The Process of Transformation • Part 1
“The Process of Transformation” is descriptive of a vital truth. The reason I say “vital” is because I’ve observed the frustration of God’s people who hear the Word of God, get excited about the Word, and even make a decision to believe and act on the Word — leading only to a short-term victory. In other words, the Word works for them, until they “hit a wall” because it looks like it is not working after all. (Notice I used the word, “looks like,” referring to appearances.)
Much of the problem lies in the fact that they have never really come to understand how they receive from God. This can be traced back to their earliest experiences with God. (The way you begin something tends to be the way you continue in it.)
Think about how most people receive Christ and are “born again.” Their initial experience might go something like this… They attend an anointed service where the Word is preached. They “get under conviction,” come to the altar and the preacher leads them in a prayer. Their response to the word they hear literally changes their life — but to them, it’s mainly an emotional or physical experience.
There’s nothing wrong with that, really. That’s fine to begin with. We were created by God with emotions for a reason. Emotions let us know what we’re really thinking. The problem is, this can set a precedent for how you think as a believer, if you’re not retrained. As you go on in your Christian life, unless your mind is renewed, whenever you want to “grow in the Lord” or “move to the next level in God,” you expect the same kind of experience — emotional or physical — and if you don’t have an emotional or physical experience, one might think nothing has happened.
Time passes. You learn “church culture.” You hear phrases like “believe the Word,” “act on the Word,” “speak the Word” and so on. These monikers, biblical as they are, tend to become nothing more than religious “catch phrases” rather than a reality — but generally (if not completely) the problem behind that is that believers do not know how to properly discern themselves; in other words, they do not understand (except in their heads) that they are a three-part being — what the implications of that is — and how that affects areas like:
- ➤ Answered prayer
- ➤ Sanctification
- ➤ Healing
- ➤ Abundance
- ➤ Deliverance
- ➤ Effectiveness in ministry
- ➤ Or any area of growth for that matter!
Many Christians cannot (or say they cannot) accept what the Word says about them — basically because God’s Word cannot be comprehended with the mind or discerned with the body. Have you ever heard believers say things like this?… “You can’t say someone is healed when you can clearly see they are still sick.” “You can’t say your needs are met when you still don’t have the money.”
Have you ever heard such statements? I have. Have you ever said these kinds of things yourself? (Since you’re reading this and I can’t see you, you can — and should — be honest with yourself.) If you answered “yes” to the second question, I have another question for you: Where did you get your information? In other words, exactly how did you find out that person was not healed? Or that the person’s needs were not met? The answer is obvious — not from your spirit, but from your senses.
Remember that you are spirit, soul, and body. If you don’t understand that, it will keep you from understanding the Bible.
Unfortunately, too often we think of scriptures dealing with new birth, or regeneration, carnally. For example, 2 Corinthians 5:17 — “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
This is often thought of in terms of our actions. I, too, used to think this scripture was talking about actions. I thought what 2 Corinthians 5:17 was telling us was, that we have stopped doing what’s wrong, and now we’re doing what’s right. In other words, I’m supposed to adjust my actions — stop doing wrong; start doing right. That understanding of this verse completely misses the mark.
By the same token, 2 Corinthians 5:17 is obviously not talking about your body or your soul. The body is purchased, but not redeemed (1 Corinthians 15:53; Ephesians 1:14). The body is healed, but not glorified (1 Peter 2:24, Philippians 3:21). Further, despite the religious terminology like “souls saved” or “soulwinning,” after you’re born again, your soul is not yet saved (Hebrews 10:39; James 1:21, 5:20; 1 Peter 1:9). The soul, of course, is comprised of our minds, emotions and will. Our minds must be renewed (Ephesians 4:23), our emotions must be kept in check, or managed (Luke 21:19) and our wills must be conformed to God’s will (Philippians 2:13).
So that understanding — that 2 Corinthians 5:17 is talking about our behavior — was absolutely wrong. This is talking about what took place in your spirit (the real you). This is saying when you were born again (recreated in Christ Jesus, Eph. 2:10, you became like God (or re-became like God). THIS TOOK PLACE IN YOUR SPIRIT.
Just to make the point even further, let’s go back to the scenario I used earlier. Say you attend an anointed service where the Word is preached. You “get under conviction,” come to the altar and the preacher leads you in a prayer. Your life is changed in an instant! — but where did that change take place?
Is it your body? What if before that prayer, your body was overweight and severely out of shape? If you’re a “new creation,” wouldn’t that mean that now you are trim, buff and have fully developed muscles right where you need them? Oh, and before the prayer, you were also bald — so being a new creature, you now have a full head of dark hair. Right? I don’t think so. (You’re going to have to allow what took place on the inside to work its way out.)
Is it your soul? What if before that prayer, you had very little schooling, not training and you couldn’t pass an SAT exam to save your life. You were definitely not the go-to person for information, because you didn’t know very much at all. Sometimes people even wondered if you were mentally retarded. But you did one smart thing — you gave your life to Christ. If you’re a “new creation,” wouldn’t that mean that you are now an instant intellectual giant who is well adapted and confident? I don’t think so. (You’re going to have to allow what took place on the inside to work its way out.)
At the risk of being redundant, I think I’ve made my point. Of course, what took place in your spirit is going to affect your behavior, the function of your mind, will and emotions and even your physical countenance. By observation, we are probably all aware of how the new birth impacts behavior, and even how you look. Sometimes the change is so striking we’re amazed at the results in someone’s life, which can be almost instantaneous. But my point is, 2 Corinthians 5:17 is talking about your spirit man. Having said that, notice the next verse.
2 Corinthians 5:18 — And all things are of God…
Here’s a question to think about: What is included in “all things”? All things that new. In other words, your spirit man, although the same, is recreated in Christ Jesus, and the substance of the new creation is God Himself. God is a Spirit (John 4:24).
Let me carry that a step further. We often think of “dying to self” in terms of our body, too — or perhaps our body and our soul. In other words, “dying to self” simply means denying physical lusts. That’s a carnal view, a misunderstanding of what the Bible is telling us. (By the way, if what you want from your spiritual life is simply to deny your physical lusts, I have a suggestion. Become a Hindu and join an ashram. A lot of Buddhists do a good job of that, too. Sorry, but if what you’re after is denying physical lusts because you’re thinking in terms of the flesh, that’s what I honestly recommend.) Let’s examine scripture.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Some translations say “faith in the Son of God” but “faith of the Son of God” is much more accurate. We live by His faith! (not ours). I’m sure you were already familiar with Galatians 2:20, but let’s read it in context…
Galatians 2:19-21 For I through the law am dead to the law (salvation through what I do, or thinking in terms of actions rather than being), that I might live unto God (cf. 2 Corinthians. 5:17-18). (20) I am (not I’m going to be, or I’m going to do, but I am) crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (21) I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Later in Galatians, Apostle Paul writes…
Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Put another way, if you try to live by law, rather than in union with, and identification with Christ, you have fallen from grace — and remember, it’s by grace you are saved.
Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.
Notice, this does not say, those who don’t keep the law are under the curse, but as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse. In other words, adhering to law as a means of salvation in any area brings the curse!
Now back to Galatians 2:20, which says “I am crucified with Christ…”
Let me ask you a question: How many of your actions were involved in Christ’s death? (Hint: He chose to die for you and did die for you long before you were born.) As we receive His death for us, so we must receive our death in Him. Our “dying to self” is not a matter of acquisition; it’s really a matter of identification. In other words, it’s not as the result of any works on our part. As we adopt this mindset, we will not frustrate the grace of God.
As believers, we all want to be holy — but we won’t do what we want to do (or should do) by focusing on the doing. It’s only as we reckon ourselves dead with Christ that we can DO what we want to do, and what we should do.
Let’s look at Romans 6:7-12 — For he that is dead is freed from sin. (8) Now if we be dead with Christ (and we are), we believe that we shall also live with him: (9) Knowing (not guessing, but knowing) that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. (10) For in that he died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. (11) Likewise (in the same way as Jesus) reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (12) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
I would recommend, if you haven’t done so lately, that you mediate on that passage in Romans 6. It’s all about identification. Our response to sin is only mentioned here after recognizing our identity in Christ — because this passage isn’t talking about your soulish life or your physical life. Oh sure, it will naturally affect those areas, but we’re talking about a change that took place in your spirit when you were born again.
Our problem is, not only have we not known who we are, but we have not located ourselves. Where we are…
Colossians 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (2) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (3) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (4) When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Your location: Colossians 3:3, For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Without the death, you could not be resurrected, much less ascended, or exalted with Christ. Lest you be tempted to think I’m teaching heresy, I commend to you this passage:
Epheians 2:4-6 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith He loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Now obviously this isn’t true in our bodies, or even in our souls — but it’s still true. It’s a spirit reality; a new creation reality; it’s true in our born again spirits. Let’s take Jesus as our example. Everyone knows John 3:16, even unbelievers. But do you know about the 13th verse of the same chapter (also spoken by Jesus)?
John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
It may do you well to read those words over again. (Too often, I think we read right past verses like this. They’re “too hard” to understand — and we have help in misunderstanding from theologians who may call a verse like this “one of those “theologically troubling passages.” But the reality is, it’s not hard to understand at all, if you’re spiritually minded.)
So here’s the deal. Jesus spoke these words in verse 13 while He was on the earth. He was referring to Himself. His physical location at the time was in a garden in Israel and the time was late at night. He was joined by a prominent religious leader who met Him at this odd time, mostly likely out of the fear of man, not knowing what the repercussions of talking to a famous controversial figure might be.
Just as we (now) sit with Christ in heavenly places, we are following Jesus’ example on the earth. In fact, we have become like Him. Remember, there is no time nor distance in the spirit, only in the natural. Time is for when you’re “under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and distance basically works the same way. That’s how this works.
In Part 2, I’ll illustrate how this works (“being in two places at one time”) by sharing a personal testimony from an outreach to Pakistan in 2017. You’ll be amazed at what God did when I was there. I’ll share more about “The Process of Transformation” in 3-4 days.
I trust this has blessed your life. If you want to hear more about this topic, request my 4-hour teaching on CD by the same name, “The Process of Transformation.” To order, click here.
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May God bless you Richly in Every Way,