And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)
The April panhandle morning was hostile, with blustery wind outside the church. Inside the church was welcoming with warm, authentic greetings and hugs as families gather for baptism Sunday. The excitement was audible with the anticipation of souls, young and old, taking a committed step toward a of life transformation.
After the service there were ample wet foot prints across the floor from the soles of souls that had been “buried with Christ in baptism and raised again to walk a new life”. Their faces were radiant, unveiled from fear, embracing the truth of their identity as a child of God.
When we receive that truth of a new identity in Christ, the journey of transformation begins. We all have old identities to take off as we put on the new nature. It is a process, as scripture reads, of “being transformed” and “be constantly renewed“.
The stripping off the of old nature requires letting go of our old fears (delusions from childhood or pain feelings) along with our habitual coping, our actions of reactivity to our perceived danger. Putting on the new nature is about turning away from fear to embrace our true identity in Christ and feeding our soul with His love as we are empowered to be more loving in our actions to others.
22 Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; 23 And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],24 And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 (AMP)
7 Among whom you also once walked, when you were living in and addicted to [such practices]. 8 But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips! 9 Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, 10 And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect [a]knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it. Colossians 3:7-10 (AMP)
If you were to choose to improve your physical body in strength and overall health, it would require attentiveness to activity, eating habits and consistency. A healthy body does not just happen. The same with a renewed soul. God’s spirit that resides within us, His word and His people are our coaches to guide us through the transformation process.
...Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:12b-13 (NIV)
Laboring together [as God’s fellow workers] with Him then, we beg of you not to receive the grace of God in vain [that [a]merciful kindness by which God exerts His holy influence on souls and turns them to Christ, keeping and strengthening them—do not receive it to no purpose]. 2 Corinthians 6:1 (AMP)
In his book After You Believe, Why Christian Character Matters, N. T. Wright says
Christian behavior is basically about “good works” in the sense of doing things which bring God’s wisdom and glory to birth in the world….We are called to be genuine, image-bearing, God-reflecting human beings.
We become “God-reflecting human beings” through our habitual choices to ” not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2 NIV To renew our mind it will take changes in our physiology, in our neurological pathways of old thinking. It is our choice with the help of the divine coach. These changes will take practice, practice, pratice. We must labor together with God to work out this transformation.
I recently asked a coach what are the main components of having a successful team. Two things, inspiration and practicing of the fundamentals over and over. We are on God’s team to bring His wisdom to the world. We get inspiration through understanding our identity as His child, the bearer of His Spirit. (See the resource page for the PDF Who I am in Christ)
The fundamentals are the steps we need to take to accomplish the end game – taking off the old and putting on the new, revealing to the world the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control ).
To “take off the old” we must be aware of our old identity and habitual coping actions. This awareness will help us to be able to let it go of those old habits and focus on the truth.
Focusing on the truth will empower us to “put on the new” identity and action of the Spirit. A new identity or feeling, comes with a change in your thinking and your actions.
This is accomplished by establishing new neurological pathways of thinking. This will take repetition and practice. In Restoration Therapy a simple 4 step process is practiced 60 times in 90 days to begin a transformation of the mind.
THE FOUR STEPS
Step 1: Say what you feel.
Step 2: Say what you Do.
Step 3: Say the truth.
Step 4: Say what you will do differently.
As our soles are stepping through life, our souls can be transformed by choosing to practice these 4 steps, integrating our heart, soul, mind and body into a new way of life. We make the choice, laboring together with the Spirit of our loving God, who will empower us to sustain his wisdom to the world.
39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39 (NLT)