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D0220

A sharing by Helen Chang for this song:

Upon receiving God’s Holy Spirit at my baptism, I was really thankful to know that I could begin to live the Christian life by His gracious enabling so long as I don’t gratify the wishes of the flesh.

While this newfound freedom in Christ from the bondage of sin was truly amazing, I soon realised that the way I saw things and responded to them were of the old value and the old habits. I knew that in order to have any new habits, I had to start by having God’s value in my thoughts. Just as it is well said that a man is what he thinks, he would act just as the way he so thinks! Then as I began to experience the renewing process of my mind by His Spirit, I soon came upon a hindrance which has to do with the way I recalled the past.

Although I don’t have a great memory, those sad and hopeless experiences in life were part and parcel of me, so how can I ever forget the past? That was why I was puzzled as to what Paul meant in Philippians 3:13. Did he mean that he had literally forgotten all the past as if the memories can be wiped clean like a fresh sheet of paper? If so, why did he still call himself the chief of sinners in I Timothy 1:15 especially as this was years after he met Christ as recorded in Acts 9? If not, then would this mean that he had chosen to forget the old ways, that he looked at things rather than the literal forgetting of the past events, such as his old ways of looking at Christ, at those who followed Christ etc.? Would it mean that however he had failed and sinned against God, even though it was done out of good intentions, he had chosen to forget the old way of looking at things so that his mind could be renewed (just as he taught in Romans 12:1-2) and that he could be a living sacrifice to do the will of God thereafter?

So how does it apply to me in practice? Surely my mind can’t choose to forget only certain things but at the same time remember other things perfectly. That said, I did have the freedom and the responsibility to choose not to think in that same old ways so that God’s Spirit could renew my mind! Amazingly when I chose to forget those old ways of thinking, I began to see that those painful and sad experiences were indeed allowed by God in my life for a special purpose. As His Spirit continued to mould me, I became aware that I could encourage those who had a painful or sad past to have a real change in their thought habits by being ready for the renewing of His Spirit also!

So this freedom from sin is meant for me to be renewed in my mind followed by outward actions so that I may learn how to follow the moving of God’s Spirit in my daily life! It is a practical reality and not a theoretical or a religious sounding ideal. The fact is either I am following God’s Spirit like a child according to Romans 8:14, no matter how small may each step be, or else I may yet be self deceived and remain in the same old ways as in the past.

So may God’s Spirit convict us of any hidden sin and set us free from the old ways so that we could be renewed and follow His Spirit in our daily lives. What a freedom, what a joy to follow Him so that His will could be done in our lives!

(c) 2021 Christian Disciples Church