God s Process of Transformation It s Thinking That Changes Your Life (Part 1)

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1 God s Process of Transformation It s Thinking That Changes Your Life (Part 1) Intro: There is no doubt that God wants to transform our lives...but do you ever find yourself discouraged with the lack of process? Your heart wants to follow Jesus but your old habits and old life just seems to stick to you like glue? You come on Sunday and agree with everything you hear and then on Monday it s as if you re sucked back in to your old behaviors. Sometimes we find ourselves thinking; What s wrong with me? Answer: Nothing! The issue is we may not understand God s process of transformation. Too often though all we focus on is our behavior. In fact, sometimes we try to change behavior and are so unsuccessful, we simply give up and quit. The problem may not be our behavior. Our dilemma goes deeper than this. You see, God s process of transformation begins in our minds. Unless our thinking is changed, our behavior will never be transformed. Some of you are knocking yourselves out on some big crusade to change your behavior only to continually fail. There s a reason. You don t understand God s process of Transformation. It s thinking that changes your life. Our thinking must change first! We are going to spend 2 weeks better understanding this issue. Today I want to share 4 key truths about Thinking That Changes Your Life. I. God s Transformation Begins With Transformed Thinking Rom. 12:2 Don t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think (NLT) 1. Did you notice God s process? We are transformed not by trying really hard to change our behaviors and old habits. We are changed by letting God transform our thinking. It s actually our thinking that must change first. 2. Our biggest problem is not that we don t act right. Our biggest hurdle to transformation is that we don t think right. Why is God so concerned about our thinking? Because thinking is what determines our behavior. 3. Let me give you an equation about how life and transformation works. Transformed thinking = Transformed Behavior = Transformed Emotions. 4. Therefore, if you want to feel better / feel happier more fulfilled and satisfied? Want more joy? This is the process how it is achieved. Unfortunately, most people don t live this way. They flip the equation around. It looks like this: My Feelings = Creates Thinking = Creates Negative Behaviors. For example: You hurt my feelings; I now mentally conclude you are a bad mean spirited person, therefore I slander you to other people. You see how feelings led to mental conclusions which led to negative behaviors. Now that these mental conclusions are firmly in place, they continue to create more hurtful feelings and Page 1

2 wrong behavior. My negative thinking generates negative feelings and negative behavior. For example: Let s say you had a bad experience in a church. Because of those feelings you conclude it s not worth going to church. (Now the feelings have created beliefs) After a while, you stop going to church entirely = behavior (This belief that you now have will control your future behavior and keep you trapped in your hurt feelings.) Wrong thinking bottles up our wounded feelings (Can t process them.) Jar 5. If we are going to be feelings dominated people we will forever be slaves. In fact, our lives will never be transformed because our feelings are in control of our lives instead of transformed thinking. Our feelings are creating beliefs that imprison us! WHY? Because wrong beliefs leads to wrong behavior. 6. How do we break out of the prison? Let God transform your thinking. Only in allowing God to change the way we think can we get off this imprisoned cycle. Illustrate: The Imprisoned Cycle slide explain The Transforming Cycle slide explain Which one are you living? Let s understand the Transformation cycle more. II. God s Transformation Results From Your New Nature Controlling Your Thoughts Rom. 8:5-6 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. (NLT) 1. When a person receives Christ, God places a new nature inside them He puts His nature inside them. What this means is God s Spirit literally resides inside every follower of Jesus. He is referred to as the Holy Spirit. 2. The Holy Spirit in your life is the Transformer of your life. He is the power source that will help accomplish God s plan of transformation in you. You can t change yourself, so God puts Himself in you to bring about change. 3. Every one of us has a choice whether we identify more with our old life (old nature) before Christ or our new nature with Christ. We get to choose which one controls our thinking. Notice the term letting. We choose to let 4. If we allow our old nature to control our thinking, the result is death. Now, this doesn t mean that we physically die because we had wrong thoughts. BUT, wrong thinking takes life from us. Wrong thinking steals the life that God wants to impart to us. It can kill your joy / fulfillment / relationships / future / even your eternity. (imprisoned cycle) 5. BUT, when we allow the Spirit of God to control our thinking, the result is life and peace. What does it mean by life? I already have life. It is referring the transformed life that God wants to impart to you. It is a life that you cannot experience apart from Him and His work in your life. Jesus called it life to the fullest. (Transformation cycle) Page 2

3 6. Every one of us must develop the ability as a follower of Jesus to discern where our thinking originates from. Is it coming from my old nature or is it coming from the Holy Spirit; my new nature? 7. This is critical to our transformation because our thinking will either result in life or death. You see, it s not which nature is controlling your behavior. The real issue is which nature is controlling your thinking? Transformation is won or lost in our minds. When you have thoughts of lust / bitterness / unforgiveness / judgmental / prideful / filled with anxiety / fear / despair / hopelessness / insecurities / worthlessness / All these thoughts come from your old nature. We MUST learn to recognize them and not allow them to control our minds. Illustrate: For the first 10 years of being in ministry, I really struggled with being a Pastor internally. I did not think of myself as fitting in / felt like I didn t belong / I had feelings of insecurity. That probably surprises many of you. How did I get past this? I changed how I thought of myself. I began to daily believe who God says I am. I replaced thoughts that were coming from my old life with ones that come from who I am now in Christ. This resulted in a radical behavioral change. You can do the same thing! Next week is all about how to win the battle for your mind. III. God s Transformation Results From Which Kingdom You Mentally Seek Col. 3:1-2 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (NASB) Matt. 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (NLT) 1. Seeking the things above / setting your mind on the things above / seeking the Kingdom of God are all thinking commands. There is a Kingdom mindset that Jesus wants His followers to have. Without this Kingdom mindset, we will have an earthly mindset. 2. Our old nature relates to and pursues this earthly kingdom. Our new nature relates to and pursues God s Kingdom. Transformation will be the result of which mindset you have. We cannot be changed into the people God wants us to be if we have an earthly mindset. What is an earthly mindset? We believe the lies of this world we believe its messages this world is telling us what to believe! (life / relationships / happiness / We embrace the values of this world this world is telling us what is important and what we should value. (careers over relationships / success over serving / accumulation over generosity) We chase after the rewards of this world (money / possessions / pleasure) We believe these things bring fulfillment. Page 3

4 We are mentally distracted by all the cares of this world (Jesus said worrying about what you will eat / wear / where you live) Distracted by provision issues 3. What is a Kingdom mindset? We believe the truth of His Kingdom This truth is found in the Bible; the word of God. One that is radically different than the worlds. We embrace the values of His Kingdom we value what God s word tells us to value. Wed think about what God says is important. (This is why we have core values as a church POWER) We chase after what He says is rewarded in His Kingdom We stop chasing after worldly things and begin to pursue eternal things. (This is why we pray for a city / why we serve / why we have life groups / why we go to Guatemala We are mentally engaged in the work of His Kingdom Our minds are no longer obsessed with provision thoughts but with how to further His Kingdom in this life. We begin to think about eternity not just now. 4. Without a Kingdom mindset we will not experience transformation. Our lives cannot be changed. We will be thinking in a way that continues to connect us to our old nature. This way of thinking keeps us stuck. 5. This is a horrible place to be in. WHY? Because when you hear about seeking after God s Kingdom, the Holy Spirit in you wants to move you in that direction and the battle begins emotionally and mentally. You hear us asking for people to serve (the Kingdom mindset wants to responds but the earthly mindset wins out) You hear us asking for people to be in life groups. You hear about an opportunity to give financially for a need You hear the challenge for men to rise up and be spiritual leaders of your home. 6. Instead of winning the battle in your mind, you end up giving in to the earthly mindset and stay in an emotional place of always feeling guilty. 7. If the majority of your mental energy is invested in seeking after this earthly kingdom then your life has little chance of being transformed. If we are always thinking about this earthly kingdom we will be conformed to it rather than transformed from it. Rom. 12:2 Don t copy the behavior and customs of this world The question we must ask ourselves is; Which kingdom do we mentally seek more? IV. God Transformation Results From Truth You Embrace John 8:32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (NLT) John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears (NIV) John 17:17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. (NLT) 1. As a follower of Jesus, every one of you has the Spirit of truth in you (Holy Spirit) and Page 4

5 the word of truth at your disposal (Bible). We can resist both or cooperate with both. Jesus said that it is truth that sets us free from our old lives / old habits / old behaviors. It is truth that must be mentally accepted before it can be practically followed. 2. Notice the results of truth from these verses. Truth sets us free (from our old life) Holy Spirit guides us into truth in this life. The truth of God s word makes us holy which means set apart. Different. Transformed. 3. Without our minds focused on God s truth, transformation is impossible. Without the Holy Spirit in our lives, understanding God s truth is impossible. We need both! Illustrate: Have you ever had one of those spiritual light bulb moments? You re listening to a message / reading your bible / enjoying some worship music and wham! All of a sudden, God gives you some insight in to your life / circumstances / based upon some truth you just heard. Your mind was illuminated to understand and see something it didn t before. That is the Spirit of Truth and the Word of truth working together. 4. Therefore, for life change to be a reality, we must learn to cooperate with the Spirit of Truth and the word of Truth. HOW? Read God s truth daily Give the Holy Spirit something to work with! He utilizes the word of God. If you re never in it, how do you expect God to talk to you? Do you have this habit established? Fall is a great time to start. Utilize God s truth to identify wrong thinking Let God s truth become a mental filter for your thought life. This is how you get rid of what we call Stinkin Thinkin. We all have wrong thinking. Illustrate: Our wrong thinking can be like a pre-recorded message in our minds. Something happens and it automatically plays. Often the wrong thinking is ingrained mental ruts. What do we do? When this happens, we learn to identify it and hit the stop button and replace it with truth. This takes practice but it leads to freedom. Stay relationally connected to God The Holy Spirit in your life is your power source for change. He is the One who illuminates truth in your life. We must stay connected. It s not your power it is His power! Eph. 4:30 And do not bring sorrow to God s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own (NLT) We can shut down the Holy Spirit s work in our lives by resisting His work of transformation and walking in disobedience. So, how do we stay connected? When you find yourself back on the Imprisoned Cycle, (and we all do at times) quickly confess this to God embrace His forgiveness and ask for His help once again. (How often? Constantly!) So where is your thinking at today? If we are going to follow Jesus fully, we are going to have think differently. Our minds are going to have to be renewed. Page 5

6 1. It begins by having transformed thinking (knowing that God wants to renew our minds because our thinking will control our lives.) Get off the Imprisoned Cycle. 2. It continues by choosing to allow our new nature control our thoughts 3. By choosing which Kingdom we mentally seek (Kingdom minded people) 4. By embracing the Truth of the word of God (using it as a filter for your thoughts) This week, try to be much more aware of your thinking. Even as you experience feelings that are positive or negative, ask God to reveal to you your thinking. Ask God to reveal to you what is really controlling your life. Page 6

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