He Changed My Mind
Today I want to talk about breaking bad habits, or destructive patterns in our life. It requires allowing the Holy Spirit to change our mind. We tend to put on our Christian faces and look like we have it all together, but all of us have our inner struggles that the Holy Spirit knows about. He wants to help us change, to help us take on the mind and personality of Christ, to set us free.
When you are struggling with something and have failed repeatedly, you can begin to believe that it is just you. It is the way you are, it is the way your parents were, that’s just the way God made you, but the truth is that we can change.
A prime example is the Apostle Paul. In the beginning, he was a Christian hunter. He worked for the High Priests and traveled to distant cities in order to arrest Christians. He put them in prison. He voted for them to be put to death like Stephen. He punished them in the synagogues, and he tried to make them renounce Jesus. Paul was fully convinced that he was doing the right thing.
Then while on the road to Damascus and planning to arrest some Christians there, he met the Lord Jesus in a blinding light and his life changed forever, but that was only the beginning of his journey. Jesus told him this:
I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. Acts 26:17–18 ESV
To turn from darkness to light, from the power of satan to God. That is radical change, and don’t think that your flesh will not struggle against big changes like that. We are creatures of habit and can become set it in our ways. What it takes is a break out of the normal pattern. A reset of our habits and our way of thinking. Paul struggled himself and he wrote about it in many places like in Romans 7:
“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:21–25 ESV.
This is Paul’s autobiography, but it is also the experience of every Christian. Anyone who has seriously followed Christ has known something of this struggle. This is reality! The flesh struggles against the Spirit, but the key is this: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17).
I am not saying that we have to be perfect, but I am saying that we should be trying to be more like Jesus. There is grace to cover the darkest of sins but it was Jesus who said: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46–47 ESV) and why would He say that if it didn’t matter?
After Paul described his hopeless bondage to sin in Romans chapter 7, he goes on to mention the Holy Spirit twenty times in Romans chapter 8. It is the chapter of liberation through God’s Holy Spirit. Freedom comes to us through the Holy Spirit as we take on the mind of Christ.
As we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit, we are liberated, set free. We no longer have to sin, and it has no power over us. Through the Holy Spirit, the virtue, perfection, and power of Christ’s life comes to us. We begin to do the Law of God from the heart. We love him with all our hearts, and we begin to love our neighbors as ourselves. When we choose to follow the Spirit instead of our old self, that old nature is slowly crucified with Christ. That is the meaning of taking up our cross and following Him.
One thing that I want to make clear is that it is perfectly ok to feel like you do not measure up. To realize that you cannot master something unless God steps in and helps, is where we need to be to receive deliverance. We cannot do it in our own strength and when we try, we will react in one of two ways: Either we begin to deny that we are sinful at all, hide it, and become self-righteous Pharisees, or we despair and give up following after God. The key is to be moldable, changeable, to humbly serve God and let His Spirit guide us day by day. It also requires that we keep an open mind. For example:
Once a member of our church was having serious back pain, and he also had a very bad temper. When he went up for prayer, the Holy Spirit told the Pastor to slap him. Pastor thought about it, then told everyone what was going to happen next. Then he drew back and slapped the man that was asking for prayer on his cheek. The man turned red as a beet, and Pastor asked him “What do you feel?” The man said “I feel like I should slap you back!” Pastor moved onto the next person, and the man went home with his terrible back pain.
A week went by and the man prayed about it, and then returned for prayer. He told the Pastor “Slap me Pastor!” When he did, the man just stood there and smiled. The pain instantly left his back and he was healed. This time he chose to follow the Spirit, instead of yielding to his carnal flesh. He chose to turn the other cheek, rather than blow up in anger. His back pain had a right to be there because of his attitude, his anger. When he chose to side with the Holy Spirit against it, it was evicted.
Through the help of the Holy Spirit, we can change. Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future. The pattern that has been in the past is not what has to be repeated today. You cannot steer a car that is parked, so get moving in the right direction, and the Holy Spirit will come along to help you.
You can pray this with me if you like:
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please deliver me from the things that hold me back. Give me the grace to change for the better and help me breakout of bad habits and bad cycles, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.Read more at: www.refreshinghope.org