by Pastor Tim Burt
A couple of friends of mine have recently gone through major spiritual, mental and physical transformations by changing to a nutritional and healthy eating lifestyle, and initiating a consistent exercise routine. Like me, they were inspired by photos of others who transformed themselves. This all started from the desire of wanting a closer walk with God. That spiritual change and closer walk with God eventually created the desire to improve on their mental and physical state of being.
Personally, I’ve always instantly been motivated by pictures of people that have transformed their life! I’ve always had this attitude, If God will help them do it, He’ll help me do. It’s His will for me to do so! I know it’s His will for all of us! And so I am now in the beginning of one of those transformations!
Through this process, I have been thinking about the power of change God offers us. He gives every believer the Holy Spirit to live an empowered life in Him. His Word helps us understand that our life is to be under continuous transformation, spirit soul and body! Romans 12:2 (NKJV) says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (TLB) says, “May the God of peace himself make you entirely pure and devoted to God; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept strong and blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes back again.”
As I was looking at these powerful images of people who had transformed their looks, I had this thought. Every one of us is working toward one of those two pictures. We are either presently creating a before-picture or working toward an after-picture of our current life. Pause for a second and think about this: Have you ever thought about which picture you are presently creating? You’re before or you’re after?
In Acts chapter 26, the Apostle Paul. while on trial, was giving his testimony of the transformation of his life from being one who persecuted believers, to a new believer that was now being persecuted for his faith. When did that begin? It began when Jesus appeared and spoke to him saying, “But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you… to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (Acts 26:16 & 18 NKJV)
Just so you know, Jesus speaks to every one of us about living for Him and serving Him and nothing happens without His Spirit working transformation in us. Everyone that changes from a before to and after picture, has a testimony. How powerful it is when our testimony is about what the Lord has done in us and in our life!
I am living in my current after-picture (there will be more!) If anyone saw me now compared to 46 years ago, before I knew the Lord, they’d tell you I am a completely transformed person. I praise God for that! At the same time, internally I feel like I am in a before picture compared to what I believe the Lord still wants to do within me and through my life. That’s a good thing! Godly transformation is good and we should yearn for it! If I didn’t feel that way, I would probably be sitting in pride or slipping backward from where God wants me to be.
The after-picture that motivates us is our ongoing goal that God paints in our heart. It is the image of who He is transforming us into. It is the shaping of our thoughts and desires to conform to His Word, His will, and His purpose for our lives. It’s a path and a process in which we will continue to be changed as we pray and seek Him as how He want us to live and serve our calling in this life.
The Apostle Paul’s testimony is a part of the picture that God paints in our heart as we walk out what God wants for our lives. Like the Apostle Paul, as God’s word works in us, we also become the Lord’s witness of what Jesus has done and will do in our lives. Our personal story will be used to help others experience God’s life-changing and transforming power – “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus.”
Your life is not random. God has a plan for you. It’s a plan that unfolds like a rose as you walk it out and follow His leading. You may want to know exactly where you’re going but that mostly likely won’t happen. An aimless and purposeless life outside of the Lord will always result in a before picture. Pressing toward God’s will for your life will help create after-pictures, especially when you go after it with all you’ve got. Even then, an after-picture is not the end of all. It is actually only a step to the next after-picture. So, what does your next after picture look like?
Romans 12:2 (MSG) 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.
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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