You believe that Jesus has something better for you. Your heart has felt the Holy Spirit put His finger on something and say, “This right here, it needs to change.” You know your anger, fear, lust, selfishness, bitterness, laziness, or greed is displeasing to God, and you want to do better. But it’s not happening. Why not? You would sure like to get your transformation back on track.
Experiencing lasting change is not only for a privileged exclusive club of super-Christians. It’s for you too. There’s no limitations on God’s part. So what’s the hold-up? Where are you and I to put our energies so that God can continue to accomplish His good work in our lives?
If your transformation seems stalled, here are 5 questions to ask that can help you see what next step you need to take.
Is Jesus your Lord as well as your Savior?
Being born again is wonderful. It’s real. It means you are forgiven and that your eternal destiny is secure. You have chosen Jesus as your Savior, and your spirit is alive in Him.
But Jesus is not only Savior; He is also Lord. The early Christians could be killed for saying, “Jesus is Lord!” Because of His death and resurrection Jesus is now “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:16) He’s Lord of the oceans and skies, the earth and the universe, the seen and the unseen, the small and the great. And as King He has dominion. What He says goes.
But is He the King of your life? God has given you executive authority over the throne of your heart, and you get to decide who sits there. It’s possible to accept Jesus as Savior but still remain on the throne of your own heart, or at least try to. Make sure you’ve made Him your King – that you’ve decided to believe what He says to you, and to do what He tells you to do. That’s what it means to have Jesus as your Lord.
Do you want to be well?
It seemed the most unexpected question. The man had been lying there for decades. But Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6)
The question is for you too. How much do you really want to be rid of smoking, or anger, or fear, or pornography, or telling less-than-truths, or being offended, or . . .? Your freedom will cost you something. You’ll no longer have an excuse to behave badly. You’ll have to exert energy in learning how to live in sexual integrity, or face possible embarrassment in telling the truth, or forego the satisfaction of telling someone off who irritated you.
If your “want to” is in question, pray about it. Ask Jesus to help you want to.
Are you committed to the process?
An athlete who wants to win can’t pick and choose which days he wants to show up for a workout. A student desiring a prestigious degree can’t decide to take the easy exams and not the hard ones. Your Coach, your Teacher, your Doctor has a program for your transformation. And if you want the results, you’re going to have to be committed to every part of the process.
This is where your “want to” is tested. The author of Hebrews wrote, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” (Hebrews 12:4) It’s not that you simply try hard not to do something wrong; it’s that you do whatever it takes, whatever He tells you to do.
Perhaps that means turning off the TV, getting some new friends, changing the media you consume, connecting with a Christian mentor, or anything else necessary. If you want change, it means you just do it.
Are you consecrating that part of your life to Jesus daily?
Even after making Jesus your Lord it’s easy to try to take over control again. Whatever part of your character needs to be changed, that’s the area to consecrate again to Jesus every day.
You may wish to find a Scripture to pray over your life daily as you consecrate that aspect to Jesus. If you struggle with pornography, try Job 31:1: “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” If fear seems to hold you, pray 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” If you struggle with speaking angry or destructive words, pray Colossians 4:6: “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
Every day, as a pattern, consecrate that area to the Lordship of Jesus – out loud. Make Him again the Lord of your emotions, your words, your sex life, your job, your relationship with your spouse, or whatever is troubled.
Are you spending time in God’s presence?
Two people who stay around each other long enough become increasingly alike. Between you and God, He doesn’t change, but you do. You can’t keep coming back into God’s presence and remain the same. “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
That’s perhaps the most important result of spending time in prayer, Bible reading, and around other believers. Worship music, small groups, and other Christian books and media can help also. These behaviors aren’t for the purpose of checking off some heavenly list; they’re for the purpose of changing you.
You don’t become changed at a distance; you need time in God’s presence often. Every day. Do it not because it’s a duty, but because that’s where change happens.
Jesus wants your transformation. Stick around with Him long enough and you can’t help but be changed.
Your Turn: Did any of these questions make you uncomfortable? Where do you feel God pulling on your heart to cooperate with Him in your transformation process? Leave a comment below.
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The Transformation Journey of Freedom from Fear
If the transformation you need is freedom from fear, you’ll want to listen to this two-part podcast episode. This is a conversation I had with Pastor Joe Champion of Celebration Church, Austin, TX, on stage in front of 3000 women. I talk about my own journey to freedom, and some practical steps whereby you can experience the same.