Living on Purpose: Life is an ongoing transformation process

Published 10:46 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

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By Billy Holland


I was at my daughter’s home a few years ago doing some painting, and yes, these are things that retired fathers are happy to do. She was in another room organizing a closet while listening to music, the Michael Jackson song “The Man in the Mirror.” I listened intently. Certain songs occasionally stick in our heads, and I sensed the Lord speaking to me about this profound message.

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We all have mirrors in our homes, which are generally used to make sure our hair and clothes look presentable or if we have barbecue sauce on our face. However, there is also a more profound thought about reflecting when we consider what type of person we are on the inside. Spiritual transformation comes when we are convicted to examine our conscience, which is what God has been trying to communicate to us since the beginning. We are born with a default spirit that must change.

The song’s chorus says, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways.” God demands us to change, but a critical component within this process is that we must first see our need to yield our will to Him. Until the desire to change becomes more potent than our desire to remain the same, satisfaction with our default existence will continue.

Each week I encounter people in different stages of their journey, and part of my mission as a minister and counselor is to help and encourage them however the Lord leads. One of the strongest obstacles when it comes to letting go of what we want and embracing what God wants is a fierce passion for protecting our position as the master of our destiny. Individuals might listen to motivational messages to improve their lifestyles, but many modern churches fail to explain God’s demand for sanctification. For Christ to be our Lord, our carnal nature must die.

Most people are familiar with the word covenant and realize it is a binding agreement between two parties. God made His blood covenant promise when He sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay for our sins. However, accepting this offer of forgiveness is only part of the idea of salvation. It is God’s side of the contract. Since Jesus gave Himself for us, our promise within this covenant is to give ourselves to Him. Without completely transforming our spirit and mind, we are playing religious games.

Colossians 2:20 talks about being crucified with Christ, yet abiding in Him and allowing Him to control our new life. In chapter 3 and verse 3, God declares to those who are born again, “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” Romans 6:11 says, “Likewise In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” Many will say I raised my hand when asked who wants to go to heaven, but it was not explained that I am to be possessed by Him. Grace is an opportunity to love and serve God, but was never intended to be a license to live however we want.

It seems the new comfortable way of celebrating salvation is being relieved that God rescued us from eternal death while ignoring the need to examine our soul to see if He is pleased with our dedication and responsibility to this covenant. A fundamental difference between many people and the story of the rich young ruler is that he genuinely believed what Jesus said about the conditions of being a child of God. He walked away, depressed because surrendering his will was just too painful. Today, many do not believe God’s warnings and walk away content to follow their opinions and philosophies.

God loves us and invites us to love Him, but He has no intention of allowing us to remain the same. The last few verses in Matthew chapter 16 remind us about taking up our cross, symbolizing a torturous death. Again, this is about sacrificing our depraved nature so that Christ can be our Master. “You mean believing there is a God is not enough to be saved?” No. “The demons also believe and tremble” James 2:19.

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