Inner Desires – Transformation
I was born into an incredible family that is deeply routed in the Word of God. I was saved when I was little and got baptized a few years later to show my commitment. The middle of high school was tough for me. I was caught in a very popular battle between the popularity of this world and His world. I wanted so badly to be breathing life into people and saving them but something inside me still wanted to be the cool kid. I attended youth group every Sunday and was a leader in the youth group. The other kids looked up to me whether I liked it or not (I was the pastor’s son). In school, I was an athlete and I believe I was well known through a big high school; even if I wasn’t, I thought I was most days.
My dad, a visionary / church planter, traveled frequently and my mom was constantly working; so in my teenage years, I didn’t have a super tight leash. One week my parents were out of state and I had the house all to my self. Of course, being the dumb, adventurous teen, I threw a house party… twice. The first one was a success as 50+ people came. The second one was going to be an even bigger party until my sister and her husband decided to swing by towards the beginning of it as 20+ people were already there. My heart sank as I saw their headlights. Their presence alone had already convicted me. They approached me and reminded me of how I was disrespecting my parents’ household and some other things as well.
One of my closest friends, who I was raised up with, chose to stick with me and was also convicted as a believer. For the sake of respect, his name will be Steve. Together, Steve and I stopped the party after my siblings had left to go back home. We told people the party could go on and we could hang out, but there would be no alcohol or weed involved. The people were respectful, yet the party dwindled down and people began leaving until it was just my very close friends.
Upon mass amounts of reflection, this was a turning point in Steve’s and my life. We realized that we could no longer live in both worlds. We had to choose one or the other. It was a black and white choice. There was and is no grey in the choice. We were made for more than that. We were made to be an example and reflect God’s goodness. To this day, Steve and I both thank God that we were convicted. Our minds were changed which then lead to a heart change in both of us where we took the best turn of our lives. Through this, we both learned…
If I claim that Jesus is my all in all, then my heart and mind must be transformed.
Now, I am not saying that I had it perfect since then, but that was a huge turning point for me in my life. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he informs us that a walk with God changes us. Paul also emphasizes this in the letter to the Ephesians as well. I want to specifically look at Colossians 3:1-17, where he gives us some vital areas in our lives that need to be changed as we walk with God. The first one is that…
Claiming to be walking in Jesus means we seek things above, dying to ourselves (1-4).
Paul states, “…keep seeking the things above,” and “…Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Notice that these two statements both begin with verbs. He instructs us that we need to be seeking and setting our mind on things above; verbs require action. As I stated before, my change of mind didn’t happen over night. It is a process where focus is a must and distractions are real. We are reminded in Psalm 23:4, that our focus needs to be on God as we are surrounded by darkness. Distractions are all around us like a lurking lion ready to pounce if our focus is lost. He is our shepherd leading us to comfort.
Paul then proceeds into stating that once we have committed to Jesus, that we have died to ourselves. This is the origin of the common terminology of, “I am second.” When we commit our lives to Jesus, He becomes our master and we are his slaves. We are slaves, yet free from the bondage of the prince of death. By dying to ourselves, we are promised a new life to be revealed along with Christ! This leads me to my next point…
Claiming to be walking in Jesus means our definition of “Need” is different as our motives became new (5-7).
Because we are now dead to flesh and alive in Christ, our motives and needs are now new. Paul says that we need to, “…consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality…” We no longer walk the same way as those living in their earthly body. We have different motives. People living in flesh focus on fame, fortune, and fornication. They count these selfish acts as success. Those set on things above are focused on selflessly, glorifying and exalting our Creator. Because of this, we are different and set apart, or holy. We now have to renew our mind and act differently. One of the ways we have to do this is with our tongue.
Claiming to be walking in Jesus means we have to take responsibility of our speech (8-9).
We use to focus our speech on building ourselves up either by boasting of ourselves or maliciously putting down others with words to make ourselves look bigger… maybe even both. The new self that we need to put on includes us speaking more wisely and most importantly, more selflessly (See James 3 for more on the tongue). See, our tongue is incredibly powerful. It is so powerful that it affects the lives of people. How we choose to view people plays into how we speak to people.
Claiming to be walking in Jesus means our perspective of people is different (10-17).
Saying all this, this implies that people should be perceived as one of two things: saved; or unsaved. Paul says this by claiming that the distinction between Jews and Gentiles no longer exists. The only distinction of importance is whether one is in Christ or not. He then goes into instructing how those who are of Christ should now act with their new self. He strongly emphasizes the idea of unity in this section of scripture and what that looks like. The reason why unity is indispensable is because without putting on the love that bonds us together, and letting the peace of Christ rule with us, and without being thankful, we fail to reflect God’s image. We learn in Genesis 1 and 2 that God wants to dwell with us. He doesn’t start His story with the sin of man that is in Genesis 3… He begins with creating a place for us to dwell with Him. He called us friend before sinner. It is imperative that we put on love, be peaceful with one another, and be thankful so that others can see God’s Truth through the unity of the church.
The greatest proof of Truth is the transformation of lives of Christians (Ravi Zacharias).
If you are still caught up living in your old ways, you aren’t showing this proof. Being transformed, putting on the new self, consists of changing the way you act and feel in the heart. Renew your mind and be an example to those watching… which, just in case you didn’t know, you, as a believer of Christ, do have people watching. Because people are watching, we constantly have to be living out our faith. Once we do this properly, people will question us and we need to be prepared.
Church… we need to be comfortable and ready to share 2 stories: Our own story of transformation; and His story of reconciliation! Loving Jesus is to love people; they are essentially the same.
If I claim that Jesus is my all in all, then I care about living according to His Word and caring about the Word means I care about the lives of People.