Very few people are completely satisfied with who they are. I think many people would like to make at least minor changes to their lives. When we consider our lives it is easy to find flaws that we would like fixed.
This is why we make New Years Resolutions because it means that we can start with a clean slate. We hope we can whip ourselves into shape so we can be happier with the person we have become. Yet, it seems, the older we get the more cynical we become with trying to change our lives. We have tried many times before only be be met with failure time after time. Reality hits us right in the face. Our strength, self-discipline, and wisdom all fail us. Rather than becoming new people we discover the old person gains a stronger hold on us.
I want to encourage you. We can be transformed. It is very possible for you and I to become different people. We can become the people God created us to be. In other words we can experience life the way it was meant to be lived.
Erwin McManus wrote:
Transformation is both the miracle of God and the stewardship of man. Godliness is a result of divine activity and human action. God promises to do what we cannot do ourselves, and He commands us to do that which He will not do for us. There is both miracle and responsibility.
Stand Against the Wind, p. 46
Think about what McManus wrote. He points out that transformation is made possible through the miracle of God and our choices. Transformation requires God and it also requires us. If we are not good stewards of what God has done for us, and if we don't take advantage of the miracle of God, then transformation will not happen in our lives.
The miracle of transformation centers around the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. That means true transformation, the transformation of us into the people God created us to be, begins and ends with Jesus. Too often, and the reason we fail in our attempts to change our lives, is because we believe change begins and ends with us. The bottom line is that we don't have what it takes to truly transform our lives. We need God's help to truly become the people He created us to be.
What does it mean to be transformed? It is entirely possible to make changes to our lives. We can find help to overcome our addictions, we can create a set of disciplines to help us get into shape, and we could find a plastic surgeon who could change our appearance. We can make all sorts of changes to our lives, but none of those changes will heal the human heart.
True transformation is about the healing of our heart, soul, and spirit. It is from this core of our being that our actions, emotions, passions, and words flow. To heal our heart is to change the direction of our lives. The goal of this transformation is to heal our hearts so we can look more like Jesus. A truly transformed life looks like Jesus; Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did (1 John 2:6; NLT).
The first step in this transformation process is not figuring out what we can do to make the necessary changes to our lives, but to surrender our lives to Jesus. The apostle Paul wrote; Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV).
To be in Christ is what is required for us to be transformed. We cannot have our hearts healed without first being united with Christ.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.
Romans 6:1-7; ESV
It is through our surrender to Jesus in baptism that we are united to him. By being united to Christ we are freed from the bondage of sin. We are finally able to experience the transformation of our lives.
Our transformation always begins with Jesus. If we are truly interested in the transformation of our lives, we must first turn to him.
Questions to Consider:
- What is something about your life that you would like to change?
- How is transformation both a miracle of God and a responsibility of man?
- Why does transformation begin with Jesus?