Monday, March 7, 2016

Be Transformed

Some one who is being conformed feels the responsibility to be different. A person who is transformed is different.

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned." - Romans 12:1-3 ESV

I see people who try to conform and others who rebel against the idea. I have been both of those types of people. People feel the pressure in all kinds of circles. Both secular and sacred ones. Conforming is a middle voice action. English doesn't have the middle voice. Greek does. It is an action that people perform to themselves.

Conforming is like that. We try to reshape ourselves. This concept reminds me of this seemingly contradictory passage.

"But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery." - Matthew 5:28-32 ESV

The context of the passage above is marriage and commitment and it is brutal because divorce is brutal. Lust outside of commitment is torturous but people live in it. They live wanting something else and torn between two worlds.

Transformation is the only true release. Cutting off the old identity is what has to happen in order for there to be freedom.

The natural man feels the pressure to change and the lure of lust very keenly.

Paul speaks of the 'grace given to me' like it is his possession... and it is his. It is what gives him the disconnect to talk about these pressures as if he is outside of them and they are outside of him. He isn't trying to be anything. He is discovering again and again who Jesus Is and who Jesus has made him to be in his new identity.

Someone can explain this over and over but until grace becomes 'your grace' it isn't going to make sense. We can't change ourselves. We can't be what we need to be. But when grace is ours we realize that we are what God has made us to be.

"Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." - 1 Corinthians 15:8-10 ESV

Paul spent his youth untransformed. The other Apostles walked with Jesus and he was converted later. In a sense it gave him an advantage because he was unfamiliar with grace. It was a contrast to him in a profound way.

I see people who grew up in Church struggle to conform but God doesn't have any grandchildren. He only has children and they are born in transformation. The old identity must become old. Then to live day to day there must be an act of will that reckons that the old is old and must be replaced by grace.

"From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 ESV

You can keep on being a good little girl or boy or you can keep running from God and every authority that reminds you of Him. The answer isn't ever going to come by you changing yourself. It can only come by you choosing Him.

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." - 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 ESV

I can talk about this but I can't cause anyone to experience it. Christ is the water. It is your choice. Are you thirsty enough? Are you tired of trying yet or do you want to spend a few more years trying to change what you can't ever change yourself?

For those of you out there who have experienced this and have tasted of the goodness and graciousness of God... isn't this a good reminder. The pressures from outside don't need to make their way inside. We can live in transformation and not even feel the heat when it comes. Hallelujah. Thank You Lord.

When water freezes and turns to ice it expands with a power that can crack those things that try to contain it. Please use us that way Lord. Thank You God. Just seeing You changes us. You are amazing.


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