The best advice I can give to you on this new year’s day if you really want to go God’s way, is to stop trying to change yourself -trying to be different, trying to become what you are not. This is fleshly, human self-effort. It is totally useless and absolutely unnecessary! You are not what you were because you are now in Christ. This has nothing to do with your efforts or your actions. It is one hundred per cent the work of God. He has totally re-created you in Christ. Now, you are a new creation and he is transforming you from within by the Holy Spirit.
The secret lies in learning to be conscious of Jesus and his glory in you. Everything Jesus has accomplished belongs to you. In him you have ‘wisdom, righteousness, holiness and redemption’.Christ is your life because ‘your life in now hidden with Christ in God’.
That means you are acceptable to God at all times, no matter what is going on in your life. You do not fall in and out of favour with God depending on how well you are doing as a Christian each day. Always focus on Christ and his righteousness, never on yourself. You are complete in him. You are righteous in him. You are perfect in him. Stop trying to add to the perfection of Christ’s work on the cross. It is a completed work and does not have to be supplemented by your own efforts.
The more you see who you are in Christ and the more you meditate on all that he has done for you and in you, the more you will be transformed into his image. Understanding who you are in him will lead you into breathtaking levels of conformity to Christ in your daily life.
But none of this is possible without a profound change of mind and understanding. We must deal with our deceitful thoughts, some of which are natural to our fallen human nature, while others are the habits we acquire from early childhood. This means that true and genuine transformation of heart and life can only happen when we deal with these thoughts and motives of our heart. The way God calls us to follow him shows that he has a profound understanding of human nature and psychology.
This is hardly surprising seeing he is the One who created us in the first place! God knows how we tick and deals with us accordingly. As we surrender to the transforming influences of the Holy Spirit, it is particularly important to grasp one significant biblical principle of human nature.
The principle is this:
We are motivated to go in the direction in which we believe our needs will be met. Paul shows he understands this principle when he invites us to prove that God’s will is good, acceptable, pleasing and fulfilling. You are never more fulfilled as a human being than when you are drawing your spiritual life and sustenance from Christ.
This means you must abandon your old beliefs that drove you away from God who is the only real fountain of life and fulfilment. Because your beliefs determine your intentions you will always be motivated in the direction set by these beliefs. In order to be delivered from negative patterns of life and living, you must challenge your false beliefs. You must deal with the deceptive patterns of thought that lead you in the direction of sin.
From “Living Free“, by Colin Dye.