As I wrote in my last post, Lent is a time of reflection, inspection and renewal. All of this is true. We look towards the cross and realized how much God has done for us. No matter where we are in our walks in life, God accepted and accepts us as we are. This is the grace and mercy of the cross. It is not by our doing and it is not for the sake of God but for us.
When you hear Jesus gave Himself for us, as we are, does it brings chills? It does for me. I have done many things that I am not proud of. The person I am today, is not who I was 25 years ago. I saw so much that was black and white. There was no grey in anything I saw. It was either a yes or a no. Others’s needed to change, not me. I don’t have the problem, it is their problem. Are you crazy, what is wrong with them. It is only by the power of Love, God, that I have been able to change. I still have much to change though.
Over time, and through the grace of God, I have experienced the mercy of the cross. I have began to realize, and sometimes I need to re-realize, that we all need change in our lives. Change is however not enough. I have been preaching on the Daniel Plan by Pastor Rick Warren. Some still only see this plan, whatever name you want to call it, as a diet. Some see it as only fitness. Some see it for only others and not themselves. Some ask, why now in Lent? Why do I need to listen to all of this. Cannot it be said quicker? Yes, I have heard this and much more. I try to preach the Word of God, and there is so much to say and so much to say at this important time of the year, Lent. Daniel Plan fits at Lent. It is very appropriate for Lent and the 40 days of.
It is unfortunate that we, as humans, often make up our minds without getting full information. It is unfortunate that sometimes we cannot see the value of something for others, even if it may not be as valuable for ourselves. The Daniel Plan is about reflection upon what we have always done in the past, in light of what Jesus did and does for us today and tomorrow. The Daniel Plan is about inspection of what we are doing today, in light of what Jesus did and does for us today and tomorrow. The Daniel Plan is about renewal of ourselves, for the sake of God, in light of what Jesus did and does for us today and tomorrow. The Daniel Plan is about transformation. The transformation of relationships, finances, faith, spirituality, and yes they physical self.
The transformation is far more significant than to make a version a, b, c, etc of ourselves. It is much greater than many may be able to imagine. I can however, because I have experienced and continue to experience it in my life. I grew up not believing in God. There was nothing ever presented to me when I was younger, that would have ever allowed for a relationship between me and God. God did not exist, period! Later in life, I realized what my life was lacking without the love of God. I have experienced what Paul speaks about in Romans 12:2
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 learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013), Ro 12:2.
When going back to the Greek version of the Bible, the word transform, is used in the present tense. In other words, now. Not in the past and therefore it is done. Not in the future, therefore you can wait. It is now, that we are to transform. The word is also an imperative. In other words, it needs, it must, it is highly important, to do this and do this now!
Let’s go further into the Greek and look at the Lexicon of the Greek word used here.
13.53 μεταμορφόομαιa: to change the essential form or nature of something
Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 154.
Note, to change the essential form. That is not to enchance, to modify, to upgrade but the changing of the essential form we are now, the nature of what it is now to a new form, a new nature. That is just like the metamorphosis that a caterpillar goes through when it changes into a butterfly. During this time of Lent, God is telling us to change in light of what has been and will be done for us.
If you look at Romans 12:1, “I appeal to you therefore…”
The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Ro 12:1.
All the next arguments that Paul presents, it is appealing to us in light of everything he laid out in the previous chapters. I invite you to read Romans chapters 1-11. Paul tells of all the things that God and Jesus has done for each of us. This is what we speak about in Lent. We look back at the ministry of Jesus. We look at what God and Jesus has done, and will do for us. In light of that, we reflect, inspect and renew. Then we are urged, appealed to by Paul to change, to transform, to morph from our caterpillar selves, into beautiful butterflies.
This appeal is to everyone. It is not just for some but everyone. If we think we have all of our stuff together, then we are telling a lie to ourselves and to God. This morphing can happen over and over. We can become more and more Christ like, until the day that we meet the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in heaven. Then, standing as the beautiful butterflies that God has created because of the love God has in Jesus Christ for us, we will be ready to hear, “Job well done, good and faithful servant.”
Until that day, we have a lot of work to do. We must keep on transforming. We must help others in community to transform. The Word of God is not just for some but for all. Some do not need to hear the Word more than others. One sin is no greater than another and we all stand convicted of our Sin, in the cross of Jesus. We all need the Word and we all need to transform. I need to be morphed into a butterfly, and that is most certainly true. How about you?