My Grace-Full Life

Transformation in Christ

I recently overheard a conversation where a woman introduced herself as a “Transformation Coach.”  I was curious what that meant, so I whipped out my iPhone and did what any other modern, curious mind does — I Googled it.  The definition is:
Transformation Coaching is a highly effective and rapid means of releasing the hidden potential of people, and helping you reach your goals and objectives more quickly than you ever thought possible.
I have to be honest…  this bothered me.  Some may say, “tomayto,” “tomahto,” who cares?  But for me the term and definition seemed very….  wrong.  
Now, allow me to clarify a few things before I begin:

  1. There’s nothing wrong with improving yourself.
  2. There’s nothing wrong with having goals.
  3. It’s not impossible for a person to change.

But for another person to call themselves a coach to transform another person?  Let’s just say that I find that to be a gross mis-representation.
Let’s go a bit out of order and start with my third bullet…  It’s not impossible for a person to change or “transform.”  Transformation can occur many ways…  Perhaps someone undergoes a major life-changing event…  They have a health scare…  They are a victim of a terrible crime…  They witness the loss of a loved one…  Or on the positive side, maybe someone wins an award that opens up new opportunities…  Perhaps a marriage or the birth of a child…  They may have simply had an eye-opening conversation that resulted in an AH-HA moment.  There ARE events that will make permanent changes to a person’s personality and overall outlook on life, leaving them changed or “transformed.”
But there’s only ONE person who can truly call Himself a Transformation Coach:  Jesus Christ.  It’s through His blood we are saved by grace, and it’s through His Spirit that we are transformed into new beings.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  ~2 Corinthians 5:17

And one of my favorite passages about this is from Isaiah 43:18-19:

“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old,” this is definitely easier said than done.  No one can beat me up for past sins better than I can…  However, the Bible tells us that with true repentance, our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west:

As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.  ~Psalm 103:12

God is good at forgiving and forgetting.  I am not.  However, I know that it doesn’t please God for me to dwell on the things I’ve done in the past.  We are instructed to forgive others, so it makes sense we should follow suit and forgive ourselves.

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  ~Matthew 6:14-15

The second part of that verse from Isaiah says, “Behold, I will do a new thing,” and I LOVE this part of the verse.  This is the transformation part.  Last summer when I decided to make this change in my faith life, and make Jesus my priority, this was me saying to the world, “I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but today is a new day, and I’m taking my life in a new direction!”

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.  ~Lamentations 3:22-23

I’m far from the first person who God has changed.  I’m just very thankful that He worked on my heart when He did…  He didn’t have to resort to a life-altering illness or accident to get my attention.  He just finally got through to me, and I’m very grateful for that.
One of the things I’ve learned on my own faith-journey is that you can’t outrun God.  I tried for years to do it my own way.  I’m living proof of being transformed in Jesus Christ, but one of the greatest examples is the life of the Apostle Paul (formerly known as Saul).

Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.  As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  ~Read the entire story of Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:1-19

Here’s a man who was doing everything he could to destroy the early church…  he was so devout in his traditions that he refused to remove the blinders from his eyes to see the Truth.  On the road to Damascus, God removed those blinders and through three days of blindness, Saul’s eyes were opened so that he could see.

Transformation?  Indeed.  Saul became Paul.  This devout Jewish man who was a zealot for preserving old traditions and persecuting the church became one of the church’s most outspoken and passionate leaders.  He traded in his Jewish name “Saul” for the Gentile name “Paul” so that he could lead Gentiles (non-Jewish people) to Christ.

Paul’s story is one of my favorites.  I had never given much thought to him prior to reading the Bible the way I do now…  but this is a man who referred to himself as the “chief of sinners,” yet our modern church regales him as possibly the greatest example of Christian faith ever known.

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.  ~1 Timothy 1:15

If Jesus can transform a man as stubborn as Paul once was…  and if Paul, who once went out of his way to persecute those who believed in Jesus can become a new creature in Christ…  then Jesus can transform us.  We can become new creatures in Jesus Christ too.

I am still growing in my faith and honestly, these blog posts are a bit hard for me to write.  I’m aware that my life today verses my past are very different.  While I never did anything the world may consider really, really bad, but God’s standards, I was a soul in dire need of a transformation.  The kind of transformation that is only available through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

I skipped my first two bullets earlier, so let’s revisit them as we draw to a close:

  1. There’s nothing wrong with improving yourself.
  2. There’s nothing wrong with having goals.

True transformation through the saving grace of Jesus WILL improve  you.  The improvement isn’t going to come from an upgrade in home, car, or socio-economic standing, but it is going to improve you, as a human being and eternal soul.  It’s going to make you thirsty for the greatest relationship you’ll ever know — a passion for knowing and understanding God our Heavenly Father…  It will stir in you a great appreciation for Jesus Christ our Savior…  And it will make you crave the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
And when you improve yourself through the transformation of the gift of salvation, God will make sure your goals will ultimately line up with His will and plan for your life.   Because we know that God’s will WILL prevail.

A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.  ~Proverbs 16:9
There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.  ~Proverbs 19:21

Thank you, Jesus for sacrificing Yourself on the cross, to die for our sins, and for defeating death through your resurrection.   You paved the way for us to have eternal life through you, if we believe in You and put our faith in You.  God’s grace has enabled us and Your Spirit transforms us.  Thank you that through You, we can truly be transformed into new creatures.  Please bless us and direct us according to Your will for our lives.  May we be shining lights to Your glory!

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