Standing in the garage doesn’t make you a car. Getting inside the oven doesn’t make you a biscuit. And going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. (Thank you, Joyce Meyer.)
How do you know if you’re really a Christian or not? What leaks out of you when you’re squeezed?
Regardless of what’s on the outside, you know it’s toothpaste by what comes out of the tube when it’s squeezed. And that’s a pretty good gauge of who is a true Christian as well.
But how do you get there? How do you become a car, a biscuit, a bit of toothpaste – or a Christian?
We all start out as broken, sinful people. We all need healing, forgiveness, and transformation. Simply white-washing our outsides may make us look better, but it doesn’t change the heart. Jesus had strong things to say about those who simply paid attention to outward behavior: “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.” (Matt. 8:28)
I really don’t want to be full of stuff that’s dead and dirty. Do you agree?
So how do you go about getting clean and alive inside? How do you let God change you? You cannot clean up yourself. But you do have a part to play. “Work out your own salvation, for God is working in you.” (Phil 2:12,13)
Here’s YOUR part in transformation process:
- Give God permission. God asks for your allegiance and your love. That can’t be forced. You must begin by choosing who you will serve. (Joshua 24:15) Making a voluntary choice to be on God’s side gives Him permission to work on your heart.
- Stop throwing dirt in the bucket. Your heart is not unlike a bucket of dirty water. You cannot create clean water out of dirty: that’s God’s job. But you can stop adding to the dirt! Stop filling your mind with media, activities, or anything else that is characterized by violence, lust, greed, or other ungodly things. That may even involve staying away from certain people.
- Stay under the clean water spout. The way to clean a bucket of dirty water is to flush it out with clean water. Keep filling your mind with what is good and wholesome. (Phil. 4:8) That means your media choices, your friends, and more. And this is the most important way in which God’s Word changes you. Reading the Bible for spiritual food cleanses your heart. (Psalm 119:9)
- Stick around. God’s in this with you for the long haul. He’s not nearly as interested in what you did yesterday, or even today, as where you will be tomorrow, and for eternity. You become a new creation when you give God permission to change your heart, but the entire transformation process takes time. Don’t give up on yourself: God won’t.
You become just like what you spend the most time looking at. Spend time in God’s presence, looking at Him, and that’s exactly Who you will become like.
“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
Your Turn: How is your transformation process coming along? Have you noticed yourself becoming more like Jesus in any way? Leave a comment below.
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