Group dynamics are a powerful force. When gathered with my family, old habit patterns of thinking set in, old behaviors and even old rivalries. I don’t mean for this to happen, they just do. When I hang with old friends from high school, the memories and behaviors of past times spring forward and suddenly I’m acting sixteen again trying to decide if my outfit will impress or distress me. Wow! What a change. Why do old thoughts and actions try to resurface?
I thought that when I got born-again, presto chango all things are made new!
God says in 2 Cor. 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.”
So how come I still have all these old habit patterns? Why don’t I feel new? Didn’t it work? Is there something I’m doing wrong? What is this “in Christ” stuff anyway?
Let’s find out.
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”Colossians 1:27
“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Romans 8:10-11
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” Romans 8:6
Christ is a term used for the new creation God put inside you the moment you were born again. Christ means anointing. It is a word used for when a person receives the gift of Holy Spirit. God is Holy and God is Spirit. He can only give what He is. Holy Spirit. When is that? It happens at the very moment of salvation.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9
When Christ is used in reference to a condition of a person’s spiritual reality, is is trying to determine the freewill decision of person. Are they born again? Do they have that gift of Holy Spirit? So this verse in 2 Corinthians about old things are passed away and all things are become new, is talking about the moment of spiritual birth not their behavior or mental state after that birth occurs. So many Christians believe, as I used to believe, that when we are made a new creation, all the things that were bad in my “old” man would disappear automatically and prest-o chang-o I am a new person with new habits and new personality traits. This is simply not true. If that were true why would God ask us to do this?
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2
God never does for me what He asks me to do for myself.
My behavior and renewed mind is my choice, and I always have a choice because I still have free will. So when old buddies come up to me and want to gossip the town down like old times, I have a choice. When a family member wants to belabor and stress over family dynamics it’s my choice to join in.
So how do I stop doing that stuff? How do I renew my mind?
One thought at a time.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:5
Some old thoughts sneak up on me and wowzah are they fast. Before I realize it a hurtful statement is out in the world. You cannot unring a bell. All this action starts with a thought. Our mind is fast, but if we force it to slow down and really concentrate on what we are thinking about, all kinds of things come to light.
Changing habits takes work.
It takes a concerted effort. The most difficult ones are the daily or most frequent habits we have. This is HOW to renew our mind. We stop something mid-action. We determine not to continue, then we replace it with something better. It doesn’t work just to say not to do it. You have to replace it with something better. Ask God what to replace them with. Our minds and bodies love habits. They are constantly striving for the structure and dependability of a habit. So why not use this to our advantage. Why not make a habit of thinking positive, reading the Word, praying, speaking the Word, fellowshipping with like-minded believers and giving? Why not make the five basics for growth our daily habits? Then when we see our “old ways” creep up, we can stop them and never reap the consequences of our old life again.
God bless you today!