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Dear Partner,

I have been meditating lately on two verses in the New Testament that deal with changing lifelong patterns of behavior. I have taught many lessons on each verse separately, but it seems the Holy Spirit wants to deepen my understanding of how our spirit and our soul work together in order to bring about permanent change in our conduct. The first of the two verses is:

Rom 12:2   And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

There is much power that can be wielded by the mind of man. A sharp intellect coupled with stable emotions and strong will power can accomplish much in our desire to cause change in our life. When I think of all of the New Year's resolutions I have made over the years, such as changing my diet or becoming disciplined to exercise daily, there was always enough power in the mental arena to endure at least for a while. But it seems that after a few months (or sometimes even after just a few weeks), I would wake up one morning and nothing in me "cared" anymore about the resolution and I quickly reverted back to my lifelong pattern of behavior.

That process is, by definition, conforming to the world's way of doing things! The unregenerate human has nothing but mental, emotional, and will power energy to draw strength from. The spirit within them is infused with the law of sin and death that has been passed down to every generation from their great, great, forefather; Adam. The world has nothing to draw strength from except the mental, emotional, and will power arenas of the soul. If they turn to the fallen spirit within them looking for strength they will not find it because the fallen spirit of the natural man AGREES with the law of sin and death.

In the verse quoted above Paul is speaking about more than just mental, intellectual will power because the kind of renewing of the mind he is talking about brings forward the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God in our lives. In order to understand more fully what Paul is talking about, consider the second verse that the Holy Spirit has been coupling with this one in my times of prayer and meditation:

1 Cor 2:14   But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The "natural" man Paul is referring to in this verse is speaking of people who are not yet born again. They still have the "spirit of the world" in them that was passed down to them from fallen Adam at their first (natural) birth. Paul says in that same passage that we who are born again no longer have the spirit of the world in us, but rather, the spirit which is of God!

1 Cor 2:12   Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Why is it essential that we have this spirit which is of God within us? So we can have the capacity to know the things that are freely given to us of God! These things are not discerned mentally by the natural man. The things of God are discerned spiritually by those who have been born-again born not of Adam spiritually, but rather born of God when they receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Born again people have much more strength to draw upon than those of the world. We don't have a fallen spirit within us that agrees with sin and death. We have been born of God's own Spirit and the new nature within us agrees with righteousness and life not sin and death! We don't have to rely on mental energy and willpower alone in order to overcome lifelong destructive habits. At our core, the new nature within our born-again spirit, is the overcoming nature of Christ Himself!

THAT IS THE TRUTH THAT OUR MINDS MUST BE RENEWED TO! That is what Paul is talking about in Romans Chapter Twelve! As the Holy Spirit reveals TRUTH to our new nature (the spirit born of God within us), and our minds are renewed to the TRUTH we become FREE from old habits and lifelong destructive patterns of behavior. Jesus said it this way:

John 8:32   And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Free from what? Free from eternal damnation? Yes. Free from eternal separation from God? Yes. But if you leave this verse in its context, Jesus was speaking about the TRUTH making us FREE FROM BEING SLAVES TO SIN! He continues the teaching by saying,

John 8:34-36   Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Free from what? Free from sin! The mind must be renewed to this TRUTH! We have walked far below the inheritance our heavenly Father gave us at our second birth. We have untapped strength in the realm of our born-again spirit that we have not known was available to us. Let us yield ourselves frequently in prayer to the true Teacher of the body of Christ the Holy Spirit the Spirit of TRUTH! (John 16:13)

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter


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