Yesterday, I had an opportunity to visit the Mars Hill Church in Shoreline, Washington. The sermon finished up a series based off the book of Malachi and left me contemplating much in my own life as to being an authentic Christian. The title of the sermon series is: Living for a Legacy. I bring this up because, starting next week, I will be engaging in the 40-days of fasting and prayer for my own transformation into a more authentic Christian lifestyle. There are several reasons for this:
1) The days are growing short and I am still seeking after a more meaningful and purposeful life
Being middle-aged, it is a time to reflect on where my life has taken me and as to what type of legacy have I already left behind. What type of impact have I made on others that I have interacted with. Am I the best father that I am capable of being? These questions seem to haunt me as I contemplate where I have been and where it is exactly that I want to be. This includes working in the field of social human services where I am talking with people who are coming from a broken past and seeking purpose and meaning in their own life.
2) Moving beyond a broken and fallen past
We all have our past and we all have made our journey to where we are at today. Some times, we tend to reflect on the broken and fallen nature of our past and wonder how we could have ever been so blind, ignorant, or even selfish. Regardless of where we have come from, the focus is more on where it is that we desire to be and how we are able to seek out the will and desire of a loving and merciful Heavenly Father. With that, I happened to come across a poignant blog that succinctly describes the nature of where we have come from and how we are still in a position to be used by God and to live out an authentic Christian Life. It does not matter what our circumstances are, and were we find ourselves – what matters is that our Heavenly Father is willing to accept us right where we are at and work within us to transform ourselves into the image of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. This transformation comes about when we are willing and committed to surrender our will over to the will of God as we understand Him. It is through the power and grace of God that we are capable of moving beyond our broken and fallen past to be used by His good will and purpose. Eternal life is simply based on the reality that we are to come to know the Father and Jesus Christ whom the Father had sent (See John 17:3; NASB)
3) Repentance and submission are key elements toward a transformed life.
One of the biggest key principles of all scripture is the constant call for us to repent of our sins, and to submit ourselves over to the authority and will of God. Both, the Old and New Testament, we find that repentance and obedience comes hand in hand with one another. Granted, we are saved by Grace alone and not that of ourselves or anything we are capable of doing; however, we must also begin to do those things that emulate an authentic Christian life. Paul, the Apostle, expressed this in his treatise on the nature and purpose of baptism and how we are considered dead to sin, but now alive in Jesus Christ (Romans 6; NASB). As we genuinely repent of our sins, we are also forsaking them, never to return back to them. Instead, we are striving to submit our will and life over to a Sovereign God who will direct our paths and enlighten us with knowledge of how we are able to grow and transform our lives.
4) It is a daily walk with the Lord as we live out the rest of our days.
Once we have decided to commit our lives over to a Sovereign and loving Heavenly Father, we must take up our journey and walk with Him daily. Christ equates the nature of children in relation to how we are as we come to know Jesus Christ and God, the Father:
And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:2-4 NASB)
We are not just entering into a right relationship with God and are saved and redeemed by Jesus Christ: we also become adopted sons and daughters of God and we look to him as our eternal Father (see 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 NASB).
We begin to develop and nurture this parent-child relationship where our trust in a Sovereign God is likened to the trust a child places with his/her earthly father and mother. A child seeks security, nurture, wisdom, instruction, guidance, protection, sustenance and all other things from their parents. In much the same way, we come before our Heavenly Father for similar things. The more we rely and deepen our relationship with Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ whom He has sent, we will deepen and strengthen our faith and trust in Him for all things.
Transforming our lives from a broken and fallen past requires acceptance of what has transpired before hand through acknowledging our own failings, our own poor choices, and the circumstances that have been out of our own control. It also requires turning to and giving over our own will to the will of a Sovereign God, knowing that through His own power and mercy, we will receive forgiveness and redemption. It then requires our own commitment in walking daily, seeking His guidance, companionship, and nurture for our own development of faith.
Have you come to realize that your own life is broken, fallen, and without guidance? Have you come to realize that your own life is in need of a spiritual transformation that can only happen by accepting Jesus Christ as your own personal Lord and Savior? Have you come to determine that your own life is unmanageable and are seeking guidance in your own life? It is time to turn back from our old ways of conformity and transform our lives through the renewing of our mind to prove that which is good and acceptable before a Sovereign, Merciful and Just God (Romans 12:2).