Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Great Divide of AND SO - Part 3

Friday, February 14, 2014
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son….           Romans 8:28 – 29a (NLT)
Let’s face it – our resistance to this world’s customs and behaviors can only “hold-out” just so long.  The temptations of our culture are relentless:  television, social media, peer pressure, and materialism.
But the power to resist was never intended to be just what you can muster-up; there is power to live that flows from Jesus Christ to the believer who trusts Him enough to give up being lord over his own life, and let God have His way.
In the church we call it transformation.  Paul said that God can transform you into a new person.  That person is the image of Christ; we are being conformed or changed – better, transformed into Christ’s image when we allow God free control over our lives. 
That is what Paul meant by encouraging us to live a life of sacrifice – to freely and constantly submit to whatever God wants to make of us.  That’s the metaphor of the cup we celebrate together – Christ’s life was poured-out in the name of the Father in heaven for us; we follow his example and pour-out our life for others – in His name.
This transformation begins and continues in the heart and renewal of your mind:
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.  And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.   2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)
Our hearts – that’s a place where others cannot see; only God knows what’s happening there.  But the results of that transformation (or the lack of it) will be seen
Metamorphosis is transformation; it is what happens in a cocoon.  Cradled in a nest the nature of a caterpillar begins to change.  Finally it breaks out, looking very little like it looked before.  What was once an ugly little squirming worm is transformed into the very essence of delightful beauty!  It was once conformed to the slinking image of a dust-eater; now it soars with color and majesty – some are even called Monarch!
In a human being follower of Jesus Christ our cocoon is grace.  Surrendering control of our lives to God’s grace allows God’s transforming power to change us.  We emerge with wings, to escape temptation and live a life that is pleasing and acceptable to God.  We can live a life of purpose and dignity, leaving the dust-eating worm-life behind. 
Christian non-conformists resist this World’s Culture and rest their whole being in Christ.
And So….for YOU, Today
Just like a caterpillar must crawl up on the branch of some tree and enter a cocoon to begin the transformation process, a Christian believer (insert YOUR name here) must attach himself to the “grace-branch” of Jesus’ cross. 
The Christian’s grace cocoon is vitally worked-out in a myriad of ways (discipleship, prayer, fellowship with other believers, worship, stewardship and helping others); it is a constant surrender to the presence of Christ, Who changes, transforms us, entirely. 
Today is Valentine’s Day.  It’s a day we naturally turn our thoughts to love and the most significant relationships in our lives.  What an awesome day to turn our hearts to the Author of grace, transformed, walking on the other side of the Great AND SO Divide !

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