Reflections – My Life-Long Fixer Upper

Day Five

One thing I find most fascinating about watching home renovation shows is seeing the complete transformation of a house from start to finish.

At first glance, the rundown, outdated appearance seems hopeless. It’s hard to imagine any hidden potential beneath the worn, neglected surface.

But then, miraculously over the course of just thirty minutes, a beautiful transformation occurs. The finished product is stunning and it’s hard to believe the beauty that lies hidden within the walls.

God desires to do a similar work of transformation in our lives. He’s committed to a life-long renovation project to make us look more and more like his Son, Jesus. It’s not something we can do for ourselves, nor does it happen overnight. We are God’s life-long, never-ending fixer-upper. And it’s a project He delights in doing!

Check out how Paul describes this work to the church in Corinth,

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same

 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.2 Corinthians 3:17-18 ESV

Freedom is found in Jesus! God loves you so much He provided a way for you to be truly free – free from the hurts and habits of our past, free from the guilt of previous mistakes and free from the shame luring us to us to hide and withdraw.

When we place our trust in Jesus, the Spirit of God begins a work of inward transformation. It’s not, try harder, work harder, do more, learn more; it’s a freedom we receive from the Spirit of God. What great news!

This verse describes a transformation occurring as we “behold the glory of the Lord”. When my children were born and the doctor placed them in my arms for the very first time, I couldn’t stop looking at them.

I beheld them.

They captivated my attention and captured my affection. I fixed my eyes on them to observe all of their little features and mannerisms. I didn’t casually glance at them; I continuously gazed upon them. In a moment, my life, my attention, my priorities forever changed once I beheld them.

When God captures our heart, our passion, desires and focus should change as well. There are adjustments we make to our life because our heart is in a different place with different priorities driving us. We want to be with him and we want to be like him. As we behold his glory, his Spirit works in us and changes us.

The word transformed, in the Greek, is metamorphóo, meaning to transfigure or to change one’s form.Perhaps you’re familiar with this word as it’s the process caterpillars go through when they transform into butterflies. When the caterpillar surrounds itself with a cocoon and later emerges as a beautiful butterfly no resemblance of the caterpillar remains—it is a complete transformation.

God is at work to completely transform you as well, and you won’t look or act the same when He is finished. Christ wants his character and likeness to be expressed in your whole being.

Sin has muddied the waters and clouded the mirror by which we can perfectly reflect God’s image. The voices of accusation and lies deafen the still, quiet voice of God’s spirit affirming us and shaping us. But by his abundant grace and forgiveness, as we allow him to unclutter our souls and shine the truth of his word into our hearts, He changes and transforms us to be more like him.

God loves you too much to leave you the same. He knows that a little pain, a little inconvenience, a little discomfort in time will produce a better you—one that is more like him.

I figure as long as I’m heading in the right direction, every day I’m one tiny step closer to being the woman God created me to be. While I realize I still have a long way to go in my journey to be like Jesus, I’m thankful I’m not where I used to be!

My friend, you can live with the confidence God loves you, security that your relationship with him doesn’t change, and hope that his transforming power can set you free.

Just take a tiny step towards him – everyday.

Stormie Omartian wrote that it is “when you look into the mirror and see the excellence of Jesus reflected back, that’s when you will have a sense of your true worth. The actual transformation takes place every time you worship the Lord for his perfection.”2

Think about it…

  • What area of your life do you desire for God to transform, but feel hopeless in seeing it become a reality?
  • How have you seen how beholding the Lord can over time transform your life?

 

 

1 Spiros Zodhaites, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament(Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 1992) p. 968.

2 Stormie Omartian, Lord, I Want to Be Whole(Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000) p. 78.

Advertisements

Reflections – Lose the Filter

Day Four

Every year when I was growing up, we’d go to the Puyallup Fair. I looked forward to it all year – early release from school, the yummy fair food, the sketchy rides…all of it!

One of my annual faves was an attraction called the Fun House. Perhaps you’ve experienced it? You enter a building and walk through a maze filled with all sorts of silly things. But what I remember most is the room containing a bunch of crazy mirrors. (It was the old-school equivalent of today’s Snapchat filters.)

I’d run back and forth giggling as I looked at my warped reflection. Some mirrors would make me look tall and skinny; other mirrors would make me look short and stumpy. But all of them were distortions of reality and didn’t accurately reflect how I truly appeared.

If you were to think of your life as a mirror, what do you see reflecting back? Do you think the reflection you see is an accurate one?

Quite possibly, the “mirror” into which you’ve been looking, has been terribly warped, clouded and distorted.

I believe it’s time for you to get out some Windex, change the filter, and do whatever it takes for you to see yourself through the lens of God’s Word – the true, undistorted mirror for your life. Because if we’re going to get an accurate picture of who we truly are in Christ if we’re going to accurately reflect who Jesus is to a broken world, we need to begin painting a picture of ourselves that resembles who God says we are.

You are created in God’s image.

In Genesis 1:27 God provides a “frame” for how we should see ourselves,

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

An image is an accurate representation or reflection of something. So when God says He created us in his image, He means He created us to be like him and to accurately reflect who He is and what He is like.

This is what distinguishes you and me from everything else that God made. While God made flowers to be like flowers, birds to be like birds, fish to be like fish, He made us like himself.

His image is seen in the eyes of the orphaned children in China; his likeness is found among the impoverished in Africa. From the faces of the poor and oppressed to the successful and wealthy, his presence and likeness are found in his children—all of them.

In the movie, The Help, one of the main characters, Aibileen, makes an intentional effort to mold the self-image of a little girl. Daily, she has the little girl repeat, “I is smart. I is kind. I is important.” While the people around her may not affirm the girl’s worth, Aibileen determines to be a positive voice speaking into her heart.

God desires to be this voice in your life. He wants to be the guiding voice shaping your image, molding your character and defining you.

I love how Bob Goff put it in his book, Everybody Always, “God has never looked in your mirror or mine and wished he saw someone else.”1

 If we’re not careful, we can find ourselves investing a lot of energy attempting to be who we think we should be or trying to be who others think we should be.

God knows you intimately. Your birth wasn’t an accident; it didn’t catch God off guard. In fact, He planned your life long before you were formed. Before you even took your first breath, He had a wonderful plan for your life. Before you did anything, accomplished anything, or achieved anything, you had value to God simply because He created you.

As we close, I’d love for you to read Isaiah 44:3-5,

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob… Isaiah 44:3-5

You may be thirsting for significance; your hope may have run dry. Your “mirror” may be warped, distorted or just plain dirty. Time to take off the filters, clean off the mirror and allow the Word of God to wash over your soul, filling you, shaping you, refreshing you and molding you into his image.

An image that gradually comes more and more clearly into focus as you grow in your knowledge of the “Whom” to which you belong.

Think about it…

  • If you were to think of your life as a mirror, what reflection would you see?Do you struggle to see yourself as being created in God’s image?
  • If so, what hinders you?
  • Do you believe that your life has purpose and that God knows you intimately? If not, what hinders you?
  • Can you confidently say, “I belong to the Lord”? Why or why not?

 

1 Bob Goff, Everybody Always(Nelson Books: 2018) p. 66

Reflections – Time to Go Shopping!

Day Three

 

Everyone in our family loves the beach. Thankfully, we live just a few blocks away and have the opportunity to go a lot. In fact, during the summer my boys will go surfing almost every day. They practically live in their board shorts wearing them to the beach, to school, hanging out with friends and even occasionally to bed!

I have to remind them that just because their shorts got wet in the ocean doesn’t mean they’re clean. In fact, there have been times when the salty stench on their shorts was unbearable!

Paul, writing to the church in Colossae, ties our identity in Christ to the type of clothing we should wear. No, Paul’s not giving us fashion advice. Nor is he advocating a certain style of dress. Let’s look at what he says to them starting in verse 8 of Chapter 3,

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Paul intimates to those who are following Christ they need to change their clothes. They must take off the smelly, stinky, dirty clothes of their “old self” and put on some fresh ones – clothes that reflect their new identity in Christ.

Paul doesn’t give this as a suggestion; he emphasizes the urgency by telling them to do this now. Don’t wait for a more convenient time or a better opportunity. Don’t justify the stink or try to cover it up by spraying yourself down with Febreeze (yup, I must admit I’ve done that on occasion).

Rid yourself of those behaviors – change your clothes! Don’t live like the people around you. Instead, put on a new outfit, a beautiful one purchased with the blood of Jesus as you strive to look more and more like him every day.

Paul continues with this thought and draws a conclusion in verse 12,

Therefore, as God_s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3_12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

“Chosen, holy and dearly loved.” Right now. As is. This is how God sees you. The real issue, for us then is this: are we living as if this is true?

Sometimes I’ve found it easier to believe other people are chosen, holy and dearly loved than to believe that’s how God sees me. We have all fallen short of perfection. We have all blown it. But, the good news is God continues to see you as the person He created you to be.

Your identity doesn’t come from the things you do or the people around you. It’s not earned or worked for. Instead, it’s a gift we receive with gratitude from a loving Father.

Paul is telling the Christians in Colossae their identity in Christ should reflect how they live and the “clothing” they wear. Their “clothing” should be consistent with their identity.

Our outer life is a reflection of our inward life. As a natural outflow of seeing ourselves as chosen, holy and dearly loved, we should “clothe ourselves” with compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

And just like we take off our dirty clothes and put clean ones on, we are to take off attitudes, actions and things inconsistent with this new identity and clothe ourselves with a holy lifestyle that honors God and accurately reflects who He is.

I love how the NIV Study Bible explains this passage in Colossians 3. It reads, Paul is essentially telling the believers “they are called upon to become in daily experience what they are in Christ.”1

When we allow God to shape our lives, we begin to see ourselves as the women He created us to be. This transformation not only affects our lives and how we see ourselves, but it also begins to influence the community of people around us. He begins to use you to display his love to a broken world!

Time to go shopping for a new wardrobe!

 

Think about it…

  • What dirty clothes do you need to discard? What’s holding you back from getting rid of them and embracing your new identity in Christ?
  • Do you see yourself as chosen, holy and dearly loved? Why or why not?
  • Referring to verse 12, what “clothing” (compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience) comes easy for you? Which of these is a stretch?

 

1NIV Study Bible (Zondervan), notes from Colossians 3:1