God predestined us to grow into His likeness, but this doesn't happen at the moment we are saved. While we are redeemed by the Savior's precious blood and immediately have a new heart, our transformation is a lifelong process.
The Holy Spirit enables this journey. Growth is impossible without Him, regardless of our efforts. Yet we can welcome or hinder His transforming hand.
One way we give God willing access to our lives is by obeying this mandate in Romans 12:2: "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..."
Everyone chooses either a biblical or worldly philosophy as his or her source of truth--and that choice shapes the mind and spirit. Therefore, the Lord tells us to immerse our mind in Scripture, allowing Him to mold us into His beautiful image.
The Bible story about the Israelites wandering in the wilderness illustrates this principle. After saving them from Pharaoh's abuse, God did not bring them immediately to the Promised Land. The Lord knew doing so would bring sinful ways with them. Instead, He led them to the wilderness and gave the Ten Commandments. Only after they learned to obey and turn to almighty God were they ready for the next step.
The process of sanctification isn't always pleasant. In fact, it's often painful for us, just as it was for the Israelites. In God's amazing wisdom and love, however, He knows what we need to leave our old ways that lead to death. And He builds new character in us--full of life and joy.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.