How the Holy Spirit changes us from our former life into a mirror image of Jesus is misunderstood by so many. The Bible nowhere teaches that the Spirit works directly on our hearts to make me a more spiritual person. The Spirit does change us, and the Bible clearly shows how this happens.
It is true that the Spirit is part of our walk with the Lord. It is true our growth as a child of God involves change and Paul describes it this way: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed” (Rom. 12:2). The words that follow the word “transformed” show how this is done. It is not done simply by submitting to the Spirit, but it involves “the renewing of your minds.” The Spirit is involved in this renewal, but we are not passively waiting for it to happen. So few really understand how the Spirit is involved.
Paul describes the renewal in his second letter to the church at Corinth. “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (10:4-5). Look carefully at what is said. The way we win the battle against evil involves casting down the “arguments” of Satan we confront using the knowledge of God and changing our thoughts. We are actively involved in bringing all thoughts to submission through obedience to Jesus. We are not passive as this change happens. We control our thoughts, and we are the ones who use the knowledge of His will. We actively are determined to obey His will.
Paul’s letter to Titus speaks of this in these words: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Tit. 3:5). In Romans, he says we are transformed by the renewal of our minds, and in this book, he says the Holy Spirit is part of that renewal.
However, the clearest description of the Spirit’s work in changing us is found in the last verse of 2 Corinthians 3. We come to the Bible as one comes to a mirror with our hearts open and submissive to God. In the Bible we see the image of Jesus. We are “…beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” We see His glory. This is how the Spirit transforms us in the glory of Jesus to become like Him.
Do you want the Holy Spirit to transform you? It will never happen unless you actively study Jesus’ words and make His words your words. There is no transformation by the Spirit without diligent study of the Bible!