God is in the business of transforming lives – He saves us to transform us! He does this so that we might have an abundant life that is null and void of the destructive life that Satan tempts us to live. Think about it, if I don’t partake in the temptation, then I never have to worry about the destructive effects that temptation will have on my life. In other words, bad choices lead to bad consequences and God is in the business of giving us the wisdom to make good choices. That’s what transformation is about. Good choices lead to health, life, and happiness. Bad choices lead to pain, death, and misery. Yet too often humans choose death over life, and God wants to change that thinking – He wants to transform your life, but He can only do it if you cooperate with Him.
Well, last week we started a new sermon series based on the premise of humans being transformed into the beautiful image of Christ. Very much like the caterpillar in the cocoon – so much prettier when it comes through its metamorphosis process. And there are 8 transforming marks (signposts) that begin to show you and others that Christ has you in the process of metamorphosis. These marks show that you’re no longer a mere human, but a human in disguise – a human being made into the image of Christ.
The first mark of transformation that is to be evident in the life of a Jesus Christ believer is Surrender, for a surrendered life is a rendered life. Surrender is not a one and done experience. It is a daily “offering of self that is holy and pleasing to God.” It’s a life-long process.
Romans 12: 1 stated, “I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.”
So I ask you, have you surrendered your body to Christ – your heart, your mind, your soul, your tongue, your actions? You see the true test to a transformed life is a surrendered life – a life that is being rendered, that is being purified.
Now read Romans 12: 2. The second mark of transformation is: Renewal (a renewed mind is a subdued mind.)
Those who truly want to follow Jesus and be transformed into His image are those who permit their minds to be renewed. Their way of thinking must come into submission to what God desires. My justifications for my behaviors, my sins, begin where? They begin in my mind. Therefore, I must train my mind to think what God would think and begin to act accordingly.
But how will I know God’s way of thinking? It is not through some cosmic spiritual encounter on a mountaintop somewhere:) It is through surrendered dedication to reading God’s word, being in study, talking & listening to Him through prayer, and then applying what I learn.
Jesus tells me to love my enemies, to offer forgiveness to them, to pour kindness on them. If I don’t renew my mind to think on these principles, and then put them into action when an enemy comes against me, then I am not being transformed into the image of Christ.
Jesus tells me to not lust, fornicate, and commit adultery. If I don’t renew my mind to think on these commandments, and then battle against such thoughts when faced with the temptation, then I am not being transformed into the image of Christ.
Jesus tells me not to do my acts of kindness and my private acts of devotion to God in public so as to be seen. If I don’t renew my mind to think on these proper motives, and then check myself for why I am doing what I am doing, then I am not being transformed into the image of Christ.
And how do I know Jesus teaches these things? Because I have read them time and time again in His Word.
Too often today’s believer has put God on the back burner (on the warmer zone.) And they do this in 3 different ways: they’re Bibles gather dust, they’re too busy to pray, and they keep His money and talents for themselves. And when this is the case, it means the minds of these believers are not being renewed. They are simply acting upon what they believe to be true rather than searching for what God says to be true. And then when things don’t go their way, they move Him from the back burner to the front because they need something more from Him.
This is not surrender. This is not a renewing of the mind. This is selfish living. And those who live selfishly are not those offering their bodies and minds to God as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to Him.
The marks of a life being transformed will be evident to God and to others who know what God is looking for. A committed follower of Jesus will display the marks – not on paper, but in real life experiences. For the real life experiences are where the battles for your mind and soul truly begin, and the victories will show in how you respond.
God wants a surrendered life and a renewed mind. Today is the day to fully cooperate with Him – to quit telling Him what you’re going to do because you know better.