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. II Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)
Have you ever wished you could change a certain attitude or drop an unattractive trait? The Good News is that it’s possible. Paul tells us how it can happen in a couple of his letters. First, by exposing our true selves and concentrating on Jesus (II Cor. 3:18), his attributes, his character, and his love, we become more and more like him. Then, we trust his working in us will be for good. Remember, he has already begun a good work in us and will continue it until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6), and he is working in us just now giving us the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Phil. 2:13 NLT).
Finally, if we really want to grow and to change, we must listen to the Holy Spirit who speaks to each one of us. It is his job to convict us regarding sin and righteousness (John 16:8). Essentially, prior to our pursuing an attitude displeasing to God or speaking unkind words or acting in a manner unbecoming his child, the Holy Spirit quietly warns us. In this millisecond we have a choice: Do we follow our selfish instincts or do we respond to God?
God always does his part in changing us from glory to glory, but we have to do ours. God has given us free will to follow him or to indulge our flesh. The instant his Spirit softly alerts us, we can respond in obedience and find ourselves more like our Lord or we can reject him and become more entrenched in the behaviors and attitudes that even we despise.
So we return to that life regimen we call discipline. To cooperate with God’s work in transforming us, we listen when his Spirit speaks, and we discipline ourselves to do his will. In that instant of decision, he empowers us, and as we continue this right behavior, it becomes a habit. At last, with practice, we are no longer enslaved by that sinful attitude or behavior. It’s really quite simple.
God’s part: conviction and empowerment; our part: disciplined obedience. Result: transformation.
Father, how long have we tried to change ourselves when we know that only you can make us like Jesus? Give us ears to hear your Spirit and determination to do your will. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.