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leading to lasting victory over sexual addiction through a growing, vibrant, powerful relationship with Christ.
It is vital to our spiritual growth that we understand we cannot change ourselves. When left to our own devices, we will continue in our sin. Why? Because “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Four chapters earlier, in Jeremiah 13:23 God asks the question: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.” True, genuine, lasting change happens only as you renovate your thinking. That’s the point of Romans 12:2. We are to “be transformed by the renewal of (our) mind.” And we saw in last week’s episode that the verb to renew means to renovate. We must gut out the old way of thinking – how do I make King Me happy, happy, happy – and replace it with a brand-new way of thinking ... how do I please God!
In 1 Samuel 10:6 the prophet Samuel told King Saul that “the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power ... and you will be changed into a different person.” It’s the same for you and me today. As we yield to the Holy Spirit’s work in our life, saturating our mind with and choosing to walk in obedience to God’s Word, we will be changed into a different person. But we must choose, as Jacob did (in Genesis 35:2) to “get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes.”
As you choose to do this, Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit will be seen in your life. When you choose to “trust in the Lord and do good” and you choose to “delight yourself in the Lord,” as well as “commit your way to the Lord,” God promises to “make your righteousness shine like the dawn” (Psalm 37:3-6).
In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus declared, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” We are to let our light shine, but what exactly is this “light” that Jesus is referring to, and how do we let it shine?
In the Gospel of John, we read that John the Baptist “came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” (John 1:7-9) Just as with John the Baptist, in and of ourselves, you and I are not light. On our own we have no light to shine.
In John 8:12 we read, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’.” In John 12:46 Jesus says, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” And in John 12:36 Jesus said to His disciples, “Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.”
You see my friend, when you accepted Christ as your Savior, you instantly became a “son of light.” The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:5, “You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” When you became a Christian, when you accepted the truth of your sinful condition, and understood that the wages of your sin was eternal separation from God (Romans 3:23) – when you chose to believe that God loved you so much that He took your place, He received the full penalty for your sin, He died a cruel death on the Cross of Calvary in your stead (John 3:16) – on the day you were born again, the truth of Galatians 2:20 took place in your life. You were crucified with Christ and you became a new creation. Jesus Christ, the light of the world, came to live within you through the Person of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). So, when you choose to live a godly life, when you choose to walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), when you put on the new self (Romans 13:14), you are letting the light of Christ that is within you, shine for others to see.
Listen to what the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 2:12-16. “Therefore, my dear friend, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.”
That phrase “working out your salvation” doesn’t mean you are living a life dependent upon works to maintain your relationship with God. In Galatians 3:3 Paul asks a question of the saints at the church in Galatia. He asks, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” You see, you and I were saved by faith, and (as Galatians 2:20 declares) we continue to live out our Christian life by faith “in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Working out your salvation means that you are being transformed in such a way that you are daily living out the holiness of God that now resides inside of you. You are learning daily to choose to say “No!” to the flesh and “Yes!” to the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:8 says, “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” In Matthew 5:16 Jesus says that we are the light of the world. We are to “let (our) light shine before men, that they may see (our) good deeds and praise (our) Father in Heaven.” How are you doing with that? Are you daily letting your light shine at work? Are you letting your light shine at home? Are you letting your light shine around your friends – your neighbors?
We let our light shine when we focus all of our thoughts on how to please God and choose to give our body daily to God as a living sacrifice. Remember, what we think becomes what we do. When you live out your faith by the things you say and do, so that others will see who God is and understand His wonderous love for them – that is when you are letting the light of God’s love, God’s holiness shine bright and clear for the world to see!
Listen my friend, the Holy Spirit lives within you to help you understand God’s Word and to guide you in how to apply His truth to your everyday life. Are you listening to Him? Are you following Him? Are you letting Him not only lead you but live through you? When we actually choose to apply God’s Word to our life, we are no longer just a listener of the Word but a doer. We have become wise men (or women) who are building our godly life upon the Rock!
That is living by the Spirit. That is glorifying to God. That is fulfilling the purpose of your creation. And when you daily choose to live by the Spirit you will no longer gratify the sinful desires of the flesh, because you will no longer be thinking about how to indulge those sinful desires. Instead, you will be thinking about how to glorify God!
Let me close out today’s podcast by quoting Romans 12:2 one more time. “Be not conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
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So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.