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Deep & Lasting Change, Part 1

By Ron Surgeon  /  

If you could change, would you? Deep lasting change, change programmed into our bodies (the biblical term is members) is pictured in the way we have been conditioned/ trained/ programmed to know how to drive to our houses from familiar places in the city. This conditioning/ practice/ training happens through consistent following of particular instructions or directions. Eventually, as we drive, we are shaped to travel to our destinations easily, automatically, unconsciously, by habit, and without further instruction. Through consistent practice of driving, the instruction or the way home, is written on our hearts. Through regular practice, defined by what we do with our bodies, our hearts are changed and we find ourselves reshaped, recharacterized, different. 

Spiritually, through training our bodies, we find ourselves ready to do the will of God (ready for every good work- Titus 3:1). By presenting our bodies to Him as vehicles for what is good and acceptable to God, we’ll be able to spiritually worship (Rom 12:1).

The mind is also an important instrument on the path of transformation. Renewing the mind or creating new patterns of thought enables us to imagine the possibilities for goodness within our newly found freedom (Gal. 4:13; Rom. 12:2). A renewed mind instructs us of what to do with our bodies which are the outlets for what we have discerned the will of God to be. Forming new habits of thought, alongside compliantly yielding our body parts to do what is right and good, leads to becoming internally and externally like Christ (sanctification). This is how you “train yourself for godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7).  James K.A. Smith says it like this, “Habits are formed by practices: routines and rituals that inscribe particular ongoing habits into our character, such that they become second nature to us.” He goes on to say, “Practices are sorts of rituals: they are material, embodied routines that we do over and over again: they are usually aimed at a specific end, or goal; and their repetition and practice has the effect of making them more and more automatic such that they become part of the very fiber of our character, wired into our second nature.” Those sentences can be summarized as, “Deep… lasting… change.” 

More on this topic later.  Thanks for reading.

God’s friend,

Ron Surgeon