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I confess that I am one of those people that do not take things readily at face value. You can call me cynical or skeptical, but it takes a lot of cold hard facts and a good logical argument for me to believe. This has been a weakness in my character.
This is why, when it comes to the topic of transformation, I struggle to comprehend the full process of it. I don’t have to look very far to see my own shortcomings when it comes to life change. Often I feel this tension in my heart. John Newton said it well when he wrote, “I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be. But still, I am not what I used to be. And by the grace of God, I am what I am.”
While I understand theologically that genuine transformation is a work that only God can do, I have wrestled a lot with the human responsibility of it.
Recently, I have been thinking a lot about genuine change and transformation.
In the past, I have teetered on the extremes of God’s Sovereignty and human responsibility. Many times I have been either frustrated with God’s Sovereignty and the slowness of genuine change or fatigued by all the “trying.”
The more I think about this, the more I realize that God places various emotions in our lives (His Sovereignty) so that we can take steps to experience genuine transformation (our responsibility).
There are several emotions that will cause us to make a decision toward transformation. Sometimes we will just experience one of these emotions or we can experience a combination of them:
2) DREAD. Fear is a powerful emotion. It sometimes causes people to do crazy things and take drastic measures. When we begin to see how our behavior or lifestyle is going to eventually kill us – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually – we become more open to change. This is when we are willing to pay whatever the price is required for genuine transformation.
3) DESPERATION. When we get desperate, we tend to look outside of ourselves. We come to the resolve that we are not smart enough or strong enough to handle the situation on our own. We get humbled. We begin to open our hearts to other possibilities and avenues for change. These are the times when we usually cry out to God for help.
4) DISAPPOINTMENT. Sometimes we need to experience heartaches in order for us to see the false sense security we had, as we placed our trust in temporary things. Disappointments bring us back to reality – the reality of a fallen and broken world. Disappointments become the fuel for better and wiser choices in the future.
5) DISSATISFACTION. Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician, philosopher and physicist who lived in the 17th century said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” When we come to the realization that we have been filling our hearts with things of this world rather than God, we begin to desire to seek true and genuine transformation.
When we experience these emotions, we begin to say to ourselves, “I’ve had it;” “I don’t want to live like this anymore;” and “enough is enough.” It becomes a powerful moment of realization for that person. It is like the “eureka” or “ah-ha” moment.
Then, there is a strong resolve that comes over that person. It is as if something clicks for them.
This is when a fire starts to burn inside of them. A desire for transformation starts to build. Then, a decision is made.
Maybe some of the emotions that you are feeling right now will become the fuel for transformation. Don’t resist God. He is sovereignly placing those things in your life so that you will turn to Him. Now, we have a responsibility to humble ourselves and surrender to Him.