Most of the members were very committed. Dr. Dollar pulled no punches when exhorting us in our walks with God. You were supposed to be at multiple services, going to all the conventions, reading your Word daily, and truly devoting your life to God. He really does preach a total life devotion to Christianity. I remember at the time wondering if such commitment was truly necessary. Did I really need to be in church twice a week? Did I really need to spend time with God every day? Did I need to spend lots of time in the Bible? I'm sure many others felt this way.
One day he addressed the issue directly. He said (as best as I can remember), "I know some of you want to tell me, Pastor I don't really think it takes all that. Well, yes it does take all that." Even then I didn't totally agree, I still thought they were pushing us too hard, trying to direct our entire lives. I loved the Church and Dr. Dollar (still do) but I wasn't sure that level of commitment was necessary to see God's best.
I believe now I was wrong. Over the past few months of meditating God's Word, I've come to believe that seeing God's best for your life takes total commitment (and lots of time). Now don't get me wrong, I like Joel Osteen and Joseph Prince. I believe God has blessings waiting for you around every corner. I believe God wants you to have the best of everything as an act of His grace and love for you. But you need to see the vital part you must play. To truly see the fullness of God's plan for your life, you must fundamentally change your life.
"Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2)
It's easier to understand this verse if you think of "renew" as "renovate", which is the actual meaning of the word anyway. To renew or renovate means to make new again. In the same way you renovate a kitchen, by ripping out the old and putting in the new, you need to renovate your mind. But now look at the importance of this mental renovation. Romans 12:2 says that mental renovation is the key to being "transformed." Romans 12:2 also says that mental renovation is the key to living out the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. I admit, I read that verse probably 100 times before seeing this so clearly.
The word "transformed" is also fascinating. It's the word metamorphoo, like metamorphosis. We are to fundamentally change. This word is used to describe what happened to Jesus at the transfiguration, and the only other place it appears in the Bible is in 2 Corinthians 3:18, a very important verse. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed (metamorphed) into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of God."
So Romans 12:2 says that we must be transformed by the renovation of our mind. And 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that this transformation must be into the image of Jesus Christ. This is the transformation for Christians. Mental renovation is key to being changed into the image of Christ, which is a key part of our destiny and God's plan for our lives.
"For whom He (God) did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son." (Romans 8:29) If you are a Christian, God has predestinated you to be changed to the image of Christ. The word for conformed here is aummorphos, which means changed with or conformed to. You see, we must change and become like Christ. That is a major part of our destiny with God. Mental renovation is therefore key to our Godly destiny.
Now what does mental renovation mean? I recently just discovered a clear answer for this in God's Word. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be Spiritually minded is life and peace." (Romans 8:5-6). There are two types of mind, or two ways of thinking, available to you. You can be carnally minded or you can be Spiritually minded. The mental renovation we need is a renovation from carnal mindedness to Spiritual mindedness.
Now here is why it takes "all that," as Dr. Dollar says. Quite simply, becoming spiritually minded requires drastic changes in your life. If you think it sounds easy, you're wrong. We don't just become Spiritually minded when we get saved. This takes time in God's presence and God's Word. We must let God's Word and person so saturate our minds that we fundamentally think like Him.
Let's take the average non-Christian. He thinks as his world dictates. He knows what he learns from his senses. His culture tells him what is right and wrong. Sure, maybe he's nice and even helps people. But his thinking is only based on the world around him. He will be primarily focused with getting his needs met. He will be primarily focused on his own. He will be limited to the knowledge around him and his own thinking. Furthermore, he will likely develop incorrect thinking patterns because of worry, fear, selfishness, strife and other effects of sin in the world. When your world tells you how to think, you are carnally minded. This applies to everyone from small children to Stephen Hawking.
When God tells you how to think, you are Spiritually minded. But while you live in this world with its influences, there will be constant pressure to think carnally. You must change your influences. You must change the type of information you take in. You must change the people around you. You must change your entertainment. You must change everything that contributes to your thinking patterns from carnal influences to Spiritual influences. And after you change your influences to Spiritual ones, you must devote yourself to them. It's not enough to change from secular music to Christian music and then not listen to it. It's not enough to change from worthless books to Christian books and then not read them. In the same way you must install the new kitchen appliances, you must install the new thoughts and thought patterns into your mind.
I know, that sounds hardcore. Maybe that sounds crazy. But I want all God has for my life, whatever that means. I want to be completely transformed to the image of Christ. I want to be Spiritually minded. It takes sacrifice, but Godly sacrifice always produces better results (even if you can't see them). "Take heed what you hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath." (Mark 4:24-25) How do you measure God and His influence in your life? How do you measure God's Word for your life? I'm determined to give God and His Word full measure. I want them to have complete sway over me.
So please consider this and decide what you want. I've made many changes over the past 8 years, but I know I must make more. Look at Romans 8 and then 1 Corinthians 2. We've been talking about being led by God's Spirit. I'm convinced that being Spiritually minded is key to being led by God's Spirit. If you want all God has for you, it's time to become Spiritually minded. It's going to be hard, but you can do it. Change your life, renovate your mind, be transformed, and then see God's perfect will for you.