“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is our spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
Have you ever poured out your heart to someone about your fleshly struggles only to be hit with the response “just stop already!” Well, I’ve been told many times that I think too much, which I agree with. But the few times I have shared this with someone, the response has always been the same—“just stop!” Sounds simple enough, except it doesn’t work.
Take just a moment to think about what it is that you would like to stop; what you need to stop, what you have tried to stop. Now, by what power did you or do you stop it? There is no power in the flesh to stop the flesh. But praise God, “His divine nature has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
“I say then: ‘Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.’” Galatians 5:16
Philippians 2:5 says, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” What attitude was in Christ Jesus? “Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself taking the form of a bondservant [volunteer servant], and being made in the likeness of men.” He gave up His right to be God and functioned fully as a human, releasing the words and works of His Father.
“If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” John 10:37-38
Many times, in the New Testament, Jesus said that the words He spoke and the works He did were not His but His Fathers. He and His Father functioned as One. And before Jesus went to the cross, He prayed to His Father that we would function the same way (John 17:20-26).
A life in Christ is not about stopping or changing “bad” behavior but rather about being transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we release the mind of Christ from within. If it’s about stopping or changing our behavior, then the focus is all about ourselves (Godship) where we become God of our own ships (vessels). When we release the mind of the Christ from within then we accomplish His will, His mission, which is then seen in Righteous behavior—Christ living in and through us.
Jesus conquered all sin through His death on the cross. Therefore, we have conquered all sin. Jesus mastered sin, so we have mastered sin. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Then why does it seem that sin is so often our master? To quote something I hear a friend of mine frequently say: “Who’s your daddy?” Who are you a bondservant [volunteer servant] to?
When we, as indwelt believers, function from our minds, then our minds can only be on ourselves and so we block the release of the mind of Christ. A renewed mind (adjusting to the mind of God) equals a transformed life.
“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God’ for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Romans 8:6-7).
So where do we go from here? Start by “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5. If it rises against the knowledge of God, take it captive—not by stopping it, but by replacing it with the Knowledge of God. Start by telling yourself the Truth. When the fleshly thoughts or lies rise up, and we know they will, then it’s time to take out the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and use it. For a lie entertained will quickly become our truth yet remain a lie if not dealt with immediately. “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7). BUT “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3 NJKV)
Remember, we have everything we need for life and godliness in Christ Jesus. We have it so let’s live it!