It seems for the last week the Holy Spirit has been pushing the point that we are to be transformed not conformed to the righteousness of God. Perhaps it is because of the fasting many people are doing. I really hope that everyone is participating in the fast with the right motivation and understanding and aren't doing the old Lent thing people used to do for Easter. People would give up something minor to identify with the suffering of Jesus. As if giving up coffee or television could ever help us identify with the beating, suffering and crucifixion of Jesus.
Fasting should help us see the things that need to be changed in our life so there can be more of Jesus and less of us. There should be a throwing out of things to make room for the Holy Spirit. There should be a throwing off of things that do not belong to our new nature so the glory of Jesus can shine in us. But, as we discussed yesterday, it is only possible when we have died and been raised to live in Jesus. The transformation must have started in order for us to possess the power and authority to "put to death" the things that belong to the old nature from which we were just transformed.
If you have been saved, put to death with Jesus on the cross, and raised with him according to your faith in the power of God to do so, then you have the power to get rid of those things that have had authority over you for years. We read in Colossians 3:
You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. (Colossians 3:7-8)
Again, it must be stressed, this cannot be done from a self-help, self-improvement mentality and perspective. If you have tried to improve yourself, and failed, it is because you are not doing it within the power of the transformation. It means you are trying to do it in your own authority and without Jesus you have no authority over your sin nature. You honestly have to die with Jesus and be raised to life as a new creation in the power of God. Christianity is not something to be trifled with; it is a transforming power that changes what you were. Christians are actually a bunch of aliens walking around on this planet, no longer natives to this world, no longer fitting in.
If you have gone through the transformation, you possess the power and authority of Jesus to put to death these things that no longer are part of you. You can get rid of that anger that once possessed you, the rage that overwhelmed you. Malice and slander no longer feel natural to your lips and actually leave a sick feeling in your stomach. Filthy language tastes like bile so that even in the worse moments of your day only praises of our King occupy your tongue. If any of these things still belong to you I suggest you examine closely your relationship with Jesus, whether it is an honest one or not.
We no longer belong to this world so we do not conform to its patterns, its way of thinking, its perspective. We no longer try to go with the flow or fit in. Being popular or accepted is no longer our goal or concern. To live our transformed lives to the glory of Jesus Christ and to walk in obedience to his purpose for us is what we desire. And it is to a re-awakening of this understanding that I hope your fasting is moving you toward. Through the transformation of your life in Jesus, you have been given the power over sin in your life and for the sake of your relationship with Jesus I pray you are exercising that power.