Sunday, June 19, 2011

On Being Transformed

Consecration time! Whoop whoop! 

I can’t lie – conviction is a painful thing even though it is good, and for my good. I was reading Leviticus a few days ago, and God began to show me that the purging of the Israelites and their sanctification was for one purpose; to be holy, because God is holy. The first time I read Leviticus 20:26, I was a little younger and I couldn’t understand. I thought it was kind of over-the-top of God to expect us to be like him in holiness, I mean come on… after all, we are but dust! 
But in His great love, we are given the opportunity to be filled with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19). I.E. we are given the blessing of being transformed so that we can do away with our sinful nature, and look like Christ on the inside (Romans 8:29), thus evading condemnation. The purpose of all this is not just because God wants to ruin our good times, it is so that the Holy Spirit can dwell in our midst. Unholiness grieves Him and He’s not going to change His nature for us, so if we can be holy, then He will not be grieved. For those who have tasted and seen the goodness of God, we love the Comforter, and want him near, so holiness is a good idea.
Well, how do we go about becoming holy? It doesn’t happen in our own strength. God has informed us that because of our many sins, all our righteousness is like filthy rags before him (Isaiah 64:6). So working hard to achieve holiness will get you nowhere. In fact, as my Pastor elaborated on today, it will get you a little less than nowhere; it will get you to a place of extreme bitterness. Once you realize that you are working extra hard to attain holiness, but don’t feel the strong sense of God’s pleasure over your life, it gets very irritating to see other people living in righteousness, peace and joy. What then do we say, the Apostle Paul comments (Romans6:1)? Do we give up, and just live however best we can, since there’s nothing we can do anyway? Absolutely not. What we do is realize that God has called us HIS possession, HIS people, HIS children (Psalm 2:7). He has said that he delights in us, and that as our Father, He longs to do great things on our behalf (2 Chronicles 16:9a). So what we do is give ourselves over to him. We tell Him – Father, I want to be holy like You, but we both know that I can’t do that. Then He tells us – It is not by your power, or by your might, but by MY SPIRIT. If you will humble yourself under me, and allow me to be Lord over your life, I will do this and much more for you so that My name may be glorified.
So consecration time! Whoop Whoop! Today God brought my selfishness to judgement. I acted in a very inconsiderate manner towards a friend, and thought absolutely nothing of it (Jeremiah 17:9) but it came back around to face me later when she confronted me. At this time, the Holy Spirit was convicting me since I had asked Him to come and refine me and I had two options – I could ignore Him and come up with a half-valid excuse to make my friend leave me alone, or I could HUMBLE myself, admit my wrong and move forward without being hypocritically sorrowful about it to invite pity. This might be easy for some of you, but for me it was a fight. Satan reminded me that I was making myself vulnerable and putting myself in an embarrassing situation. God was telling me that I should act according to the word of God. I listened to the Spirit and apologized. When I got over myself, and stopped sulking, I realized what had happened: Spirit 1- Flesh 0. More of Him, less of me. I realized that by the work of the Holy Spirit, I had just won a mini victory over sin.
Do I pat myself on the back for this? No, because I am fully aware that it only happened this way because of the grace of God. The next time I hear a convicting message, do I gloat in my mind over the people who I know are inconsiderate? I had better not - Romans 14:4. That would be attracting judgment to myself, something I would rather not deal with. Instead, I thank God that one hurdle is passed, and humble myself again, to be broken again over another fleshly desire, fixing my eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of my faith, as I run my race to take hold of what He saved me for – Christ-like-ness.

Happy Sunday!