Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God– truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT
There is a pattern in the way God acts and that pattern can be followed right through the Old Testament and into the New Testament. There are four phases in it.
First, we are brought into a relationship with God by grace. That’s the basis of it all. Abraham came into a relationship with God strictly by God’s grace. The Hebrew people were delivered from Egypt by grace. God wants a relationship with us, and the only way that is possible is by grace. He has to come to us; we can never work our way to him.
Second, the kind of relationship he wants is to live in our midst; the midst of the camp for the Hebrews, and the midst of our selves for us. But he can only do that if we share his character. We must “walk” as he “walks”: live like he lives, do what he does, and be what he is. You can’t have a relationship where two people are pulling in opposite directions. If you’re going to be in a relationship with Him, you’ve got to learn how to walk with Him.
Third, we can’t walk like He walks! It took the Hebrew people 1,000 years to finally get that into their heads. We are sure in our pride that with just a little more effort, a little more shaping up, we can do this! But we can’t. So, we are tempted to give up, concluding that God really doesn’t expect us to be godly people.
Fourth, He does! The Hebrew people saw some folks in whom a different spirit, a holy spirit, was at work, and they said, “God, why can’t you do that for all of us? Why can’t you empower us with your Holy Spirit to live your life here on earth.” And he said, “I’m going to! But first your filthy temple has to be cleansed. Once that is done by my Son, my Spirit will come into every person who believes in my Son and he will enable them to walk as I walk.”
That’s the pattern. There’s only one catch: just because you have the Spirit, doesn’t mean the Spirit has you. If you know Christ, but are not able to live God’s life, there is one likely cause: you’ve never actually given your control panel, your heart, completely to him. Do it now.