Today is July 4, 2014. You probably remember this important date: July 4, 1776. Do you know the importance of September 17, 1787? If you are a history buff or in elementary school or a “real patriot” you remember that day as the day the United States was transformed from an independent group of colonies into a Nation of States. That was the day our Constitution was ratified. I probably don’t have all the details exactly right but the point is there was a time from “Declaring our independence” and our realizing our new identity as a Nation. I would say even today the U.S. is still learning her identity.
This isn’t a new concept. It is actually a story that runs over and over again in all of human history. It is our story. It is our recovery from the fall. There is a point in our lives where our Declaration of Independence, our declaration of change is actually a surrender to dependence. We die to ourselves to live in Christ. We step out of our selfish, fallen nature and step into His nature. We give up our grip on this “reality” and trade in our false security for His truth. We stop trusting our effort and instead trust His love. This is the moment we are born again. We give our lives to Jesus and He begins a new work. In a moment our Heavenly wiring is restored and our family name changes from Adam to Jesus. We become sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father and heirs to the resources of our King. In one moment of believing we move from fallen to saved, from sinner to saint, from wicked to righteous. He gives us everything we need. He delivers us from all that held us captive. He sets us free to be like Jesus in this world. He gives us access to eternal everything (life, perspective, resources, wisdom…).
We find ourselves in this new family of dependent lovers of God….
sometimes we still have some stuff. We have wiring but it doesn’t seem to be functioning. As a matter of fact there is likely a lifetime of learning what our junk, our wrong thinking is and letting it go for a better model. God’s wisdom is better. His will is way better since it has His power behind it. We are in a process to accept our identity. We have sent our separation letter to the enemy and are made new by God. It takes some renewing of our minds to realize our newness. Check this out:
Rom 12:2 And do not follow (sysxēmatízō) the customs of the present age, but be transformed (metamorphóō) by the entire renewal (anakaínōsis) of your minds, so that you may learn by experience what God’s will is–that will which is good and beautiful and perfect. (WNT)
Here is some Greek for you. The first word is “follow.” Some translations use the English word “conform.” Here is the Greek word:
4964 sysxēmatízō – properly, assuming a similar outward form (expression) by following the same pattern (model, mold).
So it is an outward appearance, a conforming to outside influences. It isn’t who you are but who you are pretending to be. Get it? Here is the word in another passage:
1 Peter 1:14 And, since you delight in obedience, do not shape (sysxēmatízō) your lives by the cravings which used to dominate you in the time of your ignorance, (WNT)
Enough said. The next word is “transform.” This is what happens to a caterpillar when it “transforms” into a butterfly.
3339 metamorphóō – properly, transformed after being with; transfigured
“After being with”? With what? Jesus of course. Our relationship with God in the Holy Spirit “rubs off.” His ways become our ways. His thoughts become our thoughts. His love changes us into His love. That is awesome!
It looks very different when we are living in our transformation. Check this out:
Matt 17:2 And He was transfigured (metamorphóō) before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light (NAS)
2 Cor 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed (metamorphóō) into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (NAS)
Here is the last word I want to emphasize.
342 anakaínōsis – properly, a new development; a renewal, achieved by God’s power.
This is our “new.” We are learning what it means to be new. We are learning a new way of thinking. We are operating from our born again state.
Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing (anakaínōsis) by the Holy Spirit, (NAS)
I meet people who claim to be Christians but will say they are hopelessly trapped by bad behavior and habits and thinking. They will say that “this is my thorn and I have to deal with it for the rest of my life. It is just my nature.” That just isn’t true. That is a lie from the enemy and to believe it is to empower the devil to rule your life. Jesus sets us free and if we are free in Him we are free indeed. It may take some “transforming” and “renewing” to understand what it means to be a child of God. It may take some time between letters of intent and recognition of substance. If you don’t believe it is possible, then you never realize a Constitution day. If you don’t ask the Holy Spirit (God on Earth and in you) to come into your life and baptize you with His love (fire) then you won’t see the renewing and the transforming. It isn’t anything you do. It is surrendering to His finished work. God doesn’t leave us in limbo until the day we die. That would be cruel, and inhumane in any setting. If God says He saves us then He means it. Often we need to “learn” what that looks like and let Him move us from Independence Day to Constitution Day. I’ll leave you with one more translation. It is really good.
Romans 12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (The Message)