The Elements of Life Transformation
It is the fundamental message of the Bible that people are not naturally good and loving. It is also the fundamental message of the Bible that people do not and cannot become good by trying hard to be good. Our thoughts, words and actions are the result of who we really are inside at the core of our being. Jesus said,
“That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mark 7:20-23, NASB)
God’s goal is for us to act good and loving, but He knows it won’t happen by rules, regulations and threats. The only effective solution is to give us a new “heart”—a new nature, a loving nature like His—and then to transform our minds so that we think and choose what is good, right and loving because we want to. This is what Jesus makes possible for all those who believe in and follow Him.
When a person first puts his or her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way to be “saved” from sin, God the Holy Spirit comes into that person and becomes united with that person’s spirit. This re-creates that person’s nature or “heart.” That believer is now a “new creation” in Christ Jesus—a person capable of real love.
However, that person’s soul (mind, will and emotions) still needs to be restructured and reformed. This part of our salvation is a process in which we participate. There are six major elements to the transformation of the human soul.
- Exposure to and assimilation of the Truth
- Practicing Forgiveness
- Deliverance from demonic influences
- Personal Experiences with God
- Making protective Choices
- Creating Nurturing environments
Christians need to apply themselves to the practice of these things so that Jesus can work the transformation process out in their lives. Churches need to help Christians to practice these six elements.
In particular, the greatest impact of these elements happens in the context of a loving community. Only a portion of the transformation elements can happen on a purely individual basis. We need to practice these together. Walnut Creek Friends are committed to doing just that. (Check out our Life Transformation Small Groups.)