Tag Archives: transformation

Just the way it is

metamorphosis-of-butterflies7

by Barry Newton

I have a hot temper and that’s just the way it is. Because of some bad past experiences, I will always have trust issues. Genetics dealt me this hand for how I feel. How many of us have heard someone say these things or something similar?

Perhaps we were chatting with a friend, when suddenly we discovered a fatalistic attitude toward change. I must confess that in those moments I wonder whether I am hearing the despair of resignation, an excuse for apathy or carnal desire seeking permission.

The God who can transform a caterpillar into a gooey protein jelly within a chrysalis only to reorganize it into a butterfly has the power to remake our lives. In prayer Paul longed for Christians to comprehend God’s power toward the believer (Ephesians 1:18-19Ephesians 1:18-19
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18 having the eyes of your hearts TR reads “understanding” instead of “hearts” enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might

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Ephesians 2:1-6Ephesians 2:1-6
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2 1 You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience; 3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ , 6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

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captures that initial transformative moment. God’s power starts with us being spiritually dead, but recreates us into new creatures alive with Christ. However, this is neither the end of what God desires for us nor the extent of his ability to reorder our lives into something healthier and greater. God’s power continues to work daily in the lives of his people, enabling us to put on the new self created to be like God (2 Corinthians 3:182 Corinthians 3:18
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18 But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit.

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; Ephesians 3:20, 4:24Ephesians 3:20, 4:24
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20 Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 4 by which, when you read, you can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ;

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Yet, nothing in scripture suggests that such a change is automatic or imposed upon God’s person. Rather, as we learn from Christ we are to exert effort in discarding old undesirable ways. We do this by deliberately seeking to practice those behaviors and attitudes of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:21-24Ephesians 4:21-24
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21 if indeed you heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put away, as concerning your former way of life, the old man, that grows corrupt after the lusts of deceit; 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new man, who in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

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; Galatians 5:16Galatians 5:16
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16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh.

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Paul promised a powerful principle. Since the ways of the Spirit and of the flesh pull in opposite directions, if we live by the Spirit we cannot simultaneously do what our flesh craves (Galatians 5:17Galatians 5:17
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17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one other, that you may not do the things that you desire.

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). Therefore Paul instructs us to intentionally engage in pleasing the Spirit (Galatians 6:8Galatians 6:8
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8 For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

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Satan might wish for us to believe change is impossible. Our flesh might desire for us to abandon all hope. Yet, God’s power can be revealed through our lives to his glory.

We must decide to choose. New life emerges from choosing God. Continued transformation occurs by choosing to live by God’s Spirit. Praise be to God for his love, power and mercy.

A Fading Image

by Tim Hall
An image of Jesus fades quickly on this man’s pickup truck.
He lives about twelve miles from my home and has now made national news. Jim Stevens wasn’t seeking fame, but he couldn’t help but report the strange scene he has recently witnessed.
Each morning when he goes out to his truck, an image that resembles popular depictions of Jesus can be seen on the driver’s side window. As the sun burns off the morning dew, the image fades. A photo in our local newspaper backs up Stevens’ claim.
Seeing religious images is nothing new.
A building in Clearwater, Florida housing a financial institution boasts a glass exterior. Someone spotted an image in the glass that, they claimed, resembled the mother of Jesus. Others saw the resemblance and word spread. To date, millions have made the pilgrimage to view the scene. (Others, however, see only discoloration in the glass, not the virgin.)
Such sightings seem hard to reconcile with God’s clear instructions to Moses in Exodus 20:4Exodus 20:4
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4 “You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

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. In forbidding idolatry, God stated, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (NKJV).
God has always discouraged focusing on external material images.
He does, however, urge us to focus on spiritual images. Paul wrote about this idea in Romans 8:29Romans 8:29
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29 For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. The word for “brothers” here and where context allows may also be correctly translated “brothers and sisters” or “siblings.”

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: “For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Our challenge is to look more like Jesus (spiritually) with each passing day. In another passage the apostle again stressed the goal: “And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly man” (1 Corinthians 15:491 Corinthians 15:49
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49 As we have borne the image of those made of dust, let’s NU, TR read “we will” instead of “let’s” also bear the image of the heavenly.

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Many of us accepted that challenge and were baptized into Christ. Initially the fire burned within us, and we were glad to show our Lord’s image to others. As time went by, however, that image seemed to fade. Though we continue to stress the external actions of faith, we fall into the same error as Christians at Ephesus long ago: “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4Revelation 2:4
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4 But I have this against you, that you left your first love.

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Onlookers may see a Christian who is diligent about worship and service. But do they see the image of Jesus? Or has that image faded?
Christians have long struggled with the balance between love for Christ and external rituals. Paul’s prayer in Galatians 4:19Galatians 4:19
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19 My little children, of whom I am again in travail until Christ is formed in you—

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still applies: “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.”
Don’t let Jesus’ image fade from your life!