I don’t know about you, but for me (and for many earnest believers) the contradiction between what we know we are called to be in Christ and what we are at present can be a source of great frustration. We grow weary of the struggle of longing for and not seeing change happening quickly. Yet in the midst of this struggle there are two lies we must not fall for.
The first is the lie that tells us to get real and accept that we will never change, that transformation is not possible. Some years ago my heart broke when I read of a popular Christian musician with an anointed ministry who said he had to get real and face the fact that he was a homosexual. He shared how he had struggled for many years to change. He was tired of the struggle and had accepted what he is instead of fighting it.
We need to understand that what we are at present is not all we are called to be. Sin has distorted us. So in our sincere effort to be real we must not embrace our flesh as our true nature. That would be like a man sick with swine flu refusing to be treated because that’s how he is now. We must not embrace our sickness as our final destination. We were meant for a higher plane. We are meant to become like Christ in every area of our lives.
Let us not grow weary or throw in the towel and settle for less. Instead let us, by faith, daily gaze on God and appropriate his righteousness, and even though we may not notice it, we are being changed.
The other lie makes us believe we can get to a state (while still here on this earth) where we can never sin again. This is what some call the state of sinless perfection. Galatians 5:17 lays this lie to rest;
‘For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.’ (New International Version)
This is what we call ‘the struggle’. The disciple of Christ is never promised that he will mature to a state where there will never be the possibility of sinning. But we are taught that through the grace of God we can live victoriously over sin by rejecting sinful nature daily:
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” ~ Titus 2:11-12 (New International Version)
On this side of eternity, we will not come to a state of perfection where there is no longer a possibility of sinning. But we can grow into perfection – growing into Christ in every way, if we choose to keep in step with the Spirit by whom we live. (Gal 5: 25). It’s a choice we could not make before we were made free, but one we can make now because we are free. And this is the path to greater freedom. This is the path to rest. For Christ-likeness is that for which we were made. It is for this that our whole being cries out, and nothing else will satisfy our soul. Hallelujah!
The point I am trying to make is that we are in transit – transformation is a journey. We are not who we are at present. We are who God says we are. We must let God’s Word define our experience and not let our experience define our interpretation of God’s Word.
In conclusion let me share a practice that has facilitated this journey of transformation for me. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 (ASV), Paul says;
‘But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit’.
Paul is saying that as we behold (look at) God’s glory we are changed. As a man receives a revelation of God’s glory a transformation happens in him. He is being changed into the very glory he is beholding (or seeing). The application of this is that when we get into the discipline of looking into God’s Word (the Bible) and getting a revelation of God from it, it does more than give us knowledge, it facilitates change in us. A revelation of God does something to a man. It is not just enlightenment that he gets; he gets a deposit of the very thing that is revealed to him. Revelation rubs something off on us. So I encourage you to get into the discipline of spending time in God’s Word and asking him each time to reveal Himself to you.