Friday, May 04, 2012
Ok, before I even begin I have an issue with the spell check! I am not believing that transformative requires a hyphen.....but we'll let that one pass.
As a pastor and a follower of Christ, I BELIEVE in transformation! I see it every day; I see most clearly in my own life. No one knows me better than me, and I know what lurks in the recesses of my heart.....in the narrow hallways of my soul and the blue light closets in the corners of my mind. No one else knows this.....but I do......and God does. I know what my heart is like if left to pursue the passions that "come naturally" to me!
Knowing all of this reinforces my belief in transformation. Modernity is constantly reminding us that people cannot REALLY change. I agree.....people cannot, or better yet will not change primarily because the locus of change is one's heart (soul) and the natural heart is all about ME.....what I want.....what turns me on......what feeds my passions! So, why would I change when I am striving with all that is within me to satisfy me!
People cannot really change.......but some people do change! Transformation can happen....but it requires a massive change.....a spiritual re-birth.....soul-surgery that will forever (and yes I mean a literal forever!) slay the god of self and replace it with the one true God of all. Transformation occurs when my heart of stone is replaced with a beating heart of flesh....a heart that re-connects with my Creator and allows me to worship Him and enjoy Him and relate to Him as God.....as Father.....as friend!
You see, those dark hallways and closets and scary, self-aggrandizing recesses still exist in me, but they are shrinking over time and, whereas they used to dictate to me how I lived.....how I loved (or hated).....why I chose to do things the way I do them (purpose).....NOW they no longer have any authority in my life (unless I give it to them).
I have been.....am being......and will be (completely, 100%) transformed. From a ME person who is self-centered and always looking out for myself as Numb. 1 to a God-centered son who basks in the love of a holy and righteous (means RIGHT ALWAYS in ALL WAYS)....God who created me to enjoy His presence and His love forever. True transformation cannot come if we are divorced from our true purpose in life and that is to glorify the One who spoke all things into existence from nothing! The One who breathed breath into the first man (not a protozoa or primate!.....sorry, couldn't contain myself :) God is the purpose of existence and God is all that is truly real in our lives. We may deceive ourselves into running after other purposes, but reality is unaltered. True life.......joyous and healthy and happy and fulfilling life is found in only one place.......really better said, is found in only one person!
Jesus Christ said this,
"If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it."
Luke 17:33 (NLT)
In part, what Jesus was saying is that if you want to keep the dark hallways and continue to be your own god.....then in the end you lose everything.....and along the way you are lost because you never find the real purpose in existence. You cling to your life and reject REAL life. But, if you let go of this life and trust in the person of Jesus Christ, you find true, fulfilling, joyful life! This is what God promises you if you lose your life....let go of it and cling to Christ! Jesus said, "I have come that you might have abundant life." In the context of that passage (John 10:10b), Jesus is promising you a safe life (He has you and no one can destroy you) and he's promising you an abundant life (all that your soul longs for.....purpose, love that is pure and right because it comes from your Creator, and joy because you come to know God (a growing "knowing" that is not complete - for we are finite you know :)!
This is the transformation! It's on-going and it's total....it affects your mind (thinking and thoughts)....your will (intentions, goals, aspirations, passions) and your body. Trans-formative living is humanly impossible, but with God is a reality because you are a new person from the inside out. It is the greatest of "miracles" you will ever witness or experience!
As a Sparks person, I am now enjoying trans-formative living with my body. I have neglected this for far too long, passing from one diet to another and losing some and eventually gaining more! But just as the dark corners and closets of my heart now are exposed to the light of God in Christ, so my body has been liberated from the enslavement to sin. All of this is through Christ (who strengthens me) and all of this glorifies Him! Jesus said that truth sets us free.....and He is truth! He also said, when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed! Free from the old and alive to the new!
Oh, how I love trans-formative living! May God the Father grant you freedom and grace through His Son, Jesus Christ and cause you to be born again to a living hope through the resurrected Lord Jesus! Amen.