By Pastor Teck Uy

When changes are required, it is easier to change things around us than changing ourselves. We tend to be complacent and insist on doing things the way we used to. As a result, we never get to where we want to be. We stagnate and live a sluggish life. But if we want to progress, the Bible tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2). Indeed, we need to change our ways and be transformed inside-out to live a better life. This change starts with the renewing of our mind. It is in the mind that we often lose our battle for change. It resists change when it cannot comprehend the subject matter. This is particularly so when pertaining to spiritual things. The Bible tells us that spiritual things are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).

Therefore, the transformation that we need to have to be able to live the life that God wants us to live is a 180 degree turn. This change is better described in the Bible as being “born again”. To be born again means being transformed from the kingdom of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). The apostle Paul explained this further saying, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). This kind of transformation is complete and it entails the renewing of the mind so that it shall be in submission to the will of God. It is hard to go against the pattern or ways of this world but a renewed mind will be able to withstand its pressure. We are told in Scriptures that the world is corrupted by sin and is perishing and, unless our mind is renewed, we too shall perish.

The transformation that is required of us is a progressive process. The apostle Paul said, “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18). It is worth mentioning that the image of God in man was marred when Adam sinned. As a result, the children that came after him no longer bore the image of God but that of Adam as explained in the Book of Genesis: “When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God… When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth” (Genesis 5:1-3). This marred image of God was the one that Jesus came to redeem, as expounded by the apostle Paul when he said, “And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man” (1 Cor. 15:49). Therefore, when we are born again, we are restored to the image and likeness of God.

If someone is unable to grasp the process of being born again, it is because his mind has not been regenerated. The apostle Paul explained, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:3-4). Therefore, for someone to fully understand the Bible, it is necessary that he be born again. No amount of reading or study will unlock his un-regenerated mind. Jesus himself had to reveal some of his frustrations when even the Pharisees and teachers of the law themselves could not grasp what he was teaching. He said, “Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires” (John 8:43-44).

For believers to grow into the image and likeness of the Lord in increasing glory, they need to saturate their mind with the Word following the instruction of Moses to Joshua. He said, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8). Plain reading of Scriptures is not enough. It has to be meditated on, and the spiritual nourishment it provides needs to be fully absorbed. It is only then that the Word of God becomes profitable and life transforming. Otherwise, it will only be knowledge stored in the mind that makes someone puff up just like the Pharisees and teachers of the law. It is for this reason that Jesus said, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). To surpass the righteousness of the Pharisees, therefore, is to meditate on the word and let it filter down to our hearts that we may practically apply it in our lives. We should not only be hearers of the Word but doers as well. We need to be transformed inside out by the Word of God. Hallelujah!