Session 6 – Change (transformation)
SALVATION IS JUST THE BEGINNING. TRANSFORMATION IS NOW YOUR EXCITING JOURNEY!
“Conversion” means you changed from one thing to another. In your case, you changed from not being a disciple of Jesus to being one. It also means that God is now at work in your life, starting to make you be more like Jesus. Does this surprise you? What actually happened when you became a Christian? What does this new life as a follower of Jesus look like? Does my life change automatically?
Watch the “Change” video
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” Romans 8:29
“for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord”. Ephesians 5:8-10
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
“A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. Luke 6:40
SALVATION IS JUST THE BEGINNING! TRANSFORMATION IS NOW GOD’S PLAN:
Once you commit your ways to God He wants you to be changing into the likeness and image of Jesus.This means having Jesus’ character developed within so you begin thinking, speaking, and acting as He does.
The good news is that He makes available all you need to do so. Your responsibility is to cooperate with Him(2 Corinthians 3:18, Psalm 37:4, Ephesians 2:10, Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 1:6).
After conversion things WILL change and be different. You are now a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17, Philippians 2:12).
Never forget that God is good, loves you unconditionally, and desires only the best for you (Psalm 34:1-10, Psalm 37:4). He calls us to trust and obey Him in all things (Deuteronomy 9:12-13, Proverbs 3:5, Nehemiah 1:5-6, John 15:10). Go to Him FIRST for everything and do as He directs (Psalm 17:9).
Remember God has a plan for your life that He designed even before you were conceived. He also wrote every day of it in His book of life (Psalm 139, Psalm 33:11). It is a much better way to live life than you were on your own (1 Corinthians 2:9, Jeremiah 29:11).
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE MOMENT OF YOUR SALVATION?
Before salvation you were destined to spend your natural life and your eternity separated from God (a hellish existence).
When you repented of living life without God and confessed Jesus as your Lord and Savior, God:
- Made a place for you in His eternal kingdom (a heavenly existence)
- Forgave ALL your sins (1 John 1:9)
- Made you into a new creation that is dead to the power of sin and alive to God
- Removed condemnation (Romans 8:1)
- Redeemed you (paid your sins penalty price) 1 Corinthians 6:20
- Set you aside to be able to live a Godly life (Romans 6:18)
- Made you His child (a part of His Family) John 1:12
- Placed the Holy Spirit within you (1 Corinthians 3:16)
- Called you to be transformed (Romans 12:1-2).
YOUR ONGOING ROLE IN TRANSFORMATION
Be aware that Godly change is not automatic. You have an important part to play. You must listen to God as He reveals His plans for you. Keep asking “God, what are you speaking to me today?”. Then, cooperate with Him! We are to always “Hear and do” (James 1:22-25, James 2:14-26, Romans 12:1-2, Proverbs 3:5-6).
God is now going to speak to you as He places desires into your heart and then, through the Holy Spirit, gives you the ability to achieve those godly desires (2 Corinthians 3:18, Psalm 37:4).
Do your best, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to be always aware of God’s presence as you go about your day. Be ready to talk with Him, listen to Him, do whatever you sense He is asking at the moment (Acts 2:25, Psalm 27:8, Jeremiah 29:13). That is how change happens.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?
Change begins in your mind with your thoughts and results in right actions as your heart is changed (Romans 12:2). Healthy thoughts always align with God’s word as revealed in the Bible. Be encouraged to read, study and understand as much as possible.
God only allows those things to happen in our lives that we need to grow our faith and character (1 Corinthians 10:13, 2 Timothy 3:12, Romans 8:28, Galatians 5:22-23). It is a hard truth, but we often grow and change most during difficult times.
What does this new life look like? It is that of a disciple of Jesus as you learn to become like Him (Matthew 28:19–20, John 16:6, John 8:31-32, Luke 6:40, Luke 9:23).
As you are changed by the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Holy Spirit (the character of Jesus) will be developed in you (Galatians 5:19-26):
The Holy Spirit is the 3rd person of the One God (The Trinity). His main responsibilities are to guide, teach, give gifts (including Fruit of Spirit), and empower (1 Corinthians 12:1-11, John 14:26). We will talk more about the Holy Spirit in a session 8.
THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF REPENTANCE:
Another word for change is repent. It means turning from the ways of sin to the ways of God. In other words, when God shows you that something you are doing is sin, you agree to turn around and go the other way by doing the opposite action. For example, instead of being angry, be at peace (1 Thess. 9, Matthew 4:17, Luke 24:46-48, Luke 5:31-32, Acts 3:19, Acts 20:21, Romans 2:4, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, Acts 17:30, Luke 13:3).
Repentance is not a one-time event; it’s a healthy lifestyle that is to continue until God calls you home at the end of your life on Earth (Philippians 2:12-13, Ephesians 4:17-29, Psalm 139:23-24, Hebrews 4:16, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 8:29, Psalm 51:10-12).
YOU CANNOT CHANGE ON YOUR OWN – YOU MUST HAVE GOD’S GRACE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT:
NOTE (this is so important) — You cannot truly change your character or be transformed by your own will power. For transformation (change) to happen, it REQUIRES God’s ongoing gifts of grace and the power of the Holy Spirit within. We will look more closely at this in session 8.
You may not have had a good beginning in life but this does not mean you cannot have a great finish. Whatever your past life, with Jesus you can make a completely new start and have a great future.
You do not need to go around burdened by guilt from incidents in your past. The moment you repented and put your faith in Jesus, all your sins were wiped out. He forgave you, removed all condemnation (Romans:1-3), and began to reveal His plans for you.
Do not be overwhelmed and want to give up!! This will take time. It is a journey and God promises to be with you every step of the way. He will work on areas of your life little-by-little and a glorious life awaits (Deuteronomy 31:8, Hebrews 4:16).
FINAL NOTE: HAVE YOU BEEN BAPTIZED?
As an important part of following God and being changed, you should be baptized to publicly proclaim that Jesus is now your Lord and savior. That you have died to yourself and are now living for God (Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38).
The next session is #7 – When you stumble (Confess).