convicting presence of the Holy Spirit. David experienced God’s forgiveness because of his teachable heart. If his heart had been calloused, David would have never been open to Nathan's instruction, and he never would have repented. He would have never been able to cry out “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a loyal spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10, NLT).
When I repent God cleanses my heart, and washes away the sinful impurities that separate me from His love. He promises, “I will give you a clean heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36: 26). Where once my heart was as hard and unyielding as stone, now he promises it shall beat with the pulsating blood of His living sacrifice. Where once calloused inner pain held back God’s spiritual growth in my life, now I shall be energized by His living presence. A new heart and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit fills me with the desire to keep His laws and commandments–not because they are rules to be followed, but because I love Him above all else. His law shall be my delight, and in every way He shall be my God and I shall belong only to Him (Ezekiel 26: 27-28).
“Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear” Jesus told his disciples (Matthew 13:16, NIV). The only way that I will continually discover this promise is to have a teachable spirit and mind that are constantly molded by the hand of God.
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