Sunday, November 30, 2014

Transformation and grace

It's one thing to read about rushing rivers
from the comforts of home ...
It's Sunday, a day of reflection on the transformation Jesus brings about in his followers. Surrender to Jesus is not about surface changes or being "better people" by obeying the rules. Thank God for that!

If it were, I'd be without hope. I can't maintain a "good front" for longer than a few minutes at a time. (Those who know me best know that's true.)

What runs through your mind when you read the following quote from C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity (below)? Do you agree and lean forward with anticipation? Or do you find yourself resisting this kind of "interference" from God?

   "And now we begin to see what it is that the New Testament is always talking about. It talks about Christians ‘being born again’; it talks about them ‘putting on Christ’; about Christ ‘being formed in us’; about our coming to ‘have the mind of Christ’.

   "Put right out of your head the idea that these are only fancy ways of saying that Christians are to read what Christ said and try to carry it out—as a man may read what Plato or Marx said and try to carry it out. They mean something much more than that. They mean that a real Person, Christ, here and now, in that very room where you are saying your prayers, is doing things to you. 

   "It is not a question of a good man who died two thousand years ago. It is a living Man, still as much a man as you, and still as much God as He was when He created the world, really coming and interfering with your very self; killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self He has. At first, only for moments. Then for longer periods. Finally, if all goes well, turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new
little Christ, a being which, in its own small way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity."

Scripture tells us that the future is cataclysmic but hopeful: God is in control. We prepare for the renewal of the universe by allowing God to transform us day by day, not by accomplishing "goodness" on our own terms.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness...? 2 Peter 3:10-11 ESV

The holiness that God works in us is a separation unto Himself, away from evil. When God is in the process of changing our hearts to suit himself, it's not always comfortable. He's doing surgery - cutting away the unnecessary and the bad. Instead of bandages, he transplants in a new heart, grafts on new skin, and injects new desires into us, which sometimes feels more like a burn or scarring rather than healing. 

... and quite another thing to ride life's rapids.
Behavioral scientists have observed that people feel helpless and internally chaotic during times of change. In such seasons, when we're clearly not in control, the grace of God - his unmerited favor - is particularly important.
  • He covers us with his love.
  • He offers enough strength to get through the day.
  • He is endlessly patient and watchful as we are being transformed.

  • Such gifts from God are Good News indeed. They're becoming more and more real and important to me. 

    Sometimes I cannot believe the junk I've held onto through the years. Should I not be "perfect" and "godly" after serving Jesus for decades? When I am impatient with my husband, rude in speech, or unkind to someone who cuts into line, does my conscience convict me - or do I shrug off my sins and failures?

    Lord have mercy! Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment