Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Regeneration—a word we don’t use often enough. It describes salvation and the realities of our new lives in Christ. This word suggests that salvation necessarily comes with changes in the way we act, speak, and think. In other words, regeneration speaks of being transformed. Although this may feel like a farfetched notion to some people, even to believers, it is a Biblical guarantee. 2 Corinthians 5:17 assures us that for those of us in Christ, “the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”
While this scripture declares that regeneration is instant and assured, our submission to that reality is a process. You know the process: the one in which God continues to reveal to you the things that must change in your life, leaving you to decide whether you will ignore his voice or yield to the change he brings. If we were to be honest, we often resist that change—some of us being more stubborn than others. Yet this process is critical to our mandates of evangelism, reconciliation, and leadership.
People are coming to an understanding that the do as I say, not as I do mantra is inadequate in bringing change and often results in resentment towards leaders and the principles that leaders seek to impart. Human beings require an example—something they can visualize, desire, and pattern their lives after. This is what made Christ’s birth, life, and death necessary components of God’s redemptive plan. Therefore, if people respond to examples, transformational leaders must live lives that demonstrate God’s will on earth more than we preach it. Leaders who simply dictate good policy and procedures are sometimes despised, while the leaders who embody the policies and principles they preach are respected and find receptive audiences.
When we look at the injustices that abound in the earth and the moral ambiguity that is present in the world, we recognize that change and resolve should start with self-examination. Before we demand justice from the world, we must discipline ourselves to yield to the reshaping of our minds, appetites, and pursuits. We can preach against sexism, racism, bigotry, and hate—yet, transformation will not happen until the antidotes for these issues are embodied by believers and the church first! Whether you are a leader in your house, community, job, or church, transformational change begins with you, and then flows down to those who follow you. Let there be change in the earth, and let it begin with me.
Lord, change can sometimes feel difficult and overwhelming. Our flesh grows weary and tired in the process. We want transformation, Lord, but we need your help to endure it. Guide us from the place of promised change and to the fulfillment of becoming who we have always been in you. When we act stubbornly against your will, soften our hearts. When we disobey your instructions, please renew your release of grace that gives us another chance to come in alignment with you. Yours is the kingdom, power, and glory. In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen.