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.
This verse is the foundational principle for our summer series of messages – Transformational Discipleship. As followers of Christ, God wants to totally transform our lives – changing us into the people that He created us to be. But he doesn’t do that instantly in the moment that become a Christian. But rather, it is a slow, life-long process where we learn to know God’s will for us – which is good and pleasing and perfect!
So throughout the summer, we want to look at that process and hopefully discover where we are in that journey personally! And more specifically, we want to know how we can align ourselves with what God is already doing in us so that we can take the next steps in that process of becoming more like Him.
We started last week by looking at a few of the distinguishing marks of being both spiritually dead – as well as being a spiritual infant. And I’ll give you just a quick summary before we move on.
Being born as sinners with a natural desire to rebel against God and to do things our own way, our initial state of existence for every person on the planet is being relationally separated from God. And because we are separated from Him – the Giver and Sustainer of Life – we may be physically alive, but we are absolutely spiritually dead. We have no relationship with Him – and because of that, have no life and no hope for the future.
However, because of God’s great love for us even while we were sinners, He provided a way for us to restore that relationship. Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again from the grave – paying our penalty so that we could receive forgiveness and life. The only requirement for us is that we simply believe and accept that he did that for us!
When we make that choice to believe who Jesus is and what He has done for us, we become spiritually alive – born again – as we sometimes phrase it. At that point, we become a spiritual infant.
Now as infants, we really don’t know much of anything! Everything is brand new and there is very much a steep learning curve! In this stage of your spiritual journey, it’s really important to have some mature Christian people in your life who can help you along as you begin to grow and learn what it’s all about. This is what your church family is for. These people will be like your spiritual parents – or at least older brothers and sisters. They can help guide and direct you as you begin to figure things out.
But perhaps the greatest gift that you’ll discover in this stage of your journey is the Bible. God has given us a whole book on who He is and what He has done in the world over the centuries – so that we can learn what it means to live in right relationship with Him. Getting to know what the Bible says and being part of a Bible-believing church in this stage of life is so important.
And of course, just as physical infants need to learn to feed themselves and begin eating solid food, so too as spiritual infants, if we want to grow and mature, it is so important that we begin to read and understand the Bible for ourselves. If our only spiritual nourishment comes from the Sunday morning sermon, we’re probably going to be a bit mal-nourished! We don’t want to be like a grown person still being spoon-fed pablum all their life. That would be ridiculous and unhealthy – both physically and spiritually. At some point, you have to learn to feed yourself! You have to take responsibility for your own spiritual growth and health. This is one of the key ways that we begin moving into the next phase of maturity – growing from being an infant into being a child – which we’re going to talk about today.