God's Help for Hard Times
Biblical Keys to Overcome Pain, Fear and Hardship
By James L. Morrisson with Maria Kneas
Renewing Our Minds
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12 :2)
In order to deal with pain and hardship, we must think Scripturally instead of thinking the way that the world does.
The theme of transformation runs throughout the New Testament. God does not want us to stay where we are. He wants us to change -- radically. Change is often difficult and can be painful. But it is what God wants and expects of us.
A Radical Transformation
God expects that, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we will be radically changed, transformed. The Greek word is metamorphoo. This transformation is to be a metamorphosis, of a magnitude at least comparable to that by which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. God expects us to become totally different.
Scripture uses many different images to express the change that should occur:
"a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). We really become a new species. Scripture speaks of the first Adam who was earthly and fell into sin, and the second Adam (Jesus Christ) who was sinless and holy (1 Corinthians15:44-49). (Also see Romans 5:12-19) It says that we will bear the likeness of the second Adam.
But we all, with open [unveiled] face beholding as in a glass [mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthian 3:18).
"renewed in the spirit of [our] mind" (Ephesians 4:23).
We are to be
"You were taught, 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. (Eph 4:22-24).
We live by the Spirit and not by the flesh (Galatians 5:16; Romans 8:3).
We become "instruments of righteousness" rather than "instruments of unrighteousness (Romans 6:I3).
We have "been buried with him by baptism into death" so that we may "walk in newness of life" (Romans6:4)
"I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians2:20).
We have "been made free from sin" and have "become servants to God" (Romans 6:22). We are no longer servants" of sin unto death," but have become servants "of obedience unto righteousness" (Romans 6:16).
God has "delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Colossians1:13).
Our citizenship and our allegiance have been changed. We have become adopted children of God (John 1:12-13; Romans 8:5-16) .
We are born again (John 3:3,5); born from above, of the Spirit and not the flesh.
Each of these images, in a different way, emphasizes the magnitude of the change that is expected. Each is dramatic and astonishing in itself. Their cumulative effect is even more powerful. We are talking about a tremendous transformation. It should be visible to others, but its internal effect should be far greater than what others can perceive.
If a person is not significantly changed by their salvation, then we are entitled to wonder whether their salvation was genuine.
We are supposed to be salt and light to the world, and to let our light shine before men (Matthew 5:13-16). We need to so live that the difference between Christians and non-Christians is inescapable. We need to stand, boldly and clearly, for what we believe.
The Fruit of Transformation
What is the result of this metamorphosis? Scripture states it in a number of different ways, which overlap and can be seen as different ways of expressing the same basic concept. Scripture often does this, because our minds are inadequate to comprehend -- and our language inadequate to express-the full scope of God's revelation to us.
Developing Godly Character
The whole concept can be summed up by saying that our character is to become more and more like God's character. We are to "put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24).
"...ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Colossians 3:9-10)
Copyright 2012 by James L. Morrisson, Frances F. Morrisson and Maria M. Kneas
You can dowload a free PDF file of the book at: www.GodsHelpForHardTimes.com
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