After your conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s will is to transform your personality or character from a selfishly motivated individual into a loving Christ-like disciple of Jesus Christ. All good or righteous character is God’s nature. So, the Holy Spirit now indwelling you must gradually empower you through grace with an inward strength that permanently changes your character.
As Christ settles into His new home inside your spirit He purifies you. You know, does a thorough house cleaning, taking full control of your life or as the common phrase is used, becomes Lord of all your life [Hebrews 12:15]. You must understand this from the beginning. True Christianity is not fire insurance or a happy pill. The salvation of any person is an act of mercy by God that completely alters their life.
We are convicted criminals before God because we all have broken His Law. Sin is an act of rebellion or neglect, breaking God’s protective Laws. We have dark criminal minds in God’s view and we were born with such sinful nature that judgment hangs over our heads.
For instance, if I traveled in my car through a red light preoccupied with a cell phone and “accidentally” killed a child, I would be charged and put in jail for a crime. If I did it on purpose the law demands even harsher judgement also. Let’s be real, the law demands justice for all my crimes. No matter what my excuse is, the crime was committed.Like a cancerous tumor wrapped around our organs, sin is fused into our thoughts and personalities. Click To Tweet
In the same way, we are spiritual criminals from birth and our minds and personalities reflect the dragon, the devil, not Christ. And like a cancerous tumor wrapped around our organs, sin is fused into our thoughts and personalities. Therefore, God’s mighty power is released through His Holy Spirit to change our mind about life, about the way we do things in relation to others, and how we respond to God and others.
“be transformed by the renewing of your mind”
Romans 12:1-3 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
This transformation is so thorough that it is the same as the metamorphosis that changes a caterpillar into a butterfly. In fact, the Greek word used in Romans 12:2 is the foundational word for the English word, metamorphosis. It should be plain then, God’s intention is an absolute overhaul starting from the old way of thought to a butterfly type transformation of our character.
God must reveal the truth to us and open our eyes of understanding. His Kingdom has principles and truths that cannot be understood naturally. Paul explained this mysterious truth to the ancient church at Corinth, Greece.
1 Corinthians 2:10-14 (NLT)
10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.
11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.
12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.
14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.
He floods us with truth and spiritual understanding and the old way of thinking must be choked out and killed. The old way of doing things must be ruined and destroyed. Change, real change is the goal! Impatience must be smashed. Selfishness must be rooted out and dried up. The old satanic dragon life must be destroyed.
God’s ways must be understood, learned, and followed. Militant obedience must be established. Immovable trust in God’s promises must be cemented into the soul.
Love, gentleness, creativity, righteousness, goodness, and all Christ-like character must be chiseled into your personality. I am sorry to say, most all men are so bent toward selfishness this change will only come with great pain inflected upon them.
Total transformation is God’s goal
In our case it must be transformation from the ugly scale-skinned dragon to a butterfly like change of a pure and new child of God. Or to keep the butterfly illustration, the old ugly caterpillar must die and the new life of Christ must be clearly visible and real for all men to see.
Ancient shepherds in Israel had a unique way of transforming a persistently rebellious sheep from their flocks. When one continued to wander and get itself into trouble, the good shepherd would take and break one of its legs. He would then mend it, and carry the sheep over His shoulders for the entire time the sheep was healing.
Everywhere the flock went the shepherd carried this sheep. He fed it and watered it personally. At the end of the terrible experience the shepherd gave his patient freedom, but never worried again. The sheep would never again leave his master’s side. Well does our Shepherd work like this?
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him” [Hebrews 12:5]. “But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons” [Hebrews 12:8].
I know ungodly American leaders command parents not to spank their children. But God Almighty says to love your children so much you must hurt them a little to warn them and drive them away from lives full of deep hurts and sinful disaster. [Proverbs 22:15; 23:13; 29:15] This is how Hebrews 12:8 makes sense. God loves you so much He will hurt you to change you.
According to God’s reasoning, people are so deeply blinded by the caterpillar life they must be chastened [disciplinary-correction] or forced to butterfly transformation. That is why we read in Hebrews, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” [Hebrews 12:11].
Righteousness is Christ-like character actively flowing from inside a true disciple of Jesus Christ from the Holy Spirit. New convictions and immoveable standards of morality form like volcanic islands bubbling from the sea. The passionate Holy Spirit spews out grace that melts our hearts and floods us with righteousness.The passionate Holy Spirit spews out grace that melts our hearts and floods us with righteousness. Click To Tweet
Since God’s grace is defined in the Strong’s Concordance as the “divine influence upon your heart” to cause you to desire His will and empower you to “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” you must change your mind about the things God is causing in your life.
Stop resisting the circumstances He brings that do not fit into your dreams. Change your dreams!
Stop planning your future! Open your mind to His future for you. Offer yourself upon the altar of absolute surrender to His will. Let Him take away things that will hurt you in the end.
Stop resisting His chastening. Let your Father correct you without throwing another temper tantrum. Or He will correct you and hurt you more!
Spanking always relaxes a rebellious screaming child. Please understand, the more you resist the grace of God, the more He will discipline you for your good.
And remember, there are only two choices when responding to God’s confusing grace, surrender or bitterness. God’s warnings are clear, “…looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” [Heb. 12:15].
C.S. Lewis wrote the famous series, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. This allegory depicts Jesus as Aslan the mighty Lion. After he sacrifices His life for the world and is raised from the dead the story continues with many Christian lessons. One expresses how Aslan had to use His claws to deeply cut and hurt one of His little ones. God destroyed the old dragon life by painfully peeling off the outer layer of dragon skin to free the true new nature given through the Holy Spirit. Make no mistake, true change is painful, but like all mothers know, the pain of delivery is nothing compared to the joy of their little newborn baby.
Since no person is willing to hurt themselves enough to get rid of the old sinful skin of the dragon, this painful character development is done by your Almighty God. He does not use a magic wand but instead uses a hammer-like method of painful circumstances, trials, tribulations, and your immediate authorities to deeply change you to be like Christ.
In fact, the word character comes from an ancient word for engraving. Craftsmen used hammers and sharp tools to permanently change the characteristics of a piece of leather or metal with decorative shapes or letters. Believe me, God’s craftsmen are around you everyday pushing you and hurting you for your good by engraving God’s character design on your personality.
Like C. S. Lewis’ example, the Lion’s claws of hurtful circumstances are tearing off the old dragon skin of your old master. Also, the cocoon of trials that covers you [dark tribulation and testing], holds you still while you are being transformed by God [Romans 5:3]. As your “old man” is being pulled off daily, and as you die daily to your old self and trust His loving way of spiritual growth, change slowly happens.
Will you turn in bitterness and anger at your circumstances OR surrender completely to His sovereign hand of purification and artistic character development? Do you still think like a selfish child? “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” [1 Cor. 13:11].
To renew your mind, surrender and trust God, there is no other way to maturity except in His sovereign hand!