How are those New Years’ Resolutions holding out? Wanting to be better this year? Well, here’s some free advice:
Act your way into the right emotions.
Don’t feel your way into the right actions.
I don’t remember where I heard this, but it’s proven very sound advice. Translation: decide, preferably beforehand, how to act in a situation. And do not let your feeling du jour be your moral compass.
Okay, it’s true that a cute little saying does little to calm the raging beast within given the wrong set of circumstances, hormone levels or traffic patterns. So, it’s time to pull out our secret weapon. Or so I’ve come to think of it.
Yes, God’s Word –empowered by His Holy Spirit, applied to my situation—really changes me; changes my responses, my reactions. And, dare I even say…my emotions!
Sound too good to be true? Look for yourself:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 NIV
Though there are about half a dozen words in there that are fascinating, we’ll hone in on just one: transformed. It’s translated from the Greek word metamorphoo from which, you may have already guessed, we get our English word metamorphosis.1
So, this verse is speaking of the transformation that “occur(s) only as the Holy Spirit changes our thinking through consistent study and meditation on Scirpture.”2 And, in case you’re a bit allergic to meditation, fearing ties to Eastern mysticism, fear not. In fact, throw in a piece of gum and hang with me one more minute:
“Meditation upon God’s Word is fast becoming a lost art among many Christian people. This holy exercise of pondering over the Word, chewing it as an animal chews its cud to get its sweetness and nutritive virtue into the heart and life, take time, which ill fits into the speed of our modern age.”3
You may be surprised to know the modern age the author spoke of was 1953. Hmm. How’s your gum holding out? Lost its flavor yet? Well, I can assure you the Bible has not. In fact, the longer we’ll chew, ponder or meditate, the sweeter it becomes.
Now, back to my early premise. Want to be better this year than you were last? God is already good enough for both of us and is fully equipped to work the change/transformation needed in us. He only bids us to draw near and spend time with Him.
“And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18b NLT
- Merril F. Unger, “Pathways to Power,” (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1953) p. 41