God at Work, Personal Growth

Change Happens From Within

row boat_public domain_cropped

I believe at the beginning of each year, it’s natural to have the desire to let go of or to change what didn’t work for us in the previous year. Our desire to let go of the old things that didn’t work becomes an attitude of “out with the old and in with the new.”

However, the desire to change, without putting on a new attitude about our life or life circumstances is doomed to fail. We find ourselves back in the same old boat using only a single oar, then wonder why we are circling instead of making progress. We fail to utilize all the tools that are available to us and instead plunge ahead using the same limited thinking and expect change to magically happen overnight.

I keep running up against the scripture in Romans 12:1-2 which tells me the way transformation takes place.

The Passion Translation (https://www.thepassiontranslation.com/) describes it in the following way:  “Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes.”

How many times have we bargained with God and wanted Him to move us quickly into the next phase of whatever we want to do? Usually when we are struggling or looking for a short cut it’s because we don’t want to take the actions required to get to the next step. We aren’t thinking correctly about the process that gives us the insight and practical application of His wisdom that moves us forward and past the old and into the new.

When we begin to renew our minds to God’s truth it sets us free. We no longer want to stay where we are, nor are we looking for shortcuts. We simply allow the word of God to work in us: to shape our thoughts, to guide our words, to determine our works, to lead us into the life that He has for us. I see change as something fluid and intermittent but when I think of transformation, I see substance and light and continuity, with tangible markers along the way. Change can be based on a whim, but transformation has purpose and adds purpose to a life.

One night on the Oregon Coast, I was sitting on the balcony of my hotel room in awe of the changing textures and colors in the sky, as it touched the horizon of the ocean. While I was thinking about the different pictures I was seeing, I was reminded of a camera. When we are taking pictures of someone or something with a camera, especially with our ever-present smart phones, and we press and hold down the button it takes pictures in progression. My brother showed me that and I was fascinated because it gave me the ability to observe small, incremental changes from frame to frame or picture to picture that weren’t visible to me with the naked eye.

We may not see each step of our own transformation as it takes place, but we can feel when it shifts on the inside. When we look at the first picture and the last picture the change is obvious. But as we look at the photos, the individual changes are not as obvious even though we know by looking at the last photo the change has taken place externally.

When we focus on the result of the transformation itself, we lose sight of the fact that the final product is a progression of actions, expressions, thoughts, pictures, words, and truth. Every influence contributes to the final product or the masterpiece if you will. We must remember that God is constantly shaping us, molding our thoughts and transforming the way we see ourselves and Him. He is exposing lies we have believed and helps us to exchange them with His truth.

We need to be patient this year and trust that God is working and is faithful to complete the work He has begun in each of us. The transformation we desire is already inside of us. It’s waiting for us to see ourselves, and God, and our lives through the light of His truth. The only thing missing is our awareness that in Christ we are already changed. The reality is that transformation happens from within then reflects in our life externally.

Father I pray that You would reveal to every person reading this post that the transformation we are all seeking is already in our hearts because of Jesus and our faith in Him. Father I pray that as we gain understanding of the truth that we are already changed in Christ, You would increase our awareness of all that He has done and has become for us as believers. Open the eyes of our understanding and flood our hearts with the light of revelation of who we are in Him.

4 thoughts on “Change Happens From Within”

  1. I love many things in this post. For one, I can relate to sitting in the boat, with one oar, and going in circles. Or, at least feeling like I’m going in circles. But, your point about those burst photos and the ability to see the micro-changes in the image. I know I lose sight of the small changes and it’s not until some deep reflection time that I’m able to see the BIG change that happened. “focus on the result of the transformation itself, we lose sight of the fact that the final product is a progression of actions, expressions, thoughts, pictures, words, and truth”, The progression….love it, and thank you for the reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

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