The Tough Question

By Mike Buckingham
As a young believer I loved the verse 2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  However, I kept trying to figure out what I needed to act like to be this new creation not realizing this was only external conformity not an inner transformation. I also thought that if someone more spiritual or older in the Lord prayed for me I would transform. Although this would help and we do need prayer from one another, on it's own this could not bring about the change God was wanting in my life or cause the growth needed.iStock 000004444012XSmall

A tendency or wrong thinking that has crept into many believers is that once we have prayed the prayer of salvation, everything is OK now. Yes it is true that Jesus paid it all but we must learn to be 'in Christ" continually. There is a pursuit of God that must continue in order to abide in Christ, grow and become like Christ and so on. For example, someone may get prayer for an area in their life like healing, fear or worry. Because of the thinking in our society that things should be instant, when we do not feel or see an answer right away we get discouraged instead of understanding that we must walk in faith in Christ.

In 2 Corithians 4:17b in the AMPC says, For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. This is what God is wanting to bring into our lives. The problem is 'this affliction'. We want to get rid of it right away, someone to pray it away or off of us because we think if it is gone then that will be the glory. This is a deceptive lie from the enemy.

For years I have heard people say to me and I have even thought it too, that I have done everything I can, I've repented of everything in my life, I must be clean but I'm not seeing what I want God to do. At this point we must ask the tough question: Is there something wrong with God or is there something wrong with me?  We know there is nothing wrong with God as he is holy and perfect so that leaves us with one option - there has to be something out of line in our life. There are many options as to what that could be but at this time I would like to write about our mind which is a battlefield.

In Ephesians 4:23 AMPC it says, And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude]. The word 'renewed' in this verse means to renovate and reform. I don't know about you but when I hear that word renovate, the thought that comes to mind is a lot of work ahead of me.

Some people seem to like renovating their house for the reward of it being completed  however others would prefer it to stay the same to avoid the process of getting there. We recently stayed at some dear friends home when we were visiting out west. One afternoon we returned to the house and saw all the furniture from the living room stuffed into the kitchen as they were putting new flooring in. My first thought was about the work they had to do to move it all and I wished I would have been there to help. The next day when we returned again to their home after ministering, everything was back in its place with beautiful new flooring. The work and change now feels good and so worth it.

What about us when God wants to renovate our minds for his purposes of eternal value. Why can't I stay the same? Is God picking on me? If he loves me why doesn't he make it easy for me..wave a magic wand and everything is finished?  Romans 8:29 AMPC says, For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was [a]aware and [b]loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. He is molding our lives the way he has planned and he can see his desired result during the process when at times we are only feeling pain.

Romans 12:2 AMPC says Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. Remember Ephesians 4:23 says to be constantly renewed so in other words we are to live constantly renovating. In the natural that sounds unstettled, expensive, exhausting however this is not in the natural but our spirit man. Think of the joys of renovating. Things always improving, getting better, more and more beautiful, secure, built right on a solid foundation and the list goes on. We are becoming more like Christ.

When the renewing of the mind stops the transformation of our lives stops. Legalism and religious tradition can set in as we try to keep doing what we have been doing and trying to make it seem new and fresh like putting wall paper over problems that need to be torn down and rebuilt God's way. People who only do cosmetic renos suffer the consequences over time. I have felt a grieving in the spirit many times when I encounter a believer older in the Lord but the renewing and transformation has been stunted. It's similar to tearing down a wall and then not wanting to finish the job but pretending it's ok even though other parts of the home are being affected. The whole structure becomes weaker and weaker whether we want to acknowledge it or not.

God's way is always best and the only way that is effective.  Let the word challenge your thinking and allow the holy spirit to search you. Thankfully the Holy Spirit is at work in and through us as we surrender to Him. Philippians 1:6 AMPC says, And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

This Week's Verse

 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.  Isaiah 41:10 KJV

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