Eph 4:20-23 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— (21) assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, (22) to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, (23) and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
Every Christian has been born again by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ. To NOT be born again is to remain dead in sin and though such a person claims to be a Christian, they are not. The old man must be put to death and a new creation raised. Only the Lord can pull that off.
When we are born again, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in us and leads us. He teaches us. We learn Christ. We learn the truth as it is in Jesus. We walk in Him and by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the flesh. Apart from this miraculous work there is no way we can ever love the Lord, obey Him, and have our minds increasingly transformed into the mind of Christ.
And this is where this “how-to” trap comes in. It is a fake. A counterfeit.
Start looking a one of those big Christian book catalogues and as you thumb through the pages you will see that a very large portion of those books offered for sale are like diet books promising you the way to lose weight. Want to have a model Christian family? Buy this book and get started on the program. Want to have victory over sin? There is a book for that too. Does your spouse need to be saved? Well then, here is a plan for that as well. The How-to section is big business in Christendom.
But it is a trap, a spiritual con.
There is really only one divinely-sanctioned How-to book, and it is called the Bible. The Word of God is empowered by the Spirit of God to powerfully sweep into our heart and mind and soul to teach us. To sanctify us. To give us God’s wisdom. To increase our faith and love. The Word of God brought powerfully to us by the Holy Spirit, does this:
Col 1:9-11 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (10) so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (11) being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;
There are many very good Christian books. But what makes them “good” is that they are written to lead us to God’s Word, to help us understand it better. God has given us pastors and teachers to help us in this regard and we are fortunate to have the writings of many of them.
But beware of those books and seminars and conferences and programs that promise to give you a plan to follow. Such things are the product of man, not of the Spirit of Christ.