If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17
Today’s devotion is from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.
Regarding our own personal prejudices:
Our Lord never tolerates our prejudices— He is directly opposed to them and puts them to death. We tend to think that God has some special interest in our particular prejudices, and are very sure that He will never deal with us as He has to deal with others. We even say to ourselves, “God has to deal with other people in a very strict way, but of course He knows that my prejudices are all right.” But we must learn that God accepts nothing of the old life! Instead of being on the side of our prejudices, He is deliberately removing them from us. It is part of our moral education to see our prejudices put to death by His providence, and to watch how He does it. God pays no respect to anything we bring to Him. There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.
Alma, speaking unto the multitude, asks them a pertinent question:
14 And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church, have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?
What our thoughts were, prior to our conversion, the manner of speech, and how we conducted ourselves must change. Being born again is not merely an exterior change of how we conduct ourselves, but must begin within the very depths of our soul. It also requires that we change our previously held convictions, thoughts, and beliefs. In exchange, we are promised that we will become spiritually mature through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. This, of course, does not happen over night. It takes time, revealing of our weaknesses, and areas where we must focus and work on. Ultimately, we are transformed through enduring, growing from faith to faith, and becoming a true disciple of Christ. In essence, our goal, upon our conversion and baptism, ought to be putting to death the sinful desires and natural man. This is what the Apostle Paul himself testifies:
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
In this, we must continually allow ourselves to become a living sacrifice by not being conformed to the world but being transformed by the renewing of our mind (See Romans 12:1-2).
How this happens is when we are given the Gift of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands. It is through the Holy Spirit that we receive divine inspiration, revelation, and direction for our lives. He becomes our personal witness to all things that guide us into a life changing journey through our mortal existence:
When we are born again, the Holy Spirit begins to work His new creation in us, and there will come a time when there is nothing remaining of the old life. Our old gloomy outlook disappears, as does our old attitude toward things, and “all things are of God” (2 Corinthians 5:18). How are we going to get a life that has no lust, no self-interest, and is not sensitive to the ridicule of others? How will we have the type of love that “is kind . . . is not provoked, [and] thinks no evil”? (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). The only way is by allowing nothing of the old life to remain, and by having only simple, perfect trust in God— such a trust that we no longer want God’s blessings, but only want God Himself. Have we come to the point where God can withdraw His blessings from us without our trust in Him being affected? Once we truly see God at work, we will never be concerned again about the things that happen, because we are actually trusting in our Father in heaven, whom the world cannot see.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to fulfill what another Book of Mormon Prophet and teacher relates to us:
32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. 33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.
It is the call to fulfill the commandment of Jesus Christ, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect” (See Matthew 5:48). This can only be accomplished when we go through the eight significant steps of spiritual maturation.
- Have you had a mighty change of heart?
- Do you still hold onto particular prejudices and biased perspectives that have not been given up?
- What does it mean to be perfected in Christ to you?
- What steps are you willing to take to shed off those things that are keeping you from having a meaningful life?
- Are you doubting your faith because you find it difficult to listen and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit?