On Sunday mornings over the last few weeks, we've been looking at what it means to Renovate our lives with the resulting benefit - a renewed mind. Paul's words are fairly clear: "Don't allow the world to be the mold and model for your lives; instead allow your mind to be transformed by God."
As I mentioned in my last post, it's pretty tough for us to live virtuous lives under our own power. We have a tough time watching our neighbor next door pull up in a vehicle that would suite us perfectly while our own beat-up and broken car leaves us wishing and sometimes praying for something better. In such a scenario, how often and easily envy, jealousy, and even hatred all surface for some reason that's apparently outside of our control. Try as we might, we just can't seem to feel joyful about it at all.
What's even more puzzling is why the Apostle Paul (keep in mind he was as human as you and I are) tells us to be loving, joyful, peaceful, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. The simple answer is that we do so only when we live with the Spirit as our guide. In other words, when the Holy Spirit controls us, the fruit of the spirit (the list of virtues above) begins to show up in our lives. As we shed more and more of our sinful nature (the flesh which isn't really part of who we are IN CHRIST) our lives begin to look a whole lot different. What happens, essentially, is that who we are on the inside resembles who we are on the outside more and more of the time. In a nutshell, we become the same person on the outside that we are on the inside. The old is gone, the new has come.
The implication then is that we don't have to fake it any longer. We don't have to fake compassion and concern because we REALLY do feel the compassion and concern. We don't have to control our anger in public anymore because our hot-temper is gone replaced by the fruit known as patience. So, there you have it. Keep in step with the Spirit and our lives show fruit. Keep in step with the world and we continue to deal with a divided heart and we find ourselves having to fake it over and over.
In my next post, I'll post some practical ways that we can put ourselves into position for the Spirit to work in our lives. Changes are a coming...!