by Pastor Tim Burt
We have all seen it at some time, a person doing a magic trick. He takes the coin in his left hand. He squeezes and blows on it. He opens it and the coin is gone. He opens his other hand and there it is. That is called magic, the art of illusion. God does not do magic. We don’t hand Him our problems where He takes them in His hand, squeezes and blows on them, and they are suddenly gone. That’s illusion but God is about SOLUTION.
Too many of the problems that we experience, we’ve contributed to creating. For example, marriage problems don’t just happen. We do things God’s word or the Holy Spirit warn us not to do. I’m sure most of us don’t disobey God defiantly, but we listen more to our fleshly desires than following the impression of the Holy Spirit who is trying to lead us. Regardless of our motivation or justification behind our disobedience, we create problems.
When problems turn into crisis situations, people often pray out of desperation. In those times, they are looking more for a magician than they are God. I say that because they want God to wave His wand and make their problems vanish! There are many in this world that offer illusionary solutions (for a fee) but God is not one of them. If problems are born out of our dysfunctional character, God’s solution is going to be to help transform us so that we don’t repeat creating these problems again and again. Oh don’t get me wrong. God’s mercy and compassion is great. He will help us in a multitude of ways to get to a better place, but beyond that, God is all about transformation! He is interested in transforming us. He wants to align our thinking, how we speak, and how we behave to His Word. He wants to transform our attitudes and motives. He wants to help purge our selfish ways and teach us to become a vessel of His love. He wants to teach us how to have a servant attitude so that we will become more conformed to the image of Jesus Christ—our role model in selflessness. Every word Jesus spoke leads to transformation. That doesn’t mean becoming Mother Theresa. It means learning to prefer others over yourself, and from a sincere heart.
So let me illustrate how that happens. Think of God wanting to transform you as you read this scripture. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV) says, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul (your mind and emotions) and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
If you were anything like me when I first read this years ago, you might have responded, Blameless? Who me? I’m as close to blameless and holy as I am to Jupiter. That’s how I felt when I first read this verse. So, let me break it down. You are a three-part being. You are a spirit. You have a soul (your mind and emotions,) and you live in a body. When you gave your life to Jesus, He made your spirit new. It was instantly transformed. The blood of Jesus washed your sins away and God put a white robe of righteousness upon you. Isaiah 61:10 (NLT) says, “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in His wedding suit or a bride with her jewels.”
What Jesus did for you is a gift. You can’t earn it. That robe covers your flaws. God knew you’d have flaws. He knew Satan had tried to corrupt and destroy you and that the transformation of your thinking, speaking, and behavior would take time. He purposed to cover you with this robe so that when He looked upon you, He’d see you washed and cleansed from sin by His blood—dressed in His robe of righteousness robe which He purchased for you with His shed blood. He forgave you of all your sins and then put this robe upon you when you gave your life to Him and became born again. Romans 5:9 (NIV) says,“Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!”
You are a spirit, soul, and body and your spirit is to take lead of your life. You soul and body weren’t made to lead you in life. They will take you to problem land. They are corrupted and haven’t been instantly changed. Your spirit has the capability of hearing from the Spirit of God. Your mind doesn’t. Your mind is assigned to take its lead from your spirit. What you hear from God by your spirit is what you teach your mind to think.
1 Corinthians 2:6-16 (NLT) says, “Yet when I am among mature Christians, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world… No, the wisdom we speak of is the secret wisdom of God… But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by His Spirit… And God has actually given us His Spirit (not the world’s spirit) so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us….But people who aren’t Christians can’t understand these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means. We who have the Spirit understand these things, but others can’t understand us at all….but we can understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.”
You have many thoughts you think about every day. You talk to yourself about many things. Your conscience is engaged in that conversation. Your conscience isn’t your spirit. Your conscience is a part of your soul—your mind and emotions. Before you gave your life to Jesus, your conscience was trained by the many voices of the world that spoke into your life. But when you gave your life to Jesus, the Holy Spirit took residence within you, and that’s who is now supposed to teach and transform your conscience and thinking. That is what is meant by the verse Romans 12:2 (NLT) “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.”
This transformation will take time. It will because you will have to make the personal decision to hear and obey God’s voice speaking to you through the scriptures. And you will have to make the decision to change. He won’t make you. So how fast you change depends on your willingness to seek and to listen to the voice of God. It won’t be magic. It will be a process. God in His mercy and grace will wash and forgive you of your sins when you blow it and repent. Listening and obeying repeatedly over time is what will cause your character transformation. Hardship isn’t from God. It’s from this sin-defiled world and the enemy’s attacks on your life. When we look to God in hardship and let Him lead us out of it, we remember we don’t want to go through it gain and remember, learn, and grow in character. We learn to follow God’s word and leading and that obedience minimizes problems and instead leads us to the blessing and joy of following Him. If God just did the magic and took the problems you created away, then you would not be transformed into Christ’s image and you’d repeat those stupid mistakes and sins over and over again. He is interested in the transformation of your spirit, soul and body! While this is happening, He’ll always be by your side to speak to you and lead you—if you will listen! He’ll listen to every prayer, and help you in every step. And you will change!
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT) “… And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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