“…UNTIL Christ be formed (molded) in you…” (Galatians 4:19 KJV).
Traditional molding is a variant of traditional conditioning and usually involves performing new and preferred behavioral responses, after sufficient training of course. These new and preferred behavioral responses are then rewarded with positive reinforcements for performing them.
Ideally, in the traditional molding, in which we are speaking of, undesirable behaviors, that are NOT rewarded, diminish. It is believed, people have a tendency to behave in ways that are rewarded whether than in ways that are NOT rewarded.
Researchers have said after positive reinforcements stop people often backslide BACK into their old behavioral responses. The question begs: Was the behavior molded actually changed or did the person simple want the rewards?
Traditional molding (transformation), a variant of traditional conditioning, is similar to shaping. This kind of molding includes a reward system which B. F. Skinner talks about in his theory on operant conditioning. Skinner posits that basically a behavior is strengthen and developed when it is rewarded, but weakened and atrophied when it is NOT rewarded.
Ideally, you are rewarded for certain behavioral responses, which make you want to do them again and again. On the other hand, you are NOT rewarded for other behavioral responses, which make you less likely to do them again. Behavior responses are, therefore, influenced by the consequences that would most likely follow the behavioral response of choice.
Spiritual molding - after sufficient exposure and experience - is rewarded with reinforcements too and are called BLESSINGS. “…And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to DO all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And ALL THESE BLESSING SHALL COME ON THEE, and overtake thee…” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2 KJV).
In spiritual molding, undesirable behaviors that are NOT rewarded will hopefully diminish. “… if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, ALL THESE CURSES WILL COME ON YOU and overtake you…” (Deuteronomy 28:15 KJV).
As said before, people have a tendency to behave in ways that are rewarded whether than in ways that are NOT rewarded.
Again, researchers have said after positive reinforcements stop people often backslide into their old behavioral responses. In spiritual molding rewards (blessings) NEVER stop. “…Aaron and his descendants were set apart … to pronounce BLESSINGS in his name FOREVER…” (2 Chronicles 23:13 NLT). “….My cup overflows with BLESSINGS….” (Psalms 23:5 NLT).
In spiritual molding, you are ALWAYS rewarded (blessed) for certain behavioral responses, which make you hopefully want to do them again and again. “… if thou shalt ….observe and … do all his commandments …ALL THESE BLESSING SHALL COME ON THEE, and overtake thee…” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2 KJV).
On the other hand, you are NOT rewarded (blessed) for other behavioral responses, which will hopefully make you less likely to do them again. “… if you do not obey …and do not carefully follow all his commands …ALL THESE CURSES WILL COME ON YOU and overtake you…” (Deuteronomy 28:15 KJV).
Behavior, therefore, is often influenced by the consequences that would most likely follow the behavioral response of choice. “….If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, SIN lieth at the door…” (Genesis 4:5-7 KJV).
Spiritual molding becomes so infused into daily routine until the desired behavior molds into a personally preferred response. “Then Jesus explained: "My nourishment comes from DOING the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work…” (John 4:34 NLT).
The person doesn’t just do it for the reward, but because they willfully and preferably choose to do it. “… “I” LAY DOWN my life... No one takes it from me, but “I” LAY IT DOWN of my own accord…” (John 10:17-18 KJV).
What encourages this spiritual molding? The indwelling Holy Spirit encourages new behavior responses. Jesus said, “…..what he SEETH the Father doing… he DOETH… in like manner” (John 5:19 KJV). "I and my Father are one." (John 10:30 KJV). “…I can of mine own self do nothing…...” John 5:30 KJV). “…as the Father gave me commandments, EVEN SO I DO…” (John 14:31 KJV). “But HE THAT IS JOINED (attached) unto the Lord is ONE SPIRIT” (1 Corinthians 6:17 KJV). “…that all of them may be ONE, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be IN US…” (John 17:21 NIV). Therefore, “…it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13 NIV). “…May… that great Shepherd of the sheep, EQUIP you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work IN US what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ…” (Hebrews 13:20-21 NIV).
Spiritual molding is encourage and empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit. “…be conformed (molded) to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8:29 KJV). “… It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13 NIV).
Spiritual molding, because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, transforms behavioral responses using spiritual reinforcements called blessings. “…ALL THESE BLESSING SHALL COME ON THEE, and overtake thee…” (Deuteronomy 28:1-2 KJV).
Spiritual molding focuses on conformity of both actions and the heart through the presence or absence of spiritual blessings. “…Be conformed (molded) to the image (behavior) of His Son…” (Romans 8:29 KJV). “…Be transformed (molded) by the renewing of your mind (heart)….” (Romans 12:2 KJV). “….My cup overflows with BLESSINGS….” (Psalms 23:5 NLT).
The consequences of righteous or unrighteous behavior can highly assist in molding behavior. “…And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou DOEST WELL, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou DOEST NOT WELL, SIN lieth at the door…” (Genesis 4:5-7 KJV). “…Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect…” (Genesis 4:3-5 KJV). “…It was by faith that Abel brought A MORE ACCEPTABLE OFFERING than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that HE WAS A RIGHTEOUS MAN, and God showed his approval of his gifts …” (Hebrews 11 NLT).
Once spiritual molding has transformed behavior responses John B Watson’s theory of conditioning comes into play. Watson, basically, suggested that once a new behavior is learned, the actions that are performed the most frequently would endure while other actions will expire.
The reason I mentioned Watson is because his empirical evidence was gleaned from manipulating or altering the learner’s environment. It appears Watson choose to manipulate the environment whether than to emphasize a reward or non-reward system to harvest learning.
In spiritual molding the individual’s daily routine is often drastically altered in a way that focused attention becomes experience that ultimately harvests learning and MOLDS character.
One day Job’s daily routine was drastically interrupted and altered. “One day when Job’s ….donkeys were grazing nearby …the Sabeans attacked and made off with them.…another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and …another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and …yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” (Job 1:13-20 NIV). . “…Satan….smote Job with boils from the sole of his feet unto his crown…” (Job 2:7 KJV). Job’s wife said, “…Doest thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God and die…” (Job 2:9 KJV). “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head…” (Job 1:20-22 NASB).
Job’s entire daily routine was radically changed forever. Prior to the incident, every single day Job would follow the same routine.“…Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s REGULAR (routine) PRACTICE…” (Job 1:5 NLT).
Job asked God a lot of questions after his routine changed. “Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?” (Job 3:11 KJV). “…I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?” (Job 9:2 KJV). “…Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?” (Job 7:1 KJV). “…If someone wanted to take God to court, would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times?...” (Job 9:3 NLT).
Asking questions is the best way to find answers. Elihu made a suggestion to Job. “…I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause…” (Job 5:9 KJV).
Wise men, like Job sought God (Matthew 1:1-12). “Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually…” (1 Chronicles 16:11 KJV). “… those that seek me early shall find me…” (Proverbs 8:17 KJV). “…seek, and ye shall find… (Matthew 7:7-8 KJV). “...The LORD [is] good …to the soul [that] seeketh him…” (Lamentations 3:25 KJV).
When your entire, daily routine is turned upside down: “...call upon [God]… in the day of trouble: [He] will deliver [you]…” (Psalms 50:15 KJV). “…Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near…” (Isaiah 55:6-7 KJV). “…Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord…” (Isaiah 44:6-7 KJV).
When daily routine drastically changes HUMILITY is the posture God is looking for you to take on. “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” (Galatians 6:3 KJV). “[It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalms 118:9 KJV).
When your daily routine drastically changes and suddenly you are living in an altered reality, is God being unfair to you? “Are [Job and his friends]… saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course [he’s]…not! For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it…” (Romans 9:14-16 NLT).
God has the sovereign right to alter our daily routine of life. “…he does whatever pleases him…” (Psalms 115:3 NIV). AND “All the PEOPLES of the earth are regarded as nothing. He (God) does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold baThe LORD [is] good …to the soul [that] seeketh him…ck his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” (Daniel 4 NLT).
Elihu was instrumental in showing Job God’s sovereignty. “Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.. … Why dost thou strive against him (GOD)?” (Job 33:1-9 KJV).
Job’s new daily routine elicited a deeper level of humility toward God and he said “You (God) asked, ‘Who is this that questions [your] wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I (Job)—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me” (Job 42:3 NLT).
Job’s new daily routine elicited a deeper level of revelation about God and he said: “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye SEETH THEE…” (Job 42:5 KJV).
Job’s new daily routine elicited a deeper level of respect for God’s sovereignty and the bible says: “…Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?” (Job 38:2 NLT). "... All the PEOPLES of the earth are regarded as nothing. He (God) does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold baThe LORD [is] good …to the soul [that] seeketh him…ck his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” (Daniel 4 NLT).
Your daily routine can drastically change for days, weeks, months, or years, but trust God’s wisdom through it ALL. “…I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not” (Job 42:3 KJV).
God showed Job human wisdom was finite. “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling band for it, And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?” (Job 38:4-11 KJV).
In the midst of an altered, daily routine seek God like David and Job did. “…[King David]…sought the LORD, and he heard [him], and delivered [him]… from all [his] fears” (Psalm 34:4 KJV). Job said, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee” (Job 42:5 KJV).
God answered Job in chapter 38 in the midst of his daily routine. “…The Lord answered Job…” (Job 38: 2 KJV).
After a period of spiritual molding infused into his daily routine Job’s response was transformed. “…Then Job REPLIED to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance” (Job 42:1,6 NLT).
Job’s spiritual molding was NOT about what happened TO him, but what happened IN him. “…but now mine eye seeth thee…” (Job 42:1, 6 KJV). “..I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me” (Job 42:3 NLT). “…Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?” (Job 38:2 NLT).
Godly transformation comes through the daily routine of life infused with opportunities for spiritual spiritual growth and development.
We all question God when our daily routine drastically changes, especially for long stretches of time. God’s “…ways [are]… past finding out…” (Romans 11:33-34 KJV).
God has the sovereign right to use daily routine to prune you, develop you, test you, correct you, make you holy, or enlighten you. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way” (Psalms 37:23 KJV).
Job said, “…Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” (Job 13:15 KJV). “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord…” Job 1:20-22 NASB).
Job grew in the grace and revelatory knowledge of God. “…but now mine eye seeth thee…” (Job 42:1, 6 KJV).
When daily routine stretches into long periods of time, continue to trust God. “… [Entrust yourself]… to him who judges justly…” (1 Peter 2:19-23 NIV).
Spiritual molding takes time. The bible says all things work together for good: God’s good. “…All things work together for GOOD (God’s kind of good) to them that LOVE GOD, to them who are THE CALLED to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 KJV).
Job decided, “….all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come…” (Job 14:14 KJV).
Job patiently endured and later he received a double blessing for all he had loss. “…Also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. The LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning…” (Job 42:10, 12 KJV).
Job’s spiritual growth and development had priority over all that Job lost and so does yours. “…seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you…” (Matthew 6:33 KJV).
The greatest part of Job’s story was NOT his double, temporary, outward, material blessings, but his double, eternal, inward intangible blessings!! Who you are is more priceless to God than what you possess.
God said Job was “blameless and upright”. “..There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “” (Job 1:7-12 NIV). “…Through all [his changes]… Job did not sin nor did he blame God…” (Job 1:20-22 NASB).
Job still needed to “…GROW in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord … ” (Matthew 23:27-28 KJV). “...God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart…”(1 Samuel 16:7 NASB).
Job was “blameless and upright” but still had to continue to grow spiritually, which was part of his DOUBLE blessing too!!
He gained a deeper humility towards God, a greater revelatory knowledge of God, and a more profound respect for God’s sovereignty.
When God infuses spiritual training into daily routine, humility will play a BIG role. Give over EVERYTHING to God’s sovereign will for your life. Paul said, “….everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus [our]… Lord. For his sake I have discarded EVERYTHING ELSE, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ…” (Philippians 3:8 NLT).
In regard to Job, “…the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. The LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning…” (Job 42:10, 12 KJV).
Job’s HUMILITY had grown. “….Job replied to the Lord: “…I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance…” (Job 42:1-6 NLT). “…For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation…” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV). “…When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes…” (Job 42:10 NLT). “…So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: … So Job died, being old, and FULL of days...” (Job 42:12-17 KJV).
Job began truly listening to God and experiencing direct communication with him. “…“Then Job replied to the Lord… “You said, ‘Listen and I will speak...” (Job 42:1-6 NLT). “Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you…” (Job 42:1-6 NLT).
Job gained a deeper respect for God’s sovereignty and it resulted in godly sorrow. “… I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance…” (Job 42:1-6 NLT).
If you have been patiently enduring something for a LONG stretch of TIME God promises: “….that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose…” (ROMANS 8:28 KJV. “…the plans [God has]…for you….[are]… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV).
In order to fully benefit from such promises, especially when it has been days, weeks, months, or years: “…live by faith, not by sight….” (2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV).
Keep looking forward to the benefits in this life regardless of all the pain, heartache or disappointment you have already experienced. “…In this [fallen] world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, [God has]… OVERCOME the world…” (John 16:33 KJV).
Spiritual molding will find you in the midst of a DULL, BORING, DISMAL, and MONOTONOUS daily routine that has gone on for a LONG stretch of time. It has turned into days, weeks, months, or years, but DON’T give up.
For Job’s patient endurance: “…the Lord gave JobTWICE as much as he had before. …” (Job 42:10, 12 KJV). For Joseph’s patient endurance: “…Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” …thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt…” (Genesis 41 NIV). For the Hebrew Boys patient endurance: “…the king PROMOTED Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon…” (DANIEL 3). Once King Hezekiah learned his lesson what happened? “…Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart … Hezekiah had immense riches and honor; for God had given him very great wealth…. And Hezekiah prospered in all that he did…” (2 Chronicles 32:26-30 NLT). What happened after King Nebuchadnezzar learned his lesson? “…At the same time …my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before….” (Daniel 4 NLT). After Jesus suffered unjustly through the daily routine of life, what happened? Jesus was/is “highly exalted” with a “name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).
Spiritual molding brings you to a humble surrender to God’s will and God’s way. “… not My will, but Yours be done…" (Luke 22:42-43 NIV). “…‘[I’ve]… given up everything to follow you…” (Mark 10:28-31 NLT). “….everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus [our]… Lord. For his sake I have discarded EVERYTHING ELSE, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ…” (Philippians 3:8 NLT). “…If the Lord will, [I] shall live, and do this, or that...” (James 4:16 KJV).
“….O people of Judah and Jerusalem, SURRENDER your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord…” (Jeremiah 4:4 NLT). “…He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee….TO WALK HUMBLY with thy God?” (Micah 6:8 KJV).
“…For all those who exalt themselves will be HUMBLED, and those who HUMBLE themselves will be exalted…” (Luke 18:9-14 NIV). Jesus, our example, "… HUMBLED HIMSELF, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross...” (Philippians 2:8 KJV). “…I am gentle and humble in heart…” (Matthew 11:29 NIV).
“…If My people which are called by My name shall HUMBLE THEMSELVES…” (2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV). “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord…” (James 4:10 KJV). “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God…”(1 Peter 5:6 KJV).
“…God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble…” (James 4:6 NIV).
Spiritual molding results in new and preferred responses, after sufficient training of course. These new and preferred responses are then rewarded with God’s favor and blessings.
Undesirable behavorial responses, during spiritual molding, will hopefully diminish. God generously rewards you for certain behavioral responses, but NOT for others.
Thus, in spiritual molding behavior responses are also influenced by the consequences that will follow the behavioral response of choice. “… I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life…” (Deuteronomy 30:19) OR “…Choose you this day whom ye will serve….” (Joshua 24:15 KJV).