The Two Essentials of Spiritual and Personal Transformation
To experience lasting change these two things have to happen
We all have areas of our lives we would like to change. Spiritual and personal growth is a big, big emphasis of Scripture.
Ephesians 4:15 “but speaking the truth in love, we are to GROW UP IN ALL ASPECTS into Him who is the head, even Christ…”
God’s Plans for Us are Amazing!
What could possibly be better than growing up, experiencing transformation in all aspects, in every area of life so we become more and more like the Son of God?
That is God’s plan for every single one of us.
The big question is, how does that happen and how can we cooperate with God to become more like Jesus?
There are several tools God uses and we can use to help us grow and change, but there are two essentials that MUST happen as those tools are used. If these two things do not happen, we will not experience real, lasting transformation. If they do take place, we will grow and change.
1. We Must Be Spiritually Born Again
In John 3:3–6 Jesus said to see and enter the kingdom of God we must be born again by the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 2:1 says that before receiving the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus, we were spiritually dead.
It doesn’t matter how much we try to improve a dead person, no life-producing practices can really make a difference. Life has to be present to see growth take place.
When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, our spirit is born again by the Holy Spirit of God. We receive the life of God into our deepest part, our spirit, and we are made spiritually alive.
We move from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive with the Spirit, the life of God inside us.
That is essential number 1.
2. Deep Level Mind Renewal
Once we are born again, spiritually made alive in Jesus, then the next phase can begin.
We all know that after conversion there are still many areas of our lives that are not like Jesus yet. We all battle different things, but for most of us, we have fears to be conquered, godly character that needs lots of development, and other negatives we need to get rid of on our journey to wholeness in Christ.
For that to happen, our minds need to be renewed. Romans 12:2 says, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
This is essential #2. To experience permanent transformation our mind must change, it has to be “renewed” or “renovated” according to God’s truth, God’s word.
The more we build God’s words and thoughts into our thinking, the more we will then speak and act like Jesus. If we want to change any area of our life, changing how we think is essential.
Two Systems In the Brain
Over the last few decades, due to much better technology, we understand much more about how the brain works. There is still much to learn, but some really encouraging discoveries have been made on how the brain works and how it can change.
As the Bible teaches, researchers have seen that the brain changes based on the repeated thoughts we have. We can actually change our brain by repeated, conscious thoughts. What the Bible calls “renewing the mind.”
Researchers have also proven there are two systems working in our brains. Though different terms are used, the top or conscious part of the brain includes the thoughts we are aware of, emotions, and conscious will power, among other things.
The second system is the unconscious, the bottom brain, the habits that have been formed. The second system, the bottom brain, is always working, is stronger than the the top brain, and really determines how we consistently act.
One of the biggest reasons we fail in our attempts to grow is that willpower, part of the top brain, is a limited commodity. We eventually use it up.
How many of us have sincerely said, “I will never do that again” or “starting today I will do that everyday”; and within a few days, sometimes within a few minutes have already failed.
The desired change has not yet happened in the bottom brain.
Some researchers call the top brain, “the Rider”, and the bottom brain, “The Elephant.” An elephant is much stronger than a rider, but an elephant can be trained to obey the rider, with the right practices.
What those practices are and how to use them requires much more than we can cover here. But once you understand, the bottom brain, the elephant must be trained for permanent change to take place, you have a huge insight in experiencing lasting transformation.
For lasting change to take place there are two absolute essentials:
- We must experience new birth by God’s Spirit
- Our thinking, our minds must be renewed.
If you want to know more about practices to help renew the mind and change the bottom brain, please check out this course: