How to Have Lasting Change in Your Life

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What "old stuff" do you need to take off so that God can put on something new?

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2a NIV)

If you want to have lasting change in your life, you need to refocus your mind.

Specifically, you need to change your thought patterns from focusing on what you don’t want to focus on to what you do want to focus on. Because whatever you focus on is what you move toward.

Today’s verse gives us the blueprint to change our thought patterns:

  • “Do not conform …” How often do we let other people shape our lives? God doesn’t want you to be like someone else; he wants you to be the person he made you to be. So don’t copy, don’t conform, don’t try to be like anybody else.
  • “… any longer …” There are a lot of things you start off doing by copying others, but then they turn into a habit.
  • “… the pattern of this world.” Pattern means the model of everything you’ve learned in life. If you want to change, you have to change your pattern or model of living that you learned in your life. You need to replace the old, unhealthy pattern with a new one modeled after the life of Christ.
  • “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” “Transformed” is the same as the word we use for metamorphosis, the process a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. In the same way, God wants to transform you into a completely new person by renewing your mind.

How does this happen? The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:22-24: “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; be made new in the attitude of your minds; and … put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (NIV).

This means you are going to have to do some putting off and you are going to have to do some putting on — and the putting off has to happen before the putting on. It’s just like trying on clothes in a department store. Before you can try on the new stuff, you have to take off the old stuff.

You’re going to have to let go of the old attitudes, the old thought patterns, the old images that you’ve been living with so you can put on the new garments God has for you.

Talk It Over

  • What does it mean practically to renew your mind?
  • How would you describe the pattern of living that you learned early in your life?
  • What is the “old stuff” that you need to take off so that God can renew your mind?

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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