Vol. 19 No. 23 | June 4, 2017
We are centuries removed from when John first penned these words. Yet, like many in his day, we continue to struggle with the idea of what we will be has not been made known. We cannot seem to fully trust that we shall be like him because we struggle with this idea of being transformed into His likeness (Romans 8:29). So we are constantly trying to invent new ways of transforming ourselves, by ourselves.
I want to first remind you of some of the self-transformation techniques we often attempt. I then want to offer a suggestion (or two or three) that might help us rest in the fact that the real work of transformation belongs to the very One whom we are trying to emulate.
When we try to manufacture our own transformation by reading and memorizing Scripture, we soon realize how futile it is. To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong, and a lot good, with reading and memorizing Scripture. But we seem to always take it to the extreme. We work hard to keep up with are Read-the-Bible-Through-In-A-Year plan, but when we get behind a day or a two… or a month, we beat ourselves up because we ‘failed’ at it again; Leviticus and Numbers always seem to do us in. t
So please, try to ease up on yourself a little.
In John 5:39-40 Jesus says:, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”
When we plunge into the Spiritual disciplines (prayer, mediation, silence, etc.) to prove our spirituality, we wear ourselves out and risk creating more stress and unrest than we had in the beginning. We seem to get hung-up on the word discipline. We reason, if it is a discipline, then it should be difficult. But remember, one of the disciplines is rest.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
The disciplines are designed to contribute to our peace and harmony with the Lord, not drain us of our energy and joy.
So let me offer a few alternatives…
Remember, Jesus came so that we might have a transformed life.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Remember, Jesus has shown us the way to live a transformed life.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
“You know the way to the place where I am going. Jesus, the Way to the Father.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
“If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:1-6)
Remember, Jesus is the one who gives us peace.
“All this I have spoken while still with you.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:25-27)
The good news is that we shall be like Him. The even better news is that He is the one who will be doing most of the hard work involved in making us like Him.
A Norvell Note © Copyright 2017 Tom Norvell All Rights Reserved.