The other day I was talking with a man about hitting a baseball. He showed me how to he taught people to hit and it was different than what I had been taught and had taught my sons and others that I have helped coach. This gentleman made an interesting comment when he said, “We have to untrain muscle memory and teach it this new way.” That is not an exact quote but that is the gist of it.
I have thought about that statement and its spiritual implications. For many, we have learned a way of life that is different from what is taught in the Bible. To hear the gospel, believe it and change our way of life involves untraining and teaching.
For someone who has grown up attending a congregation of the Lord’s people this is not that difficult. However, there are habits that may have arisen while in sin that must be removed and new habits learned. These may involve new dedication, more involvement in prayer, study and giving or any of several things.
For one who is hearing the gospel for the first time that was non-religious to begin with, this involves a lot more work. There is a recognition of their lost state that has to be made. There is a sense of guilt of sin that has to be learned and there is a change, more than likely a great one, that must be made in lifestyle and choices. It may, and probably does, mean a change in associates. It may mean a change in places that this person goes. Again, these are just a few of things that have to be changed and learned new. To some this is a daunting task and they don’t go through with it. Others try and fail to fully give up what the old life was all about and eventually fall away or are never fully converted. For those who follow through fully, they have an enjoyable life and tremendous relationship with the Lord.
For one who has grown up in denominationalism, there is a tremendous amount of unlearning and teaching new that needs to be done. So much so, that many people do not attempt the change because change is not wanted by most people. This person has to change his mind about the denomination of which he is a part. He has to change his idea about the organization, doctrine of salvation and numerous other things. This is challenging to say the least.
Paul said, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Ro. 12:2). The word “renewing” means a renovation which makes a person different than in the past according to my lexical aid. That is a lot to ask of a person. But the Lord says that if we do that, He will save us and we will have an abundant life to be enjoyed and have hope that the world does not have. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Co. 5:17).