One of the most amazing privileges of being a Christian is experiencing God's work in and through our lives, our character and our hearts over time. 2 Corinthians 3: 17 - 18 says,
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we ... are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory ...." (vs 17 - 18)
When the gospel of Jesus Christ is embraced by faith, and as we learn to follow Christ daily, God's Holy Spirit transforms His people from the inside out, convicting and cleansing of sin and guilt, growing us in love, patience, and self control, and filling us with peace and joy. All this takes time.
Last week I was in Michigan for a funeral of a good friend's mother. I had spent a lot of time in Michigan between the ages of 20 and 26. I even worked there one summer during college. Going back after almost 15 years, now married, with 4 children, and as a pastor, it made me realize again how God changes us. What struck me most was not the natural progression of life stage change, but how much God has changed my character, my desires, and my heart since those days in my early 20's.
Some old friends reminded me how much more arrogant, judgmental, impulsive, insensitive and self absorbed I used to be. While I still have a long way to grow in these areas, I spent one morning's quiet time just praising God that He has not allowed me to stay stuck in myself. It has been primarily through daily reading the Bible, daily learning how to pray, great Christian friends, my awesome wife, and walking with Christ through times of challenge and heartbreak that God has brought this character and heart change. The fruit of God's work - new freedom, a new love for God and people, and renewed desire to follow Christ on His terms rather than my own - has been so worth it.
As we approach Lent, a gift the church gives us to reflect on Jesus, the gospel, and ourselves, perhaps you might take some time to consider how God has been and is working to bring the "glory of His likeness" more and more into your life. On Wednesday nights beginning February 20th.
Mike Donohue is going to be teaching an adult class on "Growing a Healthy Faith". What a great opportunity for all of us to grow more into the likeness of Christ.
Grateful that God Grows and Changes us,
About the ResBlog
Members of staff and Vestry will be posting on the ResBlog to help us think through who we are in light of the gospel so that we might “spur one another on to love and good deeds.”