It’s pretty clear that when God gave commands in Genesis 1, those things happened.
“Let there be light!” and Bam! There’s light.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.
There’s a principle illustrated here: When God gives a command, power is released in that command to accomplish what is commanded.
For years, I misunderstood this. I heard (for I had been taught) “Be holy as I am holy” as instruction for how I needed to direct my own efforts.
“God says to be holy, so you need to follow all these holy rules in order to accomplish holiness. The best you can.”
“God says, ‘Go and sin no more,’ so you need to know all the Do’s and Don’ts and make sure you follow every one carefully for the rest of your life.”
I’ve since learned that this is complete hogwash. And it’s an insult to God.
God gives me a gift, “Be holy, son; and here is the ability (and the desire) to be holy!” But I had ignored his gift and tried to come up with the same “holy” result through my own legalistic efforts.
What a nightmare.
But once I quit focusing on the list of Do’s and Don’ts and just focused on my Father, once I gave my heart freedom (gasp!) to love him, my desire for sin left, and with it, my choice to sin.
I began to experience holiness. In my life. Mine! My own!
I’ve been reflecting on this process (with substantial thanksgiving!) recently, and then in this context, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2) came to mind.
“Transformed” means changed, in structure, in appearance, even in genetics. Literally.
So how would I even recognize it when that transforming happens to me?
“Think about Easter, Son. Where was Jesus before dawn on that first Easter?”
Jesus was in the grave. He might have been preaching in hell, but he was between death and resurrection. (Around here, we call that “dead.” As in, “Jesus was dead.”)
But Jesus went into the grave as one kind of a man, one kind of flesh-and-blood, and came out another. If nothing else, he could walk through walls, afterwards. I’ll bet there were other changes, too.
He had been transformed, after. So right then, in the grave at that first Easter weekend, Jesus was being transformed.
At that point, my mind was spinning with religious thoughts like “dying to self,” and “being hidden away, cocooned,” and “renewing my mind,” in order to “be transformed.”
Father interrupted my thoughts. “What makes you think I’m not transforming you right now, right here as we talk? As we walk together every day? This isn’t something you do, Son. This is something I do.
“And if I can transform Jesus, even while he was dead, don’t you think I can transform you while you’re not even dead? “Trust me, Son.”
I’m a grateful son. I’m thankful.
And then it hit me: that’s the secret. The sentence continues: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Choosing to be thankful, even excited, for who he is and what he’s done and well… maybe just living thankfully, that’s the key that he works through. Or at least one of them.