The Transformed Life in Christ
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 1 Cor. 5:17
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1,2
This year, we are asking God to bring about a change in our lives, our families and our church or spiritual community.
God is asking us, calling us, to step out by faith and follow His lead … wherever that may take us.
When I read the above verses, I struggle with words like change, transformation, metamorphosis. When we use these words we often have different ways of understanding them and different perceptions of what they mean … meanings that we don’t all share.
For some of us change is a shift that may or may not last, or stand the test of time. It’s often pivotal in nature. It is one or the other, black or white, however, it doesn’t always reflect the whole process or journey of progression in our life.
In 2012, we are using the word transformation to speak of an enduring process in which a person is radically reformed … meaning that they would not ever revert to their previous condition, hence, a transformation … once a caterpillar, now a butterfly!
We should not be afraid to change our perspective on words like this, and their meaning to us, but should dare to consider a new way … a new perspective.
I’m not talking about compromise or lowering God’s clear standards regarding holiness.
I’m talking about acknowledging that Jesus Christ through the power of his Holy Spirit may have something fresh to say about what He regards as being truly holy!
When we talk of the transformed life in Christ; I believe there are some foundational characteristics:
Christianity that is unhealthy and toxic is always dividing the world between “us” and “them.” I realize that in order to explain one’s own faith or position some differentiation is necessary, however, speaking of your beliefs and convictions cannot come with the arrogance that you are the sole possessor of truth and knowledge.
Inclusive Christianity does not believe that all roads lead to God or that all beliefs are equally valid, but it does contend that God will travel many different roads to get to us, and that truth is truth wherever it may be found. Christians entrenched within exclusive Christianity insist that everyone outside of their group must believe what they believe or relate to God the way they relate to God in order to be called true disciples of Him.
I am so grateful for the many different kinds of churches here in London, and as we continue to reach out to communities here in London and the surrounding area, we must continue to be thankful for and supportive of their efforts to reach out to their communities.
Anything we do as Gateway Church, must never come with any expression or thought that what we do is better than anyone else or that our way is the only way.
Compassion is both a feeling and a way of being that flows out of that feeling.
To show compassion is to feel the hurt or pain of someone else and then, on the basis of that feeling, to act on that person’s behalf to comfort, care and come alongside. It means a willingness to participate in both the suffering and the healing of someone else. To be transformed means to become the embodiment of what it means to be compassionate.
We must not only feel the pain of those in our neighborhood, but we must also identify with their redemption. Jesus comes into our lives and wants to bring us back into God’s original plan for us and for those we love.
Transformative Christianity must result in real life change. Salvation is not merely about going to heaven in the afterlife, nor is it just about some theological, judicial transaction that occurs when one believes certain things about Jesus; say the right words and poof, now your born again!
Conversion is about becoming who we already are; children of God, created by God, wanted by God, planned by God, before the foundations of the earth.
It’s about learning how to love; in our homes and in our relationships. It’s about how to love one another in the church, and if we are successful in that, we can take it to those outside the church in a way that accepts people as they are, created, loved and called to be His children.
This brings me both comfort and irritation. I really do want to become everything God wants for me. I really do want to be transformed from the inside out, yet, as I lead this spiritual community, I look into the mirror, and if I hold up the measuring stick, I have so much more growing to do.
God come into my life … change … yes, but even more, transform my life.
Change the way I see those who are in my life … their struggles, their failures, and their successes.
Help me to hold close, those who you bring into my life. Help me to be an agent of transformation for them.
Give me eyes to see the heart and the hurt of those in my community.
Help me to swallow my pride, when it comes to the hard choices of conversion, the 180 degree turns that no one understands … that we struggle to take.
Make this the year, I get my wings!