Mon Romans 12:2 Thu 1 John 2:3-6 Sun John 15:9-19
Tues Matthew 18:21-35 Fri Colossians 3:5-17
Wed Romans 5:1-11 Sat Galatians 5:19-26
They are 80’s-era action figures; it is a modern-day blockbuster movie franchise; and it is who we so often are in our journey of following Jesus … Transformers.
A holy life (the kind of life which Jesus lived, showed us and calls us to) cannot be lived absent transformation. Our sin nature, left to itself, chooses conformance with the ways of this present world. Self-centeredness, dishonesty, hostility, envy – these are the base urges and responses of a young child, which grow from the seeds of our sin nature. We must be taught to think of others before ourselves, tell the truth no matter the situation, share, get along and be content. It is no different in our journey of following Jesus. After believing and placing our faith in God, it is so critical to begin reading the Bible to allow the Holy Spirit to begin transforming our conformed self. In Romans 12:2 the apostle Paul writes, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
God changes our lives and hearts in an instant at the moment of genuine belief, and so many believe that their thinking and choices will follow suit. We are once and forever saved, but a transformation still must take place in order for us to move past settling for forgiveness and living a holy life.
So, that makes sense, right?! Jesus saves us and forever forgives our past. As we begin to know God more deeply through reading His Word, we must allow the Holy Spirit to begin changing our thought patterns and choices. It more than makes sense, but my own life (and I’m going to guess yours too) suggests that I am less transformed than I am a transformer. What I mean is, the more I grow and mature and – change – doesn’t always translate into a godly choice or reaction. In reading my Bible, I learn and experience the truth that I am to have a perpetual and unfailing response of forgiveness when I am wronged (even for the very same thing time after time after time). In Matthew (chapter 18, verses 21-35) Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who sins against him. Jesus offers a mathematical equation in response and continues on to tell a story which illustrates His standard of forgiveness. So often we begin to “transform” (picture Optimus Prime speeding along as a Mack truck and in the span of a few hundred feet, transforming into a massive Autobot) in order to meet a moment of testing or trial only to fold back to our former selves under the heat and pressure of the circumstances. We know the truth. We know who we are in Him, but we fail to our fears and fail to trust the power of His transformation within us.
I remember a morning a year or so ago as I sat in the quiet of the early morning and wrote the following in my journal … “one foot in, one foot sin.” I was struggling with my failures to fully commit to who God had created me to be. I was noticing a pattern of jumping with both feet only to twist sideways in landing, one foot landing in the territory of sacrifice and obedience and one foot in the safety of pleasure. To be truly obedient was to say “no” to what I wanted and was familiar, and land two feet firmly in the place of His choosing. I just couldn’t do it, and it was holding me back. I couldn’t or, more truly, wouldn’t trust that what He had for me was better than the pleasures and path of my own choosing.
Don’t be a transformer. Don’t settle for the pleasures and patterns of this world. Continue the pattern you have started over the past eight weeks to daily read the Bible. Don’t conform. Be transformed as your mind begins to be forever changed by the truth you read and experience in God’s Word. Be holy. Live a holy life. Be you, becoming more like Him.