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“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” Ephesians 4:22-23 (NLT)

As Christ-followers, we are to be a catalyst for positive change in the world. We are called to be holy. Holiness has sometimes gotten a bad image. For many the idea of a ‘holy person’ is one that is legalistic, has no fun and spends their time doing nothing but prayer, Bible Study and doing ‘spiritual things.’

Holiness really means we are set apart to live lives that are free from the negative thoughts and harmful actions that the rest of society is imprisoned by. Holiness is as more about attitude than it is action. The ‘holy person’ is one that has the freedom to live life with a positive mindset.

In order to be different, or ‘holy’, on the outside (actions) we must first change how we are on the inside (attitudes). We need to get rid of attitudes that lead to negative thoughts, personal attacks, anger, revenge, refusal to forgive, selfishness, lust, and other thoughts that are harmful to us and to others.

To make the change is really a two step process. Paul says that we must first make a decision to change (throw off your former way of life). This means we have to decide that we actually want to change how we feel about ourselves and others.

After we decide that we really want to change we need to ask the Holy Spirit of God to help us change our thought patterns and our attitudes. Changing actions without changing thoughts and actions is hypocrisy and legalism. True change comes from the heart and is only possible through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and relying on His Spirit to make the change in us.

The Christ follower has a mindset and attitude that shows:

  • A true love for God, ourselves and others;
  • An inner joy when everything seems to go wrong;
  • A peace that passes all understanding when life is scary;
  • Patience with those who constantly fail us;
  • Kindness to those who are rude, arrogant or insensitive;
  • A spirit of goodness or generosity to those who are in need physically and emotionally;  
  • Faithfulness in our relationships with God and others;
  • A spirit of gentleness to those who are hurting;
  • Behavior that refuses to give up self-control.

The problem comes when we realize that it’s not enough to just decide to change. We need the inner strength to make that change work on the outside. We can’t do it on our own and it won’t happen overnight. We’ll have set backs. We’ll stumble and fall, sometimes daily! But the first step is the desire to change.

PRAYER: Holy Father. I thank you for the new life you have given me in Christ Jesus. I confess to you that there are so many times in my life when negative thoughts and attitudes control me. I want to change but I’m afraid to give myself completely to you. Help me to live in the freedom of your Spirit. Empower me to change on the inside so that others will see changes in my actions for your Glory. Amen.

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