“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. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT).
What does it mean to be transformed? It means to be changed - not just a little bit, but completely changed. And God’s greatest longing for us is that we can be changed completely from being persons with a sinful nature to sharing His glorious, perfect godly nature. This means that our nature, our thoughts and our habits can be completely changed. We can change from being sinful, miserable people to being full of God’s glory and goodness! This is the greatest promise there is!
“… he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine [godly] nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” 2 Peter 1:4 (NLT).
How are we being changed?
Changing to become like Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29) costs something. To share in godly nature I have to give up my old nature. That is why Jesus says that “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:14.) It’s because there are so few who are willing to give up their old human nature.
This process of being changed will happen throughout my life. To start the process, I must first admit that my human nature is worthless, horrible and full of sin. I must have the cry in my heart, “What a miserable person I am!” (Romans 7:24, GW.) I have to come to the point where I admit that I cannot serve God the way that I am. My nature can’t just be “fixed”. I have to become a completely new creation. (Galatians 6:15.)
And when I have truly seen and accepted that there is nothing good in my human nature (Romans 7:18), then I am ready to give up my old nature in exchange for a new nature. Then I am ready to be changed.
And God will show me how.
This change comes little by little, by every time saying No to the sin that comes up from my human nature, by not giving in until the desire to do that sin dies in me. During my day there are different situations where I get to see, for example, my impatience, my jealousy, my anger, my selfishness, my suspicions, my pride etc. By saying No to these thoughts when I am tempted to these sins, and not allowing them to grow, they will die in the end. (Colossians 3:5.) I reject these thoughts and let God change that part of me. Each time I do this, I take a step forwards on the narrow way.
So when, for example, a thought of jealousy comes up in me, then I can say No to it. Refuse to let it grow! Thoughts of jealousy are as different from godly nature as the night is from the day! It really takes a miracle to be changed from agreeing with such sinful thoughts to getting godly nature in this area. I have to cry out to God to save me from this sin and I have to pray that He will give me the strength to never give in to these sinful thoughts! I pray that He will completely change me in this area.
And the Holy Spirit gives me the power to never give in to that sinful thought. And in the end, when it is “dead”, God gives me a tiny piece of godly nature in its place. Even in situations that look so unimportant, I can share in those most precious promises and get a little part of the godly nature, eternal life! God is doing a miracle in me. What a motivation to be faithful!
“Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 (GNT).
You can be changed every day
Every day has many opportunities for me to be changed. But if I don’t see these opportunities, if I don’t see the sin in me and reject it, then I am wasting my days and living every day with the wrong goal in mind!
This process of being changed is not something magical that God will do one day when I am older, it is something that has to take place every day. If I am the same person today as I was yesterday, then how can I expect to be a completely changed person at the end of my life? Changed from being selfish and sinful, to someone that is sharing in godly nature?
I may not see today that I am a very different person from what I was yesterday. Often the changes are small. And there’s a long way to go. But over time I will see that I have become more patient, that I have become more loving, that I have become more godly than I was before, and that will make me very happy! I can look at my life and see that all the times I said No to my impatience have actually resulted in it being easier for me to be patient now. I am changing! I am changing more and more!
The glorious end goal
My end goal with my life is that I am changed as much as possible to be like Christ - that I have been filled as much as possible with godly nature. Then when I am with other people, they experience only joy and peace and love and patience coming from me.
Jesus was a human being while He was here on earth, and was tempted like any other human being, but He battled against sin and never gave in. And he could say, “Those who have seen me have seen the Father.” (Luke 2:52; John 14:7-10; 1 Peter 4:1.) Jesus never gave in to anything that came up from His human nature and, as a result, throughout His life all His reactions were godly. Inside Him a battle against sin was going on, but the people around Him only saw the Father in Him.
That is my goal as well! That is what I want! That is my one and only desire while I’m here! I also want to say: “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” I also want to come to that godly nature.
And by God’s grace this is really possible.