Spring 2003

A Real Makeover!

by Lisa Ison

I watched a program on television recently that featured total makeovers for women. Seeing the end result for each woman was truly inspiring. I watched in fascination as these once plain (but brave) and humble women traded their yester-year clothing and outdated hairstyles for a brand new look, complete with make-up and accessories. The audience cried, I cried, the host cried. It was a very emotional moment for everyone seeing these women walk out and revel in the newness of their appearance. The joy in their faces said it all. And even more remarkably, most of them could not even believe that they were that "before" person once they saw the "after"!

As I sat there wiping the tears from my eyes I wondered why that affected me so strongly. What was it about these women with new hair-dos and clothes that touched my heart so? I kept hearing the word transformation in my spirit and so I let it roll around for a while, thinking about all its implications, both literally and spiritually. Changing the outside is easy; it just takes a little money and a creative eye, but changing the inside is a whole different story. Is it possible to have an internal makeover? Can we be totally changed on the inside as well? If so, how?

Romans 12:2 (Amplified) says: "Do not be conformed to this world (this age), (fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs), but be transformed (changed) by the (entire) renewal of your mind (by its new ideals and its new attitude)..." There is more to this passage, but this first part is the section I want to address right now.

According to Strong's concordance, transformed comes from the Greek word, metamorphoo, where we get our word, metamorphosis, which we know is the process of butterflies, going from cocoon to a winged insect. This is a picture of transformation, a complete change of form. I believe Paul is telling us in this scripture that it is indeed possible to be changed from the inside, however, that doesn't mean that it is necessarily easy to do.

Have you ever tried to change a bad habit, or made up your mind that you are going to be different in a given situation just to find yourself at the end of the day cursing yourself for failing, wondering why you even tried such a futile thing? What went wrong? Did God let you down? Maybe you're starting to hear that same old voice nagging in the back of your mind saying, "See, I told you you'd never succeed, you'll never be able to quit doing that, you'll never make it..." And the list goes on. What voice do you hear and what does it say to you? Some of you reading this have tried your whole life to change, you've bought new clothes and still the same sad person looks back at you in the mirror. You've changed jobs and you're still no further along than you were last year. You've changed locations and find yourself still running into the same brick wall you left where you came from. Maybe you're just tired of trying. Help Lord!

The solution Paul is offering in Romans 12:2 is change by renewal of the mind. Renewal is described in Strong's as renovate. Living in a pre-Civil war farmhouse I understand that word all too well. When Dave and I moved in this house in 1986 we had to renovate! There were some things that just had to go. Call it construction or destruction; it was definite upheaval of the way things were. Walls had to be painted, floors had to be scrubbed and sanded, windows had to be replaced, new fixtures and appliances were added, rotten wood had to be replaced, so many things that I could go on for days telling you! The point is, we had to evaluate what wouldn't work for us and then deal with it. I am confident that this process never ends while we are living. The same is true for taking a good look at what is going on inside our hearts and minds and emotions, evaluating what is not working and asking God for His mind, His wisdom, His power to transform that part. It is interesting to note that a side reference to the word renew implies repetition, intensity, and reversal. This tells me that we must retrain our brain, so to speak, by the constant and consistent, (even when it seems rote) washing of our minds by the Word of God. It took us our whole lifetime to get into this mess of stinking thinking and our enemy has had occupation of that land (our mind) for a long time and chances are that he won't leave without a fight or at least a good struggle.

If there's one thing I've learned over the past years of my own recovery, it is that you can't act your way out of a stronghold. You can't overcome the lies of the enemy with more lies and half-truths. You can't feel your way out of negative emotions and you can't put the past behind you until you've dealt with it. There is an equation I saw that really helped me understand this process better. Here it is said two ways:

Believe = Feelings = Action = Habit = Stronghold
Think = Emotions = Behavior = Habit = Stronghold

What you believe causes you to have feelings that lead to an action, which if done enough times creates a habit, which if stays in operation long enough without corrective measures becomes a stronghold. If you want to change an action, you can't feel your way out of it. If you want to change a feeling, you can't act your way out of it. If you want to break a habit or stronghold or any of the other things listed, you have to go all the way back to the belief system or the way you think. All authentic life changes come from what we tell ourselves, what we believe. I know this and I've lived it. Nothing I tried gave me the freedom I so desperately craved. It wasn't until I came into agreement with what God said about me that I was able to break free of old thought patterns and destructive behaviors. I took God at His Word and said, "Bless God, if He said it then it must be true and I'm believing it!" I measure everything that is spoken into my life by God's Word. If it doesn't line up, I tell it to shut up! I claim every promise, every blessing and receive them into my soul and spirit. That, dear friends, is what has changed me! I am thankful for everyone God has put in my life to help me on my healing journey, but all praise and all glory goes to Him for He truly is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE! Would you like to experience God and His great love and power to transform your life? If so, pray this prayer from your heart and trust Him to do the work:

Dear Father, in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ, I come to You asking You to change my life. I am helpless to do this on my own, I desperately need You. Please forgive me for making such a mess of my life and failing to live a life that pleases You. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness, in my thoughts and actions. I desire to know You and Your Word and I bind myself to Your truth, Your Wisdom and Your plans and purposes for my life. I choose this day to renew and renovate my mind according to Your truth and I will no longer be held captive by the lies of Satan. Thank You for the blood of Jesus, which saves, cleanses and heals me. I receive by faith all that He died to give me. In Jesus wonderful name, Amen.

Copyright (c) Lisa Ison 2003

Continue to pray the Prayers of Commitment from Germaine's Prayers That Avail Much Commemorative Edition and ask to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.