All posts in Attitude

TRANSFORMED


Not long ago as a result of her transformation, Caitlyn Jenner was thrust into the spotlight and according to the sports network ESPN, instantaneously became one of the great “heroes” of our time for coming out as a woman in a man’s body.

Jenner claims to have been confused about his/her gender identity since earliest youth but finally mustered the courage to make an outward change more accurately reflecting the true inner self clothed in the wrong body.

My purpose is not to degrade Jenner or to even enter into judgment about the gender decisions made, but to use this situation as an illustration of something deeper and far more widespread than we imagine.  Who are you – really?

Principally we are a living soul housed in a physical body. We read in the first book of the Bible that “God created us as a living soul.” God freely offers all of us the opportunity to be truly TRANSFORMED in even a more dramatic fashion than anything Jenner has embraced or even considered. This truth is vitally relevant to all of us and can forever change you into someone entirely new.

It is generally acknowledged that we are more than mere animals at the top of the food chain. In fact, Christian Scripture declares that we are the height of God’s creation and embody His image in that we are Body, Soul and Spirit – 3 parts representing the triune God.

“God made man and breathed into him and he became a living soul.” ~ Genesis 2:7

When man fell from his original perfect state by asserting his independence from God, his soul was condemned and he was utterly lost.  All of humankind was banned from God’s presence and heaven forever.  Even worse, we are unable to remedy this calamity on our own; just as a sick person cannot heal themselves without outside intervention. We now need an external source of help to bring us back to God and our original relationship with Him. We cannot fix ourself by trying harder. We need a Savior to come to our aid.

Jenner is trying to do what all of us try to do… to fill the emptiness inside by making external changes, but this is a futile quest.  We must be made over from the inside out, not the outside in.  We need a spiritual adjustment.  We must be transformed… from what we are … to what we were meant to be and can become again. We must be made over into something new and only God has the power to do that.

Do you have a desire you cannot control or maybe you have a habit that dominates your life, or an insecurity that makes you react too strongly? We all have something we want to change about ourself. The question we must ask is; “How can I make that change?”

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.  The old things are passed away and now everything has become new.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Jesus was God incarnate (God in a human body). It was God’s plan to become a man, enter human history, show us what we were intended to be like, sacrifice His perfect life as a payment for our imperfect lives and then defeat death on our behalf so that whoever put their trust in Him could be transformed into something new – both inwardly and outwardly. Through Jesus Christ alone, we can be made new and be restored to our intended relationship with our Heavenly Father. Are you willing to let Him transform you?

“Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life.  No man comes to the father except through me.” ~ John 14:6

How can we be transformed? It’s very simple: We must acknowledge our need, tell God we are sorry for our independence and ask Him to save us from the certain eternal separation that awaits all those who go their own way apart from Him.

Two things happen when we are transformed

  1. Our standing before God is transformed. We get a new beginning and fresh start.  It’s a free ‘do-over’ from God: A gift which Jesus paid for and gives to us freely just for asking. When we receive Christ as our savior, God now sees the perfection of Jesus instead of our rebellion and independence. As followers of Christ, we literally ‘put on” Jesus like a covering over our sin and it is hidden forever!
  2. Our current condition and state of being are transformed. God changes our:  will (we will want new things); intellect (we will think in new ways); emotion (we will respond differently than before)

In summary, God makes us over.  We still live in an imperfect and fallen world, but we ourselves and our future are being and will be forever changed.

“I beg you brothers that you present your body to Christ as a living sacrifice – holy and acceptable to God. And do not be conformed to this world (don’t let it press you into its mold),  but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may demonstrate what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.” ~ Romans 12:1-2

RUN THE RACE GOD HAS SET BEFORE YOU!

“But after God’s Spirit comes upon you, you shall receive power and you will be my witnesses wherever you go.” ~ Acts 1:8

T – take your problems to God.  He loves you!

R – remember that you are unable to solve your issues without external help from God.

A – ask Jesus to be your Savior. Confess your sin and turn your back on it. That is why Christ suffered and died on

the cross.

N – never despair. When you are feeling defeated – go to God for strength and encouragement.

S – sin no more.  Tell God that you are determined to follow his ways and allow Him to set you free.

F – forget your failures in the past.  Jesus gives you a new start.

O – offer encouragement to others.  No matter how bad our situation may be, there is always someone who is even

more in need of help than we are.

R – rejoice in your deliverance.  Thank God for coming to your aid.

M – memorize a few Bible verses that will keep you on track. Claim God’s promises as true in your life no matter how

things may appear on the surface.

E – expect a miraculous change to take place. Miracles are God’s specialty.

D – demonstrate your transformation by your obedience to God and by following Him daily.

Wouldn’t you rather be what GOD can change you into? Trust Him to transform you.  All you need to do is ask.

“Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” ~ Romans 10:13. Acts 2:21, Joel 2:32 

PRAY A PRAYER LIKE THIS FROM YOUR LIPS TO GOD’S EARS

God in Heaven, I confess my sin and need for a Savior.  I realize that only You can truly transform me and make me over into what You want me to be.  Please come into my heart right now and make me a new person.  I believe You will change me inside and out.  I ask You to make me over in the powerful name of Jesus Christ Your Son.

Cast Aside

A recent issue of National Geographic Magazine disclosed that Michelangelo’s great work, entitled David, the 17 foot tall masterpiece carved out of a single block of marble, was fashioned out of material that other artists had discarded because they deemed it unfit to work with. Today this work resounds in history as one of the most outstanding artistic creations ever fashioned by man. This reminds me of what the Psalmist prophesied concerning Jesus.

“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” ~ Psalm 118:22-23

This story is replete with irony in that King David, who was the subject matter of Michelangelo’s creation, was also a flawed man.  He was a poor father, an adulterer and even a murderer but God had a plan that superseded David’s shortcomings.  What enabled the fulfillment of this master plan despite David’s weaknesses? The answer is revealed in the New Testament book of Acts (13:22) where we read that David sought with all of his heart to follow God.  He failed often but his failures were not fatal.

God had a plan for His beloved Son Jesus as well, which was established in eternity past and no one could negate it; not even all the demons of Hell. The crucifixion of Christ made it seem to some that Jesus had not succeeded in His mission. But just the opposite was true.  For had not Christ suffered and died on our behalf, there would never have been the redemption of humanity. What may look like failure to men often looks very different from God’s vantage point.

In the same way God has a plan for you and me. What He has in His heart to perform will come about no matter how unlikely it may seem to us. You have tremendous potential and purpose that is uniquely designed for your life. Knowing God and fellowshipping with Him will allow you to participate in God’s plan to the fullest extent possible so that not only does His plan come about, but it will be beneficial to the greatest possible extent. Don’t run from God’s will or merely accept it; embrace it with all your heart!

God never makes a mistake and even our greatest failures have been accounted for in His master plan. Take heart. You will never be cast aside if you belong to God.  Dedicate yourself to serving Him as did both King David and Jesus – his Greater Son.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.”

~ Psalm 37:23-24 (KJV)

The Most Important Question

If I were to give you the opportunity to ask one question and only one question of God, what would it be?  I’m not talking about making a prayer request but an honest inquiry about something you do not know…

The most important question that I can think of is, “How should I be spending my time?” Or another way of phrasing it would be, “Am I doing that which is most important and has eternal significance?”  I try to begin and end every day by thinking on this subject. There are so many things that crop up in each of our lives to distract us from what is truly important. Of course we have obligations and work to perform, but even choices we make in regard to these subjects could be better directed by asking ourselves if this is truly important or if it is just routine and habit?

What were God’s priorities for His Son while He walked the face of the earth? He had a particular mission that was different than ours (the redemption of humanity and payment for our sin so that we could be right with His Father), but inherent in His unique mission was His interest in other people. He healed the sick, preached the Good News and most importantly loved others. How are you doing in those areas? Is your life all about you or is it focused on the needs of others?

There’s a woman who runs the cash register at a store where I meet with someone on a regular basis and her name is Joy. She didn’t know it, but her name reminded me of a song I learned as a young boy. It went like this: “Jesus and Others and You… what a wonderful way to spell JOY!”

How are you doing at putting Jesus and Others ahead of Yourself? That is the true path to doing what really matters. That is how you can do what is eternally significant. That is the most important question.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Luke 10:27

Attitude Determines Altitude

The Way Up Is Down …

You have heard that attitude is everything … right?  Well it’s true!   Let me tell you why that is so.  Psychologists tell us that it is not actual reality but how we perceive reality that is the most important factor.

In our model Jesus, we can see this perfect example.

Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV)

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What words come to mind as you meditate on this passage?  Humility…  surrender… exaltation… those are some which come to mind for me.  Let me answer my question with another question:  How was it possible for Christ (the God-man) to be so yielded to God that he could be perfectly aligned with his Father’s will?  Set aside, if you can, the fact that he himself was God and concentrate on the fact that he was also fully man.  What can you and I learn from His example?  Can we get to a place in our personal life where we are fully directed by the will of God?  And if we can arrive at this place, how can we achieve this depth of Christian life? Do we even want to follow Christ that closely?

Paul said that he wanted this kind of walk with Jehovah God.

Philippians 3:10-12 (KJV)

1That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Let us join Paul in making this our goal and pursuit.  God is willing if we are. Do you believe that?  What stands in our way?  If we begin with the attitude of Christ and believe that no price is too high, we are well on our way to the heights which only heaven can offer.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” ~ Philippians 4:13

Where would you like to start in your own life? Let’s begin by listing the top 3 or 4 areas of our life where we tend to be least spiritually submissive to God. What kind of strategy can we put into place to move us in the right direction? Do you have an accountability structure? Can you memorize Scripture that references your battles? What other ideas can we build into our life to assist in this pursuit? Give this discussion serious consideration because your attitude will determine your altitude.