It is God's will for the church to be renewed and transformed. Is there a secret to renewal? Two truths answer this question
Yield yourselves to God
The key word to spiritual renewal in the Christian life is "yield." It is the same word translated "present" in Romans 12:1. It is the word that is used to describe the presenting of an offering in the sacrificial system in the temple. It is an act of worship whereby we personally acknowledge that we belong to God. This act is the secret of renewal of life. Notice three things about this act.
A. It is a realistic act.
1. It is a definite act. There must be a time in my life when I present myself to God; from then on, I must consider that my whole life belongs to Him.
2. It is a transfer of my life to Him.
3. It is an act of the will.
4. It is an act of surrender.
5. It is an act of obedience.
"The spirit of truth and light will quicken and renew us by its mysterious workings; for all our spiritual improvement comes from God, not from ourselves" (Ellen G. White, A New Life, p. 35).
"Every act of obedience to Christ, every victory obtained over self, is a step in the march to glory and final victory. Take Christ for your Guide and He will lead you safely along" (Ellen G. White, Our High Calling, p. 25).
B. It is a reasonable act. This is what Romans 12:1 tells us. A lost person has only one nature, called "the old man." But something happens when a person is born again. A new life comes in Christ's life, in the person of the Holy Spirit. The new believer now has two natures: the self-life and the Christ-life.
They are enemies, and they struggle for full control of one's life. Our choice is the secret to victory.
"The power of Christ alone can work the transformation in heart and mind that all must experience who would partake with Him of the new life in the kingdom of heaven" (Ellen G. White, Counsels on Health, p. 129).
C. It is a resisted act. The flesh resists the Holy Spirit in us (Gal. 5:16-26). Surrender becomes the key to victory. What stands between you and renewal? Jesus must be Lord of our lives!
"When man dies to sin and is quickened to new life in Christ, divine love fills his heart; his understanding is sanctified; he drinks from an inexhaustible fountain of joy and knowledge, and the light of an eternal day shines upon his path, for with him continually is the Light of life" (Ellen G. White, God's Amazing Grace, p. 250).
Yield your members unto God
The word members refers to the parts of our bodies, thus the areas of our lives. We are to yield ourselves and our members to God. This makes Romans 12:1 clearer, where it says "present your bodies." Present everything to God: your eyes, ears, speech (see Colossians 4:6), mind, hands, feet, knees (this represents how you worship), lungs (this involves what you breathe and take into your body), stomach, and face (this speaks of your countenance, whether sad or cheerful).
"All who consecrate body, soul, and spirit to God's service will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical, mental, and spiritual power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind" (Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, p. 306).
This is the secret then: Yield yourself and your members to God. Build an altar and place yourself and all aspects of your life before God.
"Let us give up our work, our plans, our selves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into God's hand; and then, when we have given all to Him, there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about" (Hudson Taylor).
"Through the Holy Spirit the character is transformed and the mind and will of the human agent are brought into perfect conformity to the divine will." (Ellen G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 162).
"'Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.' This is a self-denying way. And when you think that the way is too strait, that there is too much self-denial in this narrow path; when you say, 'How hard to give up all,' ask yourselves the question, 'What did Christ give up for me?' This question puts anything that we may call self-denial in the shade" (Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 1, p. 240).
General Conference Ministerial Association