Jesus accepts you just as He finds you. Always. But He's not satisfied with leaving you that way. Jesus did not only come to offer forgiveness. If a new life is not part of the deal, we're in no better shape than we were before Jesus came. Jesus wants your transformation!
Oh, thank God for forgiveness! "This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long!" Your past is forgiven. Regardless of how bad (or lazy, ineffective, addicted, perverted, weak, hopeless, destructive, miserable, broken and every other horrible thing you can think of) you were, your heavenly record is wiped clean. When you accept Christ's forgiveness, God looks at you as though you had never sinned. Jesus has dealt with your past!
But what if it stopped there? Perish the thought! Can you imagine having your past being wiped clean, and then the next day, next week, next month getting into trouble again? (You don't really have to imagine that, do you?) What if forgiveness was all there was? There's not a human being alive or in history who can suddenly live perfect from that day forward.
And yes, God continues to offer forgiveness. But how miserable if our only hope of change is white-knuckling our behavior, desperately trying to do right from then on. Can you think of anything more miserable than to be forgiven, but to have no hope beyond yourself of living any differently in the future?,
Thank heaven for transformation!
God's History of Working Transformation
The Bible is full of examples of God not being satisfied with someone's past, but changing their character and thereby their future.
The children of Israel had developed a slave mentality during 400 years of bondage. When Moses led them out of Egypt, it took God 40 years to get enough of that mentality out of them so they could enter the promised land.
When David prayed "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (Ps. 51:10), he was praying for transformation. He knew that without a change on the inside, he would eventually be no better on the outside.
Paul, who had gone through one of the most dramatic transformations of all, encouraged the believers, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2).
That's the very idea behind Jesus' statement, "The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10). Having that abundant life doesn't make any sense if you aren't transformed.
And now one of my favorite Scriptures of all. How does this transformation happen? "But we all, seeing the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, as in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18). We become changed by beholding Him, spending time in His presence. That changes us "from glory to glory."
My Transformation Story
If you've followed this blog for very long, you're seen me reference my years as a young woman, when I was seriously dysfunctional. The professionals I saw labeled me with various diagnoses, but nothing I tried was working. There were times I seriously questioned whether I would be able to survive the inner torment even just a few more minutes.
But that's all in my past now. Through a growing-up process of transformation God taught me some priceless lessons. I learned some skills, spiritual truths and spiritual warfare principles that allowed me to walk a journey of transformation to a life of true joy and fulfillment. And that joy has stayed with me for over 20 years. Not even the death of my husband two years ago could take me back into that pit.
My transformation was a true miracle from heaven. Without God's direct intervention, deliverance and healing, I wouldn't be alive today.
But my transformation story wouldn't have happened if I had simply waited for it. That change took active involvement on my part. And my story isn't for me alone. Those points of transformation that became so critical in my own journey can make the difference in your transformation story also.
Are You Hungry for Transformation?
Aren't you tired of doing the same thing and getting the same results? Perhaps you've gone from preacher to preacher, conference to conference, church service to church service. You've read book after book, watched Christian TV endlessly and prayed every way you can think of. And still nothing has changed.
Oh, you may regularly think, "This time it will be different!" Some particular preacher or book or event is going to be the answer. You keep running from one thing to the next hoping for a miracle. And sometimes you find one. But it's short-lived. And the next day or week or month you're back in the same mess you were. Why? You don't want to stay addicted, miserable, afraid, angry, do you? Whether it's pornography, bitterness, a failed marriage, fear and anxiety or anything else, Jesus wants your transformation.
I want to help you find the journey to your own lasting and forever transformation. God does the fixing; I can't. No human being can. He does the work that only He can. And without His miracle-working power in your life nothing will change.
But I also believe that there are touchpoints along the journey, things you can learn, steps you can take, that will make a world of difference in experiencing the lasting transformation God wants to work in your life. And you have a lot of choice about those points of transformation.
When Jesus met someone who was in trouble He often asked them, "What do you want Me to do for you?" Have you seriously contemplated that question? Much more than just "fix me," have you taken time to think through what kind of transformation you want God to work in you?
Do that. Then ask Him. And expect that your future can be different.
Over the next several weeks, I'm going to be writing about those points of transformation. I'll share specific lessons and truths that made the difference for me. And I know they will make a difference for you too.
I'd also like to hear from you. Where do you need God to work a transformation in your own life? Not just for a one-time blessing, but for a permanent change. Or if you have experienced a lasting transformation in your own life, what helped you get there?
Your Turn: Leave a comment about where you need transformation below. Or write to me. Let's explore this transformation journey together.
Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley is both a board-certified OB-GYN physician and an ordained doctor of ministry. As an author and speaker, she loves helping people discover the Fully Alive kind of life that Jesus came to bring us. Visit her website at drcarolministries.com
This article originally appeared at drcarolministries.com.
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