On thinking about this month’s theme of Ways That Christ Transforms Us, I initially thought I would be writing in a general sense. But when I sat down to really meditate on it, I really felt to narrow it down into specifics of how He has and is transforming me personally. I really enjoyed the exercise, and doing this only served to amplify for me how amazing Christ is, how intimate He is, how practical He is, and how brilliant He is. What a joy to be able to give testimony to Him in my own life 🙂
I think it’s important to remember too, that God transforms us through Christ in different ways according to His purpose, His one Eternal Purpose, which is to increase the expression of His Son through His Church (that’s us of course). So ways that He has changed me may be quite different to ways in which He would change someone else, but it will always be to increase His Son in us.
I’ve been saved since 1973 but was given the revelation of Christ As All in 2010, and since that day, my life has been progressively, radically changed. So, here are some ways that Jesus Christ has transformed me so far….to God be the glory.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12, NIV)
No Longer A Counsellor – I used to be a Christian counsellor. I worked hard for my qualifications. When I completed all my studies and field work and had settled into the industry, I felt I had really achieved a lot and had finally reached the goal of “what” I was meant to be for the Lord (It’s not about what but about who, isn’t it?) But! After seeing who Jesus Christ really is? Ha, I’m no counsellor. I have lost all interest in trying to counsel people, in having a practise, in being employed as a counsellor, etc. I have no interest because I see now that Christ alone is the answer to every problem. And the vast resource that Christ is, trumps all human wisdom. He is a River of Life living inside of each one of us, and if and when He wants to counsel someone, He will flow out of us whether or not we’re aware of it, and it will be in a way we could never imagine. He is a corporate Christ, and as we know Him corporately, He is expressed in a far greater way, and He counsels by His Holy Spirit sometimes simply by the members of His body being in fellowship together.
For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them. (Matthew 18:20, NLT)
He is just looking for empty vessels in which He can pour out HIS life to touch others. I see that for me, now, it is not about education and skills but rather a surrendered life.
No Longer A Musician – I used to be a singer/songwriter. I don’t think I was ever a good singer, but I believe God gave me awesome songs and arrangements and a talent to harmonise. It was a buzz for me to write and sing/perform and especially as a backing singer where I could enjoy anonymity and the thrill of the music. But! After seeing who Jesus Christ really is? All I want to do is talk about Christ and share Him with others, and the channel for the past couple of years has been through blogging. I have lost all interest in writing songs and performing, and any songs that I now enjoy the most are very simple ones that reflect the truth of who Christ is, as I am learning Him more. At various times, the Lord gives me a new song, often almost childlike but rich and profound with proclamations of Christ. Don’t get me wrong, I can still appreciate music, but that’s all it is for me now, just an appreciation, nothing more than that. My greatest delight in song is to be singing along with a handful of saints, declaring our glorious Christ and His beautiful Bride to one another. No need for bands, great voices, perfect pitch, great harmonies or perfect timing, just hearts that are given over to the Lord and eyes that are seeing Christ as King and Head of His church. He is the song and the music.
A Simple But Richer Life – Anyone who doesn’t know me might look at my life and think how boring it is. Especially our kids! They might think to themselves “You don’t go on holidays, you don’t go out to dinner, you don’t do anything or go anywhere hardly ever, you must be so bored” (In fact, I think I’ve heard something like this from our kids before:-) ). Given, some of this current lifestyle is circumstantial, but once I would have been bored and probably complaining, feeling sorry for myself, longing for more adventure, activity and fun. I would have equated a fulfilling and satisfying life with the amount of fun and adventure I had. But! After seeing who Jesus Christ really is? He has become my fun and adventure! Christ has become my most exciting and fulfilling activity! I could be at home all week and only leave the house to do groceries and meet with the saints, and my life feels fuller, deeper, more meaningful and purposeful than it ever has. Now, that’s Christ, folks! He satisfies like nothing and no-one else can.
…My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10, NLT)
Living In The Body of The Lord – As I’ve been sitting here writing, a message came through on my phone from one of the brothers from the Perth (Australia) church, reading; “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12). He continued to write; “The Church is Christ. While that sounds heretical to traditional ears, this is exactly what Paul wrote. From God’s perspective Christ is no longer a single person. He is a corporate person. Christ and the church are a single entity. Incredible!”
This brother stated that while this may sound “heretical to traditional ears”. Well, that was me. I used to have traditional ears, and sometimes I realise I still do to a certain degree. I guess 40 years of being in the traditional church system has quite an epic effect on distorting some of the clarity of the truth of the gospel and the knowledge of who Christ is. But! After seeing who Jesus Christ really is? Oh my goodness. This church! How magnificent she is! How incredible it is to me, that Christ is this one gigantic, enormous, many-membered body! How differently now I look at other believers. Now I see them truly as brothers and sisters. Now I see us truly as one in Christ. Now I see that Christ and His Church are one, not separate! Now I see why God loves us so much: He always wanted us to be part of His only begotten Son! Now, I see why the church is so vital and important in God’s own eyes, because we are the body of His Son! And there’s no better place to be on earth than with the saints! Now, that’s a far cry from whinging and groaning about having to put on my Sunday best and rock up to a cold building on Sunday mornings and sing 6 songs and listen to announcements, put some money in a plate, sit passively and listen to one man preach a sermon he’s been working on in order to have something to present to the masses, have a quick cup of tea with people I don’t really know or care for that much and go home.
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord…(Ephesians 3:10-11 NIV)
Finding Christ As My All in All – I used to turn to my own resources in so many ways. For example, if I was facing a challenging day, I would turn to what I had learnt about cognitive skills and try and analyse my way through the situation. I would also pray and ask the Lord to help me do this or do that. But! After seeing who Jesus Christ really is? Now, I am learning to turn to Him in all things, be it in areas of weakness, fear, temptation, anxiety, frustration, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, weary and so on. When I turn to Him now, I do so to draw from Him and His life in those areas. I draw from His strength, His courage, His standing, His peace, His rest, His patience, His kindness and so on. It is His life that I live by now, and not my own with a bit of His help along the way. What a difference this is – to learn to live by His indwelling life. (I’m just learning by the way).
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV).
The above few points, give just a snippet really, of how I have and am seeing the Lord transform me. I imagine this to be a never-ending story of His life increasing in me, to His glory, and I certainly pray so. And what I have written is not me saying that being a counsellor, a musician, or a busy person is wrong. What I’m giving testimony to is that all those things have turned grey and dull in the light of the colour of Christ in my life. Once they were colourful to me, but now having seen who Jesus Christ really is? He is the colour and nothing else is even coming close. And I haven’t done any of this; He has. It just seems to be the result of seeing Him for who He really is. The focus is not about me and how I’ve changed because I have not and cannot change myself. No, the focus is on this glorious Christ and how incredible He is. He is the magnificent One and Oh! When we see who Jesus Christ really is!
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (2 Corinthians 3:18, NLT)
So if you can make the time, why don’t you wait on the Lord and let Him bring to your mind, if it doesn’t come to you straight up, the ways in which He has transformed you already, or is transforming you right now. And take a look once again, at how magnificent He is from your first-hand experience. Remember, God is the one who transforms us through Christ. We cannot transform ourselves but only surrender our lives to Him. If transformation seems slow, don’t worry; transformation is His business, and it’s the resulting evidence of getting to know Him. Let go and let God. It is He who works and wills in us, to obey Him. He is just looking for surrendered lives in which He can pour out His Son. Ours is but to surrender and abide in Him.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5, NIV)
The reality is that knowing Christ transforms us. Seeing and knowing Him, we cannot remain the same. It is an impossibility. He is the original transforming power and light of God. Just as the sun in our solar system transforms the earth and all that is in it including mankind, so Christ the Son transforms His own people. The key, I believe, is in knowing Him. That’s all we’re required to do. When we see who this Jesus Christ really is, we are compelled to know Him. In seeing and knowing Him, we are changed. That’s just the way it is.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:17-19a, NIV)
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him….(Philippians 3:7-9a, NIV)