First, as you can guess – this is about freedom from sin.
You know? We can learn from books and teachers and from the mistakes of others. But some of us have to do it wrongly ourselves, every time. I hope that I don’t do that all of my life. But this time, after I had made all of the mistakes for myself, God got ahold of me. Here is how He spoke to me.
1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 (The MSG)
12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. 15-16 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. Philippians 3:12-16 (The MSG)
Note in that passage to renew our mind leads to transformation. The Greek word for this is metamorphoo , from which we get our word metamorphosis, meaning a complete change in our nature, in the same way that a caterpillar becomes a butterfly; in fact, the composition, structure and anatomy of a butterfly are not “modifications” of the caterpillar, but a different animal entirely. Keeping all of that in mind, please read my story.
Two years ago, my life began that change in nature. I am no longer who I used to be. At that time I was a caterpillar, surely, and I had let sin drag me down and down. Gradually I have been changed and become someone who can fly! But it did not come easily.
Bound up in sexual sin, I found, at the ministry called Setting Captives Free, the Way of Purity course. And then I became a mentor there. But there was more – I realized that I had problems with an eating disorder (meaning that I ate too much), so then I completed The Lord’s Table course. After that I did a third course, By His Wounds, dealing with certain unhealthy habits of mine.
However, I made a big mistake each time. I thought the metamorphosis consisted of 60 days. That’s how long each course was. And then I was supposed to have left the sin behind – smooth sailing from then on, right?
Now, two years later, some temptations have persisted, others have returned, and some have evolved. And amid all this, my frustration has been great, and my doubts about myself have grown. Will I ever fully change? Why is the temptation more severe some days even more than before? Why do I sometimes experience the same sinful desires that I had when I started The Way of Purity?
I found the answer in one of my lessons in By His Wounds, and by revelation through His Word. So now I understand that the metamorphosis is not completed yet, because it will be a constant for the rest of my days.
…the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. Philippians 1:6 (The MSG)
And He is! And He will!
I understood that this is not a lack of faith, but the two, beautiful passages with which I began this article are put there to show that the transformation and renewal of the mind are processes every day, always changing, always growing. You have probably heard of the doctrine of gradual sanctification. It’s the same idea.
So, I can understand that I have not finished the course, even though I have done three courses. And the battle may continue for many years. Nowadays the lie that I had invented sounds absurd. After all – Who told me that I had already “graduated” in purity, was already an expert on freedom?
This revelation does not bring me condemnation, but great joy, because I know that graduation is not on earth, and certainly not in 60 days. At graduation, I get to go to my heavenly home where I expect the real prize.
Meanwhile, here on earth I can press forward toward the high calling of Christ!