How do you change old, habitual ways of doing things - things that have become instinctual – those natural pathways your mind is used to going in without having to think about it?
I wrote last week that your old network can no longer accommodate where God wants to bring you. This leaves you only one option: You must change networks.
Paul helps us to understand how the conflict in networks plays out.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Here is the short version. The new network is up and running, but the old network is still there. You can try to go back to it any time you want, but it just doesn’t feel right. This is because the old network is dead and when we try to go back, it’s like trying to dig up a dead body. This is why we feel “wretched” in the struggle. It’s not impossible to go backwards, but you gain nothing in the effort but death. For if you live according to the flesh you will die (Romans 8:14).
But here is the victory piece, “But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:14). We cannot do this without the help of the Holy Spirit.
When we yield to the Holy Spirit, He manifests the life if Christ within us, helping us to fulfill John 15:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 ESV
There are only two ways this can go.
I try to become the source of my own transformation. We live in a “do it yourself culture” where if you can read, you can do anything. Knowledge is power - knowledge is control over your fate. That is true to a point, but there are certain things that no matter how much knowledge you have, unless God does it, it will never happen. Taking a snapshot of your own struggle - One doesn’t need a lot of convincing to realize that being the source of our own transformation doesn’t work. Jesus reminds us of why it doesn’t work.
For apart from me you can do nothing.
God is the source of my transformation. When we abide in Christ, whatever in us that doesn’t look like Him is confronted until it changes very much the way a mirror confronts a person Monday morning after a weekend of heaving eating. When we abide in Christ, we begin changing by degrees.
2 Corinthians 3:18 affirms that “We are being transformed into the same image (Christ’s) from one degree of glory to another”.
If you chose to connect to the vine of Christ, God’s new network will shape your behavior - it will build your faith and bring you to God’s goal for your life.
One of the tribes of Israel made this desperate prayer to God:
Bring me back that I may be restored