Lent 2010: Day 17 – Where It All Begins: Step 3

We have been answering the questions of where and how we make the changes in our life to become, to be the person, God is calling us to be. We have already looked at Step 1: Offering ourselves as living sacrifices and Step 2: Do not be conformed to this world (see previous posts). Today we examine the third of our three steps.

Step 3: Be transformed by the renewing of your mind

Transformed. That is more than changed. It means to become different in nature or being. It reflects what happens to a caterpillar when it is becomes a butterfly. There is a fundamental, radical, alteration that goes to what is basic, affecting our innermost nature.

Paul expects this transformation to occur in our mind, our seat of understanding. But it goes further and touches on discernment that is reminiscent of the apostle’s statement to the Corinthians (Amplified Bible).

But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.

But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him]. 1 Cor 2:14-15 (Amplified Bible)

So we should see that this renewing transformation of our mind is rooted in a fundamental spiritual process that goes beyond (but includes) natural reasoning to include spiritual discernment. That sounds great and it is, but there is a rub, which Paul talks about in 1 Cor 13:12 (Amplified Bible).

For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as [e]in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand [f]fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been [g]fully and clearly known and understood [[h]by God]. 1 Cor 13:12 (Amplified Bible)

Despite this marvelous transformation, we are still limited in our ability to understand spiritual things, to do what the conclusion of this Romans passage directs us toward.

…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]. Romans 12:2b (Amplified Bible)

This transformation allows us to know God’s will for us, but to take Paul’s other statement to heart, we know that will incompletely, dimly. It means we have to be cautious, patient, and humble. It brings us full circle back to the original sacrificial offering of ourselves. Since we can know only in part, our knowledge of what God wants, no matter how profound, is incomplete, restricted. God has limited his revelation to us.

Yes, He has given us all things necessary for salvation and to adequately navigate the choices we have to make, but we are still ever-dependent on him. We can never say we know and don’t need to continue to ask his advice and understanding. We can never step back from that state of continuous offering of ourselves, that living sacrifice, that all-encompassing submission to his will, not ours.

Tomorrow, I will talk about where that leaves us. Today, just remember that while we have been given wings to fly in spiritual places, God has limited us. I suspect it is because of Romans 7 and the continual battle we find ourselves part of, but in the end, it is all about submission.

May the grace of God in Christ Jesus give you wisdom and discernment and my your heart ever be submitted to Him for his honor and glory.

Amen.

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