Jeremiah 3:15-16 says, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.

           The prophecy from the Lord through Jeremiah speaks of God’s promise to give us shepherds to feed us with knowledge and understanding that would cause increase in the lives of His people. This would cause them to cease following the Ark of the Covenant and from even talking about it. One aspect of the significance of the Ark in its time was that it was always to go before them in leading them into their destiny into the Promised Land (Joshua 3:3, 4). The Ark would always be in front of them leading them to victory in battle.

           Some believers have the mistaken idea that all they need is Jesus and they can get knowledge from the abundance of teachers in the Body of Christ without having a pastor. We need more than knowledge.  We need training and voices of authority in our life.  There is a leadership anointing through a pastor in the house of God, believers need to learn to receive and draw from. When you pull yourself away from voices God has given for equipping, training, and to keep you from being scattered, you’re only left with yourself as your own authority.  You’ll submit only to yourself and do only what’s right in your own eyes.

The New Testament, word of His grace (Acts 20:32), says that it is God Who gave us Pastors. They are shepherds and father-like ones God has given us to be one of the channels of His grace to us. Ephesians 4:8 – 11 says, “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” They are a part of His design for our life and His Church. This is not a day to be without the gift of a Pastor in your life

           The book of Judges is a documented history of people doing what was right in their own eyes and as a result were driven out of the Promised Land.  It’s not listening to a man of God above the Bible but serving the Lord Jesus is also not just about acquiring knowledge alone.  We need a voice outside ourselves in order to stay objective. Sheep without a shepherd are scattered (Ezekiel 34:5) and faint (Matthew 9:36).

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We are living in the Last Days; a time described as perilous, but also a time of Harvest.  Our Heavenly Father is going to reap every willing soul from the seed of His Son. We will experience increase – supernatural increase.  How will we experience the increase?  It is only to the degree we align ourselves to His purpose.  He is going to fulfill His purpose and it is primarily local churches that God will be using to reap and keep the harvest.  The local church is the place to be in the Last Days.  We will experience increase.

God also has safety for you in the Local Church through your shepherd.  Numbers 27:15-17 says, “15 And Moses spake unto the Lord, saying, 16 Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, 17 Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd.

This verse exhorts the congregation of the Lord not to be a sheep without a shepherd. Sheep with no shepherd are scattered as 1 Kings 22:17 says, “And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.” Scatter implies there is a force that drives parts or units irregularly in many directions. People can become scattered (distracted/disorganized/driven) in different ways other than through physical distance. You can become scattered in your thinking, marriage, health, and lifestyle. Scattered sheep become meat for predators, “And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered Ezekiel 34:5.”

There is safety from being scattered through your shepherd. God uses the shepherd to keep us from being scattered, from becoming meat to all the beasts of the field, and to restore your soul as Psalm 23 reveals:

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Jesus is the Chief Shepherd but He is not going to come down here and preach a sermon to you.  He is on the right hand of God but He gave you a gift of a pastor to help you & restore you. Jesus is not going to come down and prepare a table in the presence of enemies.  He already did it.  The table is His Word – just come and eat. Shepherds help the Great Shepherd serve what He prepared at His table. Your enemies are still out there but they are not invited to the table; only the sheep are. As long as you stay at the table, goodness and mercy will follow you not your enemies.  You will not be scattered or meat to every beast of the field

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Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Psalm 107:8-9 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

            When we get saved, we get our first taste of the goodness and mercy of God. It is only a taste and only the beginning of it because Psalm 23:5, 6 tells us God has prepared a table for us in the presence of our enemies and that goodness and mercy would follow us all the days of our life   In the New Testament the Bible says there are things He has prepared for us that our eyes have not seen or our ears heard 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10. When will we experience them? God builds us up and brings us what He has prepared for us by revelation (illumination) of His Word. Personally as we feed upon His Word at home and corporately as we hear His Word in the Church, that feeding and hearing the Word helps to transform our lives and renew our minds.

            There is something unique and special about the Word we hear at Church. The Word we hear at Church is designed by God to help us grow in knowledge, redeem the time, and get back lost time. A preacher on average typically may spend ten to fifteen hours of study (some more and some less) gathering revelation from the Word of God through prayer and gives it to us in an hour or more. It is really more than that because they are drawing from their years of experience beyond the immediate time of study. Church can be the best investment of time we can make all week. Remember the richness, goodness, and fullness of our salvation is only gained through knowledge revealed by the Spirit of God from the Word of God. We can do what is one of the most time redemptive things anyone can do which is go to Church. We cannot afford to miss what God’s prepared for us, so go to Church and taste and see that the Lord is good.

Hearing God’s Word at Church can be the best investment of time and the most time redemptive (Ephesians 5:16) thing we do all week. The many hours of experience the preacher draws from and many hours of preparation for each message, we can get in an hour or more.

No time for Church? Hearing God’s Word at Church can be the best investment of time and the most time redemptive (Ephesians 5:16) thing we do all week. The many hours of experience the preacher draws from and many hours of preparation for each message, we can get in an hour or more.

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Psalm 27:13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Proverb 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Lamentations 3:22-23 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Why is it that some people seem to recover so well from tragic circumstances, painful experiences, and traumatic events while others are debilitated for life by similar circumstances? Some believers may even have a prolonged season of a letdown of spirituality. (I am not talking about times of the loss of a loved one when it is normal to feel down, to feel grief, and to have to work through it). More often than not it is because satan gains a stronghold (2 Cor. 10:4, 5) in one’s life when he attaches a lie to the circumstance, experience, and event. People then believe the lie instead of rejecting the thought. He is a cruel, merciless, and a mean devil.

The lie can damage a person more in the long run than the tragedy, pain, and trauma. The devil and demon powers fire off thoughts at a machine gun rate like: “You are no good; no one loves you; it is all your fault; this proves God doesn’t love you; this is how you have to live now; you can’t trust anyone anymore; if God cared He wouldn’t have let this happen; no one would ever love you if they knew about you; you are doomed to a life of misery; it’s all your fault; you are never going to be happy again; and you are damaged goods, nobody wants you.”

All are lies from the liar in chief, the devil. The Good News is that although we cannot change the past we can change our thinking; we can change our present experience of life and our future. As Believers, nothing in our past can doom us to unhappiness for the rest of our life. It is only our thought life that has the power to make us chronically miserable because of something that happened in the past. Painful experiences can wound and hurt us deeply but unless that painful experience is kept alive by unhealthy thinking or believing the devil’s lies, that past event can only harm us for a limited time. Often it is our own mind and our own thoughts that are making us miserable. We have to sort our thoughts in line with God’s Word and do as Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

God’s plan and path for our life is to be brighter and brighter as the rising of the Sun until it reaches its peak. God’s mercies are new every morning we awake. He can give us a life we love and full of good days. No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly (Ps. 84:11). We are not damaged goods and we can experience the Lord’s goodness again and again. The devil is a liar. Psalm 107:8 says, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”

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            Do you realize that we see whatever we are trained to see? A lot of what we see is determined by how much we have allowed the Word of God to renew our minds.  In the OT story of the 12 spies going into the Promised Land ten spies came back with an evil report of unbelief because they said they saw the giants and were in their own sight as grasshoppers in the sight of the giants. They said we cannot possess the land for the enemy is stronger than we are. Joshua and Caleb said we are well able to go up at once to take the land. They saw the same giants but said “we can possess the land.” What God had said had affected what Joshua and Caleb saw (Numbers 13:21-33).

            The Word of God renewing our mind can help us see things differently including in our relationships with people and what we see and how we see them. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  There are many things to think on but the Bible says think on these things. This certainly can be applied to what we think about people and it is amazing how it will influence how we see them.  In the Amplified Bible 1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything without weakening.” Thinking this way can help you to see the good in people and not just the bad. It can help you to become more forgiving, patient, and encouraging.

            This is not ignoring the depravity of fallen men or our cultural slide racing toward judgment. This is not suggesting we ignore obvious sin, transgression, or disobedience because we have a responsibility to reprove and restore a sinning believer Ephesians 5:11, 12, Galatians 6:1, 2 as a part of bearing one another’s burdens.  From that responsibility we can sometimes have a tendency to always look for the bad in people instead of trying to catch people doing things right. It is very easy in these perilous times and the darkness surfacing the worst in human behavior (2 Timothy 3:1-5) to become very cynical and negative about people. The Word of God renewing our mind (Romans 12:1-3) can help us avoid the common habit of “fault finding” to the exclusion of “good finding.” Too many times we are inclined to notice what our children, spouse, friends, family, employees, or members of our group are doing wrong before we have taken the trouble to find out what they are doing right.

            REMEMBER, you can rate anyone in two ways:  By his failures or his successes. Until a few years ago, Babe Ruth held two world’s records.  He struck out 1,330 times and he hit 714 home runs.  The world could have remembered him for either record.  It chose to honor him for his successes. When people have failed us we can choose to remember the times they came through for us.

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Proverb 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he….”

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

            Do you realize what determines the kind of person you will be? It is not your education, how much money you have, or how you look. It is what you think and believe. What you think determines what you do and what you feel. The Bible says, “As he (a person) thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) When we think right thoughts, we have right feelings, and we do right things. But when we think wrong thoughts, have wrong or unpleasant feelings, and we do wrong things.

The mind is the leader of all action. On a spiritual level, our thoughts influence our beliefs. As the late Dr. Kenneth E. Hagin so aptly put it, “Wrong thinking leads to wrong believing and wrong believing leads to wrong receiving” (or not receiving). Why is Proverb 23:7 true?

Thoughts influence attitudes.
Attitudes affect our actions.
Actions become habits.
Habits become a lifestyle.

As a man thinketh in his heart so is he…. That doesn’t mean we are our thoughts no matter what they are. That is not true because we can have wrong thoughts and we are supposed to sort our thoughts according to Philippians 4:8 which says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” We shouldn’t believe every thought in our head but filter and sort them through the standard of God’s Word.

            The Bible tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Even though we are told to do it, very few Christians really understand the need and why it is not an option. God never gives us commands just for His benefit. God is smarter than we are. Our mind needs renewed and upgraded to think like God thinks. If we refuse to take the upgrades we shouldn’t complain that our experience in this New Year isn’t new. God’s thinking (revealed in His Word) always upgrades our thinking.

            Some Christians do not realize the need to renew their minds to the Word of God but the Fall of man affected all men and all of man spirit, soul, and body. When Adam sinned he died spiritually (Rm. 5:12) and real damage was done by spiritual death entering in to the human race (Ephesians 2:1-3). After we get saved and eternal life enters our spirit man there is still a war going on for the control of our thinking and emotions within our soul (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). We must take our thoughts captive that are contrary to the Word of God or they will take us somewhere other than the plan and will of God for our life. It is there that the enemy’s strongholds (points of control established while we were spiritually dead) need pulled down. There is a fight for control from the old master (satan) who had the power of spiritual death Hebrews 2:14, 15.

            We do not automatically think like God after we are saved although the power to do so has been purchased by Jesus on the Cross. Isaiah 55:8, 9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God’s thoughts, on any given subject are higher than our thoughts. His thoughts are superior to our thoughts. We can still think carnally. We can still fall short of the glory of God in our thoughts.

            The Good News is that God has given us His Word and if we will receive it within our spirits the life in His Word and our spirit will begin to renew and transform our thinking. James 1:21 says, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”

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Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

           The beginning of a transformed life for every human being is to be born again (a New Birth), receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior Romans 10:9, 10. Instantly our spirit nature is transformed by the Spirit of God and God’s grace. Christians need to realize their mind is the same before and after the New Birth. Receiving salvation does not guarantee a Christian will automatically live a victorious transformed life here on Earth. The potential is there from receiving salvation but the process of renewing their mind must take place for them to be changed into Christ-likeness. A transformed life is one that is radically altered and noticeably different. It is real change not play like or pretend change. Every Christian, without exception, needs a mind renewed to the pattern of Christ’s mind. Our behaviors, feelings, attitudes, and actions all begin in the mind. In order to change them a part of the mind needs renewed.

           The same mind that created the universe (Colossians 1:15-19), with the same potency is in us, in our spirit as Christians. First Corinthians 2:16 says WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST yet Philippians 2:5 tells us to LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU. It is because the mind of Christ is within our spirit nature and we are to let it be in our natural mind. A renewed mind is the mind of Christ controlling our thinking, feeling, attitude, and actions. By grace, we have been given the mind of Christ. It is another provision of the awesome grace of God. The hope of change is Christ in us, the hope of glory. We should never say, “I can’t change.” “I can’t” is simply a defense mechanism against doing a new thing. It is saying the mind of Christ and what Jesus did on the Cross to make it a provision of God’s grace was not enough.

           As we allow the Word of God implanted in our spirit to renew our mind (James 1:21) we need to keep in mind that God loves us before we get our mind renewed (Romans 5:8). God is committed to our maturity and will complete what He started. We are predestined to be conformed into Christ likeness (Romans 8:29) and He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and to help us (Romans 8:26). Never give up, get frustrated, or lose sight of God’s commitment to the process. He will complete what He started.  Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

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2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Members of the Church which is the Body of Christ have a purpose and destiny for their life on Earth. We cannot accomplish what God has for us if we think we are still the people we used to be or do not believe that we are who God says we are. Our decisions determine the direction of our life but most often we make decisions based on the way we see ourselves.

When God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt, He destined them for the Promised Land, the Land of Canaan. God was ready to bring them into their place of destiny but they postponed their own destiny for forty years because of the way they saw themselves. They said, “we saw the giants, and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers; and so we were in their sight (Numbers 13:33). No one can reach their full potential and destiny in God until they believe they are who God says they are. Acknowledge and accept your true identity which is “in Christ.”

These statements further describe our identity in Christ. We need to ask the Lord to establish our hearts in these truths. We can say them out loud about ourselves because they are true spiritual facts of our redemption in Christ.

Since I am in Christ, by the grace of God:

I have been justified-completely forgiven and made righteous (Rom. 5:1).

I died with Christ and died to the power of sin’s rule over my life (Rom. 6:1-6).

I am free forever from condemnation (Rom. 8:1).

I have been placed into Christ by God’s doing (1 Cor. 1:30).

I have received the Spirit of God into my life that I might know the things freely given to me by God
(1 Cor. 2:12).

I have been given the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

I have been bought with a price; I am not my own; I belong to God (1 Cor. 6:19,20).

I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God in Christ, and I have been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge guaranteeing my inheritance to come (2 Cor. 1:21; Eph 1:13,14).

Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Christ (2 Cor. 5:14,15).

I have been made righteous (2 Cor. 5:21).

I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I am now living I live by faith (Gal. 2:20).

I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3).

I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before Him
(Eph. 1:4).

I was predestined by God to be adopted or placed as God’s son (Eph. 1:5).

I have been redeemed, forgiven, accepted, and I am a recipient of His exceeding grace (Eph.1:6, 7).

I have been made alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:5).

I have been raised and seated with Christ in Heaven (Eph. 2:6).

I have direct access to God through the Spirit (Eph. 2:18).

I may approach God with boldness, freedom, and confidence (Eph. 3:12).

I have been rescued from the domain of Satan’s rule and transferred to the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13).

I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. The debt against me has been canceled (Col. 1:14).

Christ Himself is in me the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).

I am firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built up in Him (Col. 2:7).

I have been spiritually circumcised. My old unregenerate nature in my spirit has been removed (Col. 2:11).

I have been made complete in Christ (Col. 2:10).

I have been buried, raised, and made alive with Christ (Col. 2:12,13).

I died with Christ and I have been raised up with Christ. My life is now hidden with Christ in God. Christ is now my life (Col. 3:1-4).

I have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Tim. 1:7).

I have been saved and set apart according to God’s doing (2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5).

Because I am sanctified and am one with the Sanctifier, He is not ashamed to call me brother
(Heb. 2:11).

I have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to findmercy and grace in time of need
(Heb. 4:16).

I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I am a partaker of God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).

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2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

            The biggest battle every believer faces is the battle for the mind. The mind is the strategic battlefield where satan and evil spirits contend against the truth of God’s Word. Our thought life influences both our beliefs and our behavior. We cannot always believe everything we think because what we think isn’t always in line with God’s Word. We have to filter every thought through the standard of God’s Word (Phil. 4:8) and bring into captivity every thought contrary to the Word of God.

            Many Christians do not fully understand this battle in their mind for their thoughts. They assume that all thoughts in their mind are their thoughts and that every thought is a reflection of who they are or the way life is. They therefore reason that there is not much that can be done to change their thoughts. They live their life like they believe “All my thoughts are my own, coming from my own heart and mind and are just something I need to live with.”  They don’t recognize things such as negative thinking as negative thinking; anxious thinking as anxious thinking; depressed thinking as depressed thinking; or critical thinking as critical thinking. They see it as normal and their own thinking. They do not sort or screen any thoughts and as a result the enemy can build a stronghold, fortress, or place in their thinking to manipulate them from.

What they need to learn is that Jesus paid the price for us to have the mind of Christ which is given to us as a provision of grace but it must be possessed. The Word of God is the standard of the mind of Christ and we need to examine every thought in the light of it. Winning the battle for the mind is a process we can learn to RECOGNIZE; RESIST; and REPLACE.

1. RECOGNIZE that it is your mind (Rm.12:2) but every thought in it is not yours (Eph.2:2,3; 2 Cor.4:4).

We can control our mind like we can control our hand or feet. It is under the dominion of our “will.”

2. RESIST every thought contrary to the Word of God and demolish it by speaking the Word of God against it 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Matt. 4:1-10).

Spiritual warfare has a destructive aspect to it. Thoughts we put off or tear down.

3. REPLACE every wrong thought with God’s Word (Phil. 4:8) and renew your mind with it (Rm. 12:2).

Spiritual warfare has a constructive aspect to it. Thoughts we put on or build into us.

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Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

            Christians are not to blend in with the world’s crowd but we should stand out in a crowd. God’s plan once we are saved is to change us to look, act, and think like Jesus.  Our destiny and what He has predestined for us is to be fashioned and formed into the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29).  His main process to accomplish this transformation is called the renewing of the mind (Rm. 12:2) (and saving of the soul James 1:21).

            God’s plan of the renewing the mind is to change all of this conformity from the world and transform us into Christ-likeness. The only true and secure source of identity comes from who God says we are in Christ. At salvation old things are passed away and all things are become new. What has become new is our new identity called “In Christ.” The word “transformed” means to change into another form; it is a shaping; molding; forming and fashioning from the inside; it is a radical alteration and noticeable change. It is all about change but it never happens without our cooperation.

            Before we received eternal life we were spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. All of us have been conformed from living in a fallen state which made us subject to being conformed (Eph. 2:1-3) to ungodly influences, forces, and powers. The word conformed means to shape one’s behavior, fashion, mold, or shape one thing into another; to give the same fashion, figure, or appearance to.  It stresses change from the outside. Aside from what the nature of spiritual death in our spirit, these conforming influences (Eph. 2:1-3) and our responses to them have made us or shaped us in our souls. This is who we are as a result of the Fall of  Man and being in Adam (1 Cor. 15:22, 23) as natural descendants of the human race (Rm. 5:12).

            Without this change from the renewing of the mind we create and are controlled by a false basis of identity (who we are and where we come from). A false basis of identity is based on and is the result of being shaped, molded, and conformed from:

PAST EXPERIENCES – what life has said we are.  If life experiences define our identity or who we are then whatever has happened to us in our past determines our now and future and fixes us on a course like a robot with no hope of change.

PERFORMANCE – what our actions say we are.  If this defines who we are we feel good about ourselves as long as we are doing good but miserable if we are doing bad.  The problem is that good people make mistakes, fail, and can do bad things.

PEOPLE’S OPINIONS – what people say we are.  If people’s opinions define us it makes us subject to being manipulated, dominated, and intimidated by people.

PERSONAL PERCEPTION – what we have concluded and perceived about ourselves.  We can be deceived and self-absorbed and not always think objectively about ourselves.  What we perceive may not be the truth or reality.

POSITION – what our occupation or positions we hold say we are.  Problem is that our occupations and positions can change as time passes.

            None of us consistently acts different from the way we see themselves. The renewing of the mind helps us to behold or see ourselves as God’s Word says we are. The only true and secure source of identity comes from who God says we are in Christ. We must renew our minds to who we are in Christ. This is only found in God’s Word.

            When we talk of conforming to the world we mistakenly think of it only in terms of outwardly observable things such as what we wear, where we go, and what we do but what about the way we think, feel, decide, talk, and what we value?  These are not always outwardly observable by others. Many have the same fears, moods, attitudes, reasonings, thinking, talking, and values.  This is also being conformed to the world.

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