I truly don’t know if the Lord has one idea for me to write on this week. Usually He affirms an idea or gives me a clear picture and lots to think about, wrestle through and reflect on and this morning I seem bogged down by the idea. Duty is running through my head more than joy in sharing. This should not be so. However, I do love the challenge of writing, especially a reflection every week. It’s an opportunity for me to open my eyes to what the Lord is doing and showing me throughout my days. With this pathetic introduction I will simply share with you my reflection on what the Lord has been showing me.
While I’m in the Word daily, praying daily (and throughout the day), singing His praise, and meditating on occasion, I am still thirsty for God. I’m not sure if my soul is not connecting whole-heartedly or if I am distracted. Regardless of the reason I am not pleased and neither is my Lord. I want to connect; I need to connect in order to become more like Him.
I want to be more like Jesus. He was a guy who listened to others, served them, stumped people with His wisdom and was gentle when teaching some and to the point when teaching others. He knew His audience, lived with one purpose and didn’t let other people or things distract Him from being who He was. I want to be like Jesus because He was a selfless man. Any interruption He did have He addressed whether it be healing a bleeding woman, young girl, raising the dead, feeding hungry people, or fishing. I also want to love like Jesus. He loved so deeply He took on my sin, my unholiness, my imperfections and rebellion from God so I could be found spotless before the Lord and fellowship with Him. That’s a giving God. That’s a giving Man. Who wouldn’t want to be like this guy?
So, I am thirsty to be like Jesus and am finding my time with Him not enough to transform me. I am not submitting myself to His presence and Lordship to the point where I die to self and allow Him to live through me. Weird concept, I know, but think of what kind of life we would lead if we actually lived and loved as Jesus did. So, in order to gain insight into transformation like this once again I turn to the Bible.
Romans 12:2, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (NLT)
I need to let God change the way I think. I need a paradigm shift. Two things to say about this. First of all, God can change anyone but He is a loving God who allows us the freedom to do and say as we please. As Paul puts it, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” (I Corinthians 6:12) God won’t force you to submit, change yourself, become vulnerable before Him or as Scripture says “take up your cross”. You must be willing to give yourself over to God. He loves you, this will not be a bad decision, but it is a decision to release control of your life. As one of my favorite pastors says, “He calls the shots”. Second thing to note about the Romans passage is that transformation begins by the changing, or renewing, of your mind.
I don’t know where your mind wanders or dwells, but I’m guessing it’s not always in a place where it lines up with God and His mind and heart. How do I experience this necessary paradigm shift for true transformation? Submission to God first and foremost and secondly I must “set my mind on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:2) Thinking differently is a discipline. Again, submitting to God is first, but we can’t say, “Okay God, You can call the shots therefore I will always think differently than the world now.” This is simply not true. Think of all the influences around you pulling you into the belief system of the world around us! We are professionals at copying the behavior and customs of the world. The only way to push back is to fill our minds with godly truths at least as much as we take in the worlds “truths” and even this will not be enough. How can we do such a thing? I turn to Scripture.
“Take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ Jesus.” –II Corinthians 10:5
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” –Philippians 4:8
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” –Psalm 1:1-2 (Meditating on the “law of the Lord” is another phrase for the Bible. We must be reading, studying and thinking about the Bible.)
When my mind gets pulled away from whatever is true, honorable, etc. I must submit to God’s power and pull it back under His authority and dwell on these kinds of Scriptures. I must remind myself if I have any hope of transformation it is only if I submit to God and His ways. In order to know what those ways are we have the Word, God’s Word, the Bible to turn to. If I hope for transformation to be more like Jesus, but don’t read the Word, how do I know if I am looking more like Him? The only way to know the goal is to become familiar with it. Read the Word. Learn about Jesus. Study His life. The more you know, the more you will love. The more you love, the more willingly you will submit. The more you submit the more your mind will shift. The more your mind shifts the more you will be transformed into His likeness. This is not a hope; this is a promise. (II Corinthians 3:18)
Let us be thirsty to be more like Jesus. By His grace, I pray we submit to Him and allow Him to change the way we think. May we understand why it is necessary and beneficial to be transformed into His likeness. And may we embrace this promise, waiting expectantly as we continue to try and reflect Him.