November 3, 2022 — You have to start somewhere, but that doesn’t mean you’re finished

“Yesterday I saw something really disheartening,” Stan commented one morning as we waited for breakfast.”

“What’s that?”

“I saw someone who professes to be a Christian acting in a most non-Christian-like way.”

“I’ve seen that sort of thing,” I replied. “It can be disheartening.”

“Especially when it’s someone you think you know pretty well,” Stan said. “And I’m not afraid to tell you who it was.”

“Not going to gossip are you?” I replied.

“I don’t think it’s gossip to talk about yourself,” Stan said.

“Oh,” I commented, “confession time!”

“That’s it,” Stan said. “As many times as I think I’m way down the road in my faith walk, too far along to do or to say certain things, reality strikes and I suddenly know I’m not where I like to think I am.”

“What happened?” I asked.

“I’m not going to share the ugly details,” Stan said, “but I do want to talk about how starting down transformation road is just that, starting, not completing.”

“Starting, not completing,” I repeated. “In what way?”

“It’s like what Jesus said about discipleship in Luke’s gospel,” Stan replied.

“What’s that?”

“Being transformed into being a disciple who is following Jesus,” Stan said, “is optional and it’s supposed to be daily.”

“Optional and daily?”

“Yeah,” Stan replied. “Jesus said, ‘If’ I want to be a disciple. To me that means that I have to choose to deny myself, and that makes it optional. Secondly, Luke recorded Jesus as saying that what I am to take up is to be done each day. It’s not a one-time deal, and that’s where the lack of continual transformation crops up!”

“So,” I replied, “pursuing transformation as a disciple is to be a continuing process, one that is to last for as long as we’re here, is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan said. “And as I know all too well, if I don’t continually deny what I want to do apart from God, and if I don’t continually take up what He has for me to take up, there’s no way I’m going to follow Him as He intends.”

“And,” he continued, “if I’m not following Him, I’m following someone or something else that will take me away from Him, as well as taking me from what He wants to do in and through me. And that’s not a good thing!”


Bible verses to consider:

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:23-24.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good wok in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6.

Prayer:  Thank you, Father, for your provision of the cross of Christ, through which I can know I will spend eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you, too, for your provision of transformation that allows me to walk ever more closely with you while you keep me on this side of eternity. I acknowledge and confess that too often I do not pursue the transformation you have for me because I choose against allowing you to complete in me what you have begun. Please forgive the foolishness of saying I’m yours without actually being yours. Please help me in following every step of your lead into the transformed life you have and intend for me. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Has your eternal destination been changed because you have accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life with Him forever when it’s time? If no, why? Do you not realize that eternity is a long time to be separated from God? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with the transformation God intends for you on this side of eternity? Do you agree that such transformation is the life-long process of discipleship? That starting it is not the same as completing it? If you sense the need for change in how you view and approach transformation, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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