By: Pastor Danny Houze
The scriptures tell us that those who have received Christ can be transformed into His image. That sounds great! Who among His followers wouldn’t want to be more like Christ? If you haven’t already guessed, that is a loaded question. That’s because to be more like Christ means there are many things in me that have to go. To be transformed means many of my motives, attitudes, and actions are sanded, knocked off, confronted, and rebuked. Yes, there is encouragement and affirmation in the process but overall transformation is just plain hard. In fact, much of it stinks!
The last twelve months have been the most difficult of my life. Many of you would say the same thing about your year. I would like to say as a leader that I have handled the last year with poise and grace. I haven’t always. There have been times that I have worried and stressed. At times I have been critical, judgmental, and sharp. I have said, (and written), things that have hurt those I love or should be showing love. I know I have done this because the people I love and trust the most have lovingly pointed this out. I know I have done this because the word of God that I love and trust has shown me this. Good times! This is transformation.
How grateful I am that transformation also includes grace, mercy, and encouragement. Transformation into the image of Christ never writes you off. The arms of the genuine Christian transformational experience are always of a God on the horizon with arms wide open and welcoming. Good times! This is transformation.
Today I am grateful for a Lord and Savior who transforms. Today I am grateful for a church that allows their pastor to continue to be the flawed guy that he is. Today I am grateful for a wife and friends who see and yet forgive—who give you a chance to try again. Today I am grateful for transformation.
I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than being more and more transformed into the image of Christ. In Galatians 2:20 the Apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ.” In other words, Paul had died to himself. When Christ died, He did so only once to pay for the sins of every person, past, present, and future. Paul’s death with Christ is something he does daily, and perhaps several time a day. Being “crucified with Christ” means dying to my need to be right. Being “crucified with Christ” means dying to thinking of my own needs above others. Being “crucified with Christ” means dying to my need to exact subtle revenge on those with whom I disagree or have wronged me. Paul writes, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ now lives in me.” So, in these transactions of dying we are “raised” a bit more transformed, gaining a bit more of the attributes of Christ living and speaking and writing and thinking and loving through us. We discover that there is no comparison to what we lost in the dying with Christ compared to what we gained in allowing Christ to live in us. That is easy to write, much harder to actually do, but our Lord is patient. That is transformation.
A man was going through some family things in a box in his attic. He came across a journal his mother had written about him when he was born. In one of her entry’s his mother wrote, “Little Billy is 6-months old today, he is gassy and cross when he first wakes up.” Next to his mother’s he noticed his wife made her own entry: “Bill is 65-years old today. He is still gassy and is still cross when he first wakes up.” Some things don’t change.
I am 65-years old this year. I shouldn’t be, but I am surprised there are still so many things in me that need to change at my age…but I’m game. I am ever grateful for the hope transformation holds up before me like a banner. So, here’s to transformation—here’s to Christ living in us!