What You'll Discover in this Episode:

177: The Transforming Work Of The Spirit

Today's Episode continues the series of Doctrine and Biblical Theology of the Holy Spirit. The subject of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. The life beyond was changed into the image of God. We are having our lives transformed into more of who Jesus is. Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

  • Interesting podcast. The part that stuck out to me was when you mentioned how people think they have to help themselves and how it permeates the world culture and even too much of the church culture. I think something I often see is that people don’t understand Holy Spirit as a Person. They too often think of Him as some intangible force. So I think for some it makes it harder to understand this very supernatural event. With self help steps they can “touch” it so to speak. I think people often forget Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths”. We say we do that, but in our current world and as you pointed out people feel like they have to do something. It’s more comfortable to them than waiting on the Lord to direct us and transform us by His Spirit, even though we often lead ourselves around and around the “desert” so to speak.

  • In total agreement with Pastor Jeff, not one person can understand the Glory of God with out the Word of God, and without Hid Spirit leading us and transforming us in our walk. My Pastor always asks us “are you more in love with God today than you were yesterday?” Its a valid question. This is something we should ask ourselves daily. A good self assessment. It is the Holy Spirit that empowers us and leads us to a life worthy of following HIM.

  • Transformation is a life surrendered-seems like humans throughout time struggle with surrendering control. Like other comments, we want “quick fixes” especially if we’re in pain, but God’s timing is rarely quick. As believers we know we are saved by Faith, however like Pastor Jeff said, there are so many examples within the church of living in & by our own efforts after salvation. It’s been our problem from the beginning. The part we play is surrender, the Holy Spirit does the transforming and it takes a life time.

    • Yes, Doretha I agree. The transforming does take a life time, we are never fully transformed until we meet our Lord and Savior. The process along the way is hard, but great! Like Pastor Jeff stated “We are to look less and less like our old self, and more like Jesus”

  • I believe that the church is lacking in the teaching/disciplining of the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work within us. It’s weak, sadly. And there is a confusion about what is our part and what is the Holy Spirit’s part (Hosea 4:6). The enemy wants us ignorant of the power through the Holy Spirit, who is present within us so that he can steal, kill, and destroy us.

    The analogy of the mirrors was something that made me think. And what Jeff said about Head>Heart>Hands to lifestyle made me go on a scripture searching frenzy (lol). It is a relationship with Jesus Christ though the Spirit that brings transformation to our lives. Yes, the cliche of “God helps those who help themselves” is not scripture. It is rather a coming to the end of ourselves, humbling ourselves, and submitting ourselves with resistance the devil on a moment by moment basis where we will have victory in overcoming those sins, bents, habits in our lives. It must be done in faith.

    • Lorna,
      You took me to church on this comment! Yes, I too believe that the church is lacking in the teaching/discipling of The Holy Spirit. There are many churches today that just preach at the body with no guidance of application and how to apply the Biblical truths to their walks and the biggest, how to learn from God and HIS Word and be empowered to do so.

  • I have always had a hard time hearing the message of the transformation of the Spirit. Growing up in the church, I have known the Lord all my life and never had that heart-wrenching “conversion” story or testimony. This made me question my faith for a while. It wasn’t until later in life that I spent more time studying the books of my namesake, and began to have a better understanding of this work.

    For those who were not raised in the faith, the transforming work of the Spirit is a radical 180. A change that launches them into the path of becoming sanctified, dropping old habits and assuming new and holy ones. However, for those born into or introduced to God at a young age, there have not been many habits formed to display such a massive 180. In spite of this, the transforming work of the Spirit is just as active in these lives as well. Why? Because, we have been trained up in the word since birth in most cases. So, we have the responsibility to wrestle through the deeper, harder questions and pursue becoming more like Christ without the “quick-start” which drives others. The transforming work of the Spirit (i.e. Sanctification) is a relevant calling for all followers of Christ; no matter how long they have been a believer.

    • I really had to stop and consider what you wrote here. I myself was not raised in the church, but my wife and daughter were. However I didn’t have an amazing 180 experience, my encounter with God was slower more like you mentioned, although I did have a defining encounter that really set me on a different course. From saying I was a Christian, but not living a transformed life, to actually beginning to understand and live the Word. What caught my attention though is how you mentioned being raised in the Word which instantly caused me to think of my daughter. We have obviously raised her in the Word as you have described and so your insight really spoke to me about how her journey is markedly different from mine in some ways.

      Though we are all born in sin and have to allow God to transform us and from death to life. You had to eventually make a decision to follow God yourself rather than just follow what your parents taught you, just as my daughter must eventually do. The choice to choose what you’ve been taught over following your sin nature. But I do understand, I think, what you are saying that it seemed more gradual/natural because you feel you’ve always believed it. I too hear those massive 180 testimonies and sometimes wonder because, like you, the change came gradually until I hit that transforming encounter (almost like I had to take a series of turns before being fully turned from the old life). But I wonder if you too hit that encounter point and it may have been more of a turn than you realized because of how you grew up. Just curious. Very interesting perspective and thanks for the thought provoking comment! Blessings!

  • This podcast has caused me to pause and take a deep look at the transformation process that has already happened in me and what is to come. He has done a great work in me since I became a follower. I am so thankful for the work that is and will be done. How liberating it is to become more like Christ daily.
    I am excited about the summer symposium. Digesting Gods word and the beauty of His creation at the same time is a beautiful thing. Crazy to think that nature is so amazing in a fallen world, it makes me wonder what everything looked like before sin entered. Thanks to His grace and love we will soon find out.

  • So many counselee’s come into the Counseling Center wanting transformation in their lives. They are believers and they know God’s word but after talking with them for a time it becomes obvious that they are looking for easy quick solutions and not the long lasting transformation that occurs when we surrender to the Holy Spirit in our lives. I know that struggle because for a long time in my walk with Christ I resisted the Spirit. He wanted to transform my life but I wasn’t ready to surrender my life to Him. As a counselor I believe part of our responsibility is to help our counselee’s overcome self and completely surrender their lives to Him. Becoming like Christ is an experience that progresses over time but first we need to surrender our will and let the Spirit begin His life altering transformation in us. .

    • I’m with you Don, I also was reluctant to surrender all of my life to Him for some time. I would surrender things one by one at my own pace. But that isn’t what He wants is it. He wants us to surrender all, good and bad all at once and continually for the sanctification process.

    • I also concur, Don. I think the instant fix is what this generation has been conditioned to want and expect. Having been raised in the instant generation I can say it can be very hard to wait on the Lord and do what He requires to become mature (Hebrews 10:36; 12:1, James 1:3-4; 5:7,10-11 and 2Peter 1:1-11).

    • Great points. I think the first part of what you said is really a mark of this age. Social media tries to promise us quick fixes in 30-60 second snippets. True life change takes much longer than that. Still people want their “best life NOW”. Heh. Where you mention helping people surrender their lives, I wonder how often it is that people really believe they have surrendered and are surrendering their live to God, but don’t really examine themselves in light of the Word. I know recently I was really being led to Philippians 4:11-12. “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…”. I’ve read this many times, but as I examined some situations I was going through I realized I wasn’t quite as surrendered as I wanted to be, because I wasn’t living out this Scripture which of course combines with the wider Word of trusting in God and letting Holy Spirit lead us through every situation. Letting faith have it’s perfect work. So I think sometimes folks get into a pattern, they think they are surrendered or have surrendered and forget to realize the ongoing transformation, the sanctification process. Which ties into what you said at the end of your comment.

  • I agree with you Jeff, that there is a lacking emphasis on the availability of the Holy Spirit and the heavenly gifts that are given to us from God the Father. I just read Chapter 6 in the Redeemer’s Hands, and it was talking about reflecting God’s glory – Christ imparts His glory to us, so that as His ambassadors, people see God’s glory by our lives of redemption and sanctification. There’s a lot to think about, in all honesty. Even that picture Paul presented of Moses, how he had to cover his face because of God’s glory reflecting off of him for who much time he spent in the presence of the Lord, and now we have unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord? How much glory does God have to give me that I am so blind to not accept it and live in it? How important is living by God’s Spirit that I have failed to consider it?

  • I love what Jeff said about “walking in the spirit as a progressive transformation, a stretching, always a work of God. Counseling is walking with people, one issue/one area at a time. We can grow in holiness Through the growing pains as we yield soft, available hearts to the work of the Holy Spirit. We need to set our minds on things above instead of things of the flesh, being in prayer, expectant of what the Lord is doing in our life and in those who we counsel.” I think I’ve been legalistic in many ways in my walk w the Lord. Learning much in this class, very thankful my eyes are being opened to having a true relationship w the Holy Spirit.

    • I agree Stacy. I know I have failed to give grace and have lived in a legalistic way towards others. I am stirred to want to grow in God’s Holy Spirit to learn His ways of humility and gentleness and grace towards others, just as in Christ He gave me grace. I love being with older people and hearing their own worries and questions about their faith, it helps remind me that I do not, nor may ever, receive all the answers to living “a perfect life” and therefore I only need to strive for God’s glory and grace.

  • I accepted Christ as Savior at a young age and spent most of my life in churches. The churches I attended regularly hardly ever mentioned the work of the Spirit, some even spoke of Him in such a way that I feared Him, and others reminded us His work is not for today. I kept striving, I wanted to please God, I was exhausted and defeated in my walk. I considered all I had been taught about the Holy Spirit and studied on my own. Finally, decades ago, while driving my car, I cried out I don’t know what to believe Lord all I know is I want more of you. I surrendered my own thinking, my own ideas and experience and said show me Lord. (Jeremiah 29:13) I now know the reality of the Holy Spirit’s transformational power in my life. It has been life changing, and sanctifying. Thank you, Jeff you summed it up well as you said His work is transformational not by resolve, but in relationship with Jesus through the Spirit.

    • Howe, thank you for sharing your story with me. What a blessing God’s grace is by giving us His Holy Spirit to help us, to be that connecting life inside us to grow us and correct us and comfort us. Our God is the most awesome God.

    • I had a similar experience and am so thankful for God’s faithfulness to His Word & Spirit to reveal the truth that was missing from the pulpit!

  • I was struck immediately by the reminder that we are being changed into the same image. We share a commonality with every believer and everyone who might be seeking counsel and it’s the same God working in us toward that image. It gives me rest when I think of the work in me, how faithful God is, that it is being shared among then family of God.

    • Yes Nathan, isn’t crazy how the enemy tries to get us Isolated and thinking no one goes through or understands. Either we think we are better or worse and taking the focus off of the things we share in Christ and actually talking and encouraging each other with those truths .

      Ephesians 4: 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
      30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
      31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
      32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

  • So very true; there are no shortcuts. The Glory of the Lord in the creation and the Holy Spirit transforms us into his image. We can only understand through the word of God being transformed by the Spirit into a loving relationship. We can have so much joy looking back to see how we have been transformed and help others see the transforming power through the Holy Spirit, the grace of God, and how it’s available to them, giving hope.

    • So many times I have to remind myself most things in life are a process this is a good reminder of that too that what is driving the work in us is the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of God

  • In 2 Corinthians 3:18, I like the term used to remove the veil because we see God for who He is in the light of what Jesus did for us. The Holy Spirit works to point out where we need to begin the transforming process. The unveiling power of God is calling us to have a loving relationship with him. We learn to draw near to him through the Holy Spirit’s transforming power and become more aware of his presence in our lives. We can see that God wants us to reflect his image and character to others through His grace. Over time as we begin to change, our hunger deepens, and we develop a desire for this transforming change to be more like the image of Christ. The Holy Spirit continually transforms us into God’s way of thinking and to become who God created us to be. We can look back and see how this transformation has worked over time.

    A life being changed into the image of Christ, so powerful, improving us to who God wants us to be.

  • This podcast was a wonderful reminder of our desperate need for the Holy Spirit! So often Christians try to white knuckle their way to a regenerative life when it is the Holy Spirit who brings the regeneration. We have been brainwashed, even in the church, that there must be a 7 step plan and a process that we have to go through to achieve success, victory, or favor. But the word of God keeps pointing us back to God Himself! To His perfect word. To His son, our Savior, Jesus. Holy Spirit IS the gift given to us to dwell with us, and in us, until the return of Jesus. Thank you Pastor Jeff for faithfully urging us to remembrance that God has already given us ALL that we have need of – and we find ALL of it in the Holy Spirit!

    • Yes, Laura, and I think it’s fantastic that this transformation through the Holy Spirit is constantly working through us every day, continually changing us to be more like Christ. The 7-step program has proved it’s broken because people have to return to where they originally started at step one. They can achieve His transforming work through the Holy Spirit.

    • I agree with both your comments Kristen and Laura. One of the saddest testimonies I have heard from people involved in step programs is that they will always need to be part of the program. They have told me it is a life-long commitment. The source of their help has become the program rather than Jesus (“our very present help in times of trouble” Psalm 46:1). Their commitment has become to faithfully follow the program (Psalm 37:5-6). He is the well that never runs dry (Isaiah 12:3) and the vine from which we are to take all our nourishment (John 15:5).

      • As I’m progressing through all 3 of your posts I’m thinking, “Yes, I agree . . . ” Well said ladies. Step programs are the world’s answer to man’s sin issues. I pray the Holy Spirit will show us how to help rescue them from the pit they have fallen in.

  • Such a good word on how the Lord continues His transforming work in us. It is constant. I loved the example of God’s creation and how we are also His creation. I don’t consider that we are as beautiful as the mountains, but I do believe when God looks at us, He sees His the finished product and knows what we need to get there.

    As Pastor Jeff said, we push onward, reading His Word and not being self-indulgent but desiring the change the Lord wants to make because we are marred by sin. Pr. Jeff said we are not meant to be left the same. We find that transforming change in the Scriptures. These are the testimonies of God through the life of Christ, through those that followed, and through those that failed time and time again. He is faithful to continue His work in us through the Holy Spirit.

    • Having spent time in Colorado I can also reflect on the beauty of the creation found there as well as be surprised and saddened by the fact that many do not give glory to the Creator for that beauty. What a beautiful thought you shared when you said that when God sees us He sees the finished work of His redemptive work He plans to do in our life.

  • This episode made me think of Zechariah 4: 5 ¶ Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.”
    6 ¶ So he answered and said to me:

    “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel:
    ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
    Says the LORD of hosts.

    So many times we don’t know what are next step should be or how to move on… Lord help me to be that messaged that offers the Hope the Spirit provides.

    Not to tell people to pull up there bootstraps and be strong try harder but trust the Lord rely on His Spirit.

    • Good word Landon. We can only go so far on our own might, but if we lean into the Lord and draw from His strength, and are in His will, mountains move. Like big ones! We just talk ourselves out of His might most of the time or we, like Zerubbabel, we don’t that we can or what we are looking at or what we are reading; its meaning. But God…

    • I so agree Landon! If I’m not careful, I can unknowingly begin to sound like the myriad voices of well-meaning pastors and teachers who have called me to “do better” rather than turn me to the Living inner presence and helper, Holy Spirit!

    • Love your reference in Zechariah! I also pray that I am the vessel that shares a message of hope that the Spirit provides.

  • 2 cor 3 : 18 is such a beautiful verse. I love it. And absolutely it gives hope that I can change by the power of the Holy Spirit and so can others.
    I also agree with you pastor Jeff that teaching on Biblical sanctification is what’s needed. People so desperately need to be pointed to how to walk out the Christian life
    myself included. And there are no short cuts. It involves as you say humbly asking the lord to transform us by his Spirit and his grace. It’s difficult and its messy. But honestly what a relief that sanctification is by the Holy Spirit otherwise I’d be going no where.
    So pleased that Biblical counselling allows us to share that truth with others and come alongside them.

    • Good word Ann-Louise. Transformation takes time and until the end, we continue learning, changing, and grow in His Word. Life is messy. We come from messy, but what a humble calling to walk beside those in the mess at the moment. What a great opportunity to share the Gospel and give that hope people need. Leading them to freedom, just in understanding why things are happening in their life that causes such chaos and pain. For us, the believers, we will continue that sanctification process and be able to teach those we counsel the same. Good word!

    • I agree w your use of the word desperately need to know how to walk w the Lord. We are so hungry for Truth, love and relationship in this life and only One can provide such and that’s our God through His Son and the power of the Holy Spirit! There’s only one way, no short cuts. Thank God for His mercy and patience

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