Transformed? pt 2

transformedTransformation is a part of our Christian walk.  It is something that happens from the day that we give our lives to Christ, and continues on until the life of Christ is reflected through us.  Which is something we as Christians see little of.  There is more of the world in most of us than the life of Christ.

When we look at changing our lives we as Christians often make one of two mistakes.  The first is we try to do the work ourselves.  All of us have heard sermons about the need for our lives to be different in one way or another.  “We need to get the sin out of the camp” was a popular topic and phrase when I was growing up.  There are sermons upon sermons which talk about behaviors we have that we shouldn’t, and having behaviors that we cannot seem to have.

Paul wrote in Colossians 3:8 “ Put out of your life these things also: anger, bad temper, bad feelings toward others, talk that hurts people, speaking against God, and dirty talk.NLV  And we push hard to change, which lasts for a little while and then the old behaviors start again and discouragement settles in and the desire to change dissipates.  And we have hard working people striving to become better and who usually end up being bitter and judgmental and demanding of changes in others they were not able to make themselves.

The second mistake we make is that all the changes in our lives are God’s doing.  And while some of this is true it also falls on us to make the changes.  If we simply wait for God to change us we will again be disappointed and become disillusioned with God and Christianity.  In the above verse it states that we  need to put these things out of your life.

Change begins in our lives when we choose to submit to God and allow Him to take charge of our lives.  Without this first level of submission and commitment nothing else happens.  As we accept the work of God in us and choose to submit to His reign over us as Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:16 Live as servants owned by God at all times. NLV.   In fact several of the apostles in scripture wrote much the same as James did James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ” James 1:1 HCSB

Once we actually stop trying to live our lives our way and we come to submit to the authority and leadership of God the changes in our lives can begin and the grace of God can do it’s job in us.  And God can speak to us about the changes we need to make, and then we can decide to put off anger and all the other things God talks to us about and as we decide to obey the power of God enables the change to happen in our lives.  And the life of Christ deepens and grows within us.  But it all starts with submission.  As we choose to release our lives to His control all that we desire to see happen in our lives begins to happen, and the effort and the struggle get replaced with the power and presence of our God.


purple minion

Change.  It is something most people hate.  Because change causes us to step outside our comfort zones and away from things we have come to appreciate and value.  Change opens us up for disappointment when things don’t go the way we wanted, or we don’t achieve the result we were looking or hoping for.  Change opens the door to failure and failure is something that many people fear.  When you bring up the subject of change the most common response people give is “What if it doesn’t work?”  One of the most common phrases we use in the English language relating to change is “Better the devil you know, than the one you don’t!”

And yet change is something that is a part of life.  It happens almost daily.  Change is something we need to embrace and not run away from.  Change is a part of growth and development, and without change we can never grow.  We don’t fear the change our children go through as they mature, but we sure scramble to take them to the doctor when things aren’t  changing as they should.

Change is a part of life.  And if we are followers ominion_transformationf Jesus change is all the more important.  Statistics show that change is not apart of the lives of those who call themselves Christian.  In every way we are consistently like the world around us.  We have the same habits, go to the same shows, use the same language and have the same behaviours.  The only difference there seems to be is we gather together for our weekly religious duty in the big holy building down the street.

“without transformation that starts with repentance, the crucifixion of self, and, yes, even some of our cultural values and habits, there will be little redemptive power left to touch and transform our societies with the gospel. Christianity has never been cheap; it was always meant to cost us our very lives.” Wolfgang Samson ‘The House Church’

We are called to be agents of change in a world that is lost, and we have left our role behind and become just like the world we live in.  Jesus came into the world to demonstrate to us who God is and to call us to be apart of His family and be like Him.  It was always our destiny, until we decided to do things our own way.  And God took it upon Himself to bring us back because He loves us so much.  But we need to do it His way, and allow Him to work on us bringing about the changes that we need.  God is a master of changing people.  I know a great many people who can attest to this, myself included.  But we need to let Him do what He can do.

Change is apart ominionf our lives as Christians.  Christian wasn’t just supposed to be a cultural name we attached to ourselves and continue living our way.  Christian was meant to be a description of who we were becoming.  Christian means “little Christ”, or “like Christ”.  And the effect of having God in our lives is change.  Jesus said to His disciples that we would be able to tell who people were by their lives.  You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.”  Matthew 7:16 NLV and the fruit of having a real connection with God and a life lived in restored relationship to His is one of love.   “But the fruit that comes from having the Holy Spirit in our lives is: love, joy, peace, not giving up, being kind, being good, having faith, 23 being gentle, and being the boss over our own desires.” Galatians 5:22 NLV. 

There is a lot of things in our world being passed of as Christianity.  And the majority of it is crap.  We need to return to the methods laid out by Jesus for deciding who and what  is Christian.  How’s your fruit?

Will I love?

Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. - Oscar Wilde

Love is extremely important and valuable in our lives.  To know we are deeply loved is an instinctive need in every one of us.  It is something that every person everywhere has been wired to need, and a great many people in our world suffer without.  We live in a world which deepens the divide between people and starves of what we all really need.  It creates in us fears and tells us that we are better off without others because then we cannot be hurt.  We live in a world which misunderstands completely what love is.

For many people love is an emotion.  They fall in love and fall back out of it when the feelings stop.  For others love is a sexual desire.  They only feel loved when having sex.  And the feelings don’t usually last long.  Others love is responding to the passions inside, chasing the dream.  And when the dream is fulfilled, or taken away due to circumstances beyond our control we feel lost and empty.

Love for many people speaks of warm feelings, romantic encounters, and soft touches.  We think of flowers and puppies and all kinds of other warm feelings.  But love goes way beyond simply warm passionate feelings.  Jesus said “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34-35 MSG.  As Christians we are called to love like Jesus did and often we completely misunderstand what love is.

Love goes beyond feelings to requiring us to put others first.  Love says that I will look out for your best interests, not just your comfort.  Love speaks difficult things because we need to hear them.  Jesus also said in Matthew 23:27 “It is bad for you, teachers of the Law and proud religious law-keepers, you who pretend to be someone you are not! You are like graves that have been made white and look beautiful on the outside. But inside you are full of the bones of dead men and of every sinful thing.”  NLV  And Jesus said it completely in love.  We don’t usually think of God loving people when He spoke these words and others like them.  But God cannot act outside of His nature and character and 1 John 4:8 Those who do not love do not know God because God is love.”  NLV  God’s very nature is one of deep love, so Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees with love in His heart, and saying, what we would say are, some very harsh and seemingly unloving words.  And yet we know from history that there were many of the Pharisees who responded in time to the message of Jesus and became His followers.

In a world gone crazy with political correctness there is a new need for people to stand and love one another like Jesus said.  It does mean caring for our needs and seeing people as valuable regardless of their current situation, but it also means saying things that need to be said.  Ephesians 4:15 Instead, by truth spoken in love, we are to grow in every way into Him—the Anointed One, the head. Voice  There is much that we can do and become if we are willing to speak up and say what needs to be said, and also to hear when others speak to us.  All of us have areas in our lives which we are blind to and behaviors that need to change and we need people who will love us enough to say something to us.  Love isn’t always a warm fuzzy.  Sometimes it is being pulled up short by those around us who care deeply for us and can see our potential and are willing to jump in and cause us to see things in our lives that need to change.

We all need to know love.  But not just a warm fuzzy love, but a love that causes us to see and grow into our full potential.  A love that was first demonstrated by Jesus and passed on to His followers.  A love that we all need to know and share.