All of Hollywood looks forward to the Academy Awards (which just took place on Sunday this week.) Stars don their most fabulous and expensive outfits and are greeted by a swarm of photographers as they step out onto the red carpet. As the ceremony begins, millions of people from over 200 countries tune in to see which actors will win a coveted “Oscar” which honors them for …
…. pretending to be someone other than who they are.
You know, believers spend a lot of time unintentionally, and even unconsciously, doing the same thing. When you accept Christ as your Savior and acknowledge Him as Lord of your life, your spirit is made new and you become a new creation. In Ezekiel 36:26 God says, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. That’s God’s promise for what happens to you when you become a Christian. You have a new heart. Your spirit comes alive, and the essence of who you are is changed. Yet so many Christians revert to their old ways and live a life as if they are someone other than who they really are.
In Ephesians 4:22-24, Paul addresses this tendency and encourages us to “put off (our) old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
The key to a life lived in harmony with our remade nature is found in verse 23 –“to be made new in the attitude of your minds.”
All behavior begins with thought, so if we really want our actions to change, we have to begin by altering the way we think. That’s one of the main purposes of the Word of God. It teaches us how to reorder our thoughts in ways that are consistent with our new life in Christ. The Bible calls this practice “renewing your mind” (Rom. 12: 2) and is the only way to see real and lasting change take place in your life.
In first part of that same verse, Paul warns us that if we’re not actively involved in this renewal process then we’re being subtly “conformed” to the ways of the world. That is, whether we recognize it or not, we’re being influenced by the prevailing attitude, practices and belief systems of people who, at best, don’t know God, and at worst are God’s enemies, actively opposing His will. This is why so many believers struggle with the same temptations over and over and over. We give in to lying, anger, lust, jealousy, revenge and so many others enticements because we don’t have the same attitude about sin the same way God does. Remember that how we think will always determine how we behave. Always. So, the more you dwell on and believe the truth, the more you’ll begin to act like who you really are.
And… once you have His script committed to memory, you’re sure to always be the winner!