As I watched the Olympics this summer I saw Michael Phelps win another handful of medals. He makes it look so easy. But as you are probably aware he spends hours in the pool. There is no resting on accomplishments of just four years ago. He knows he must stay in shape to continue to perform at top level.
I, too, am training. No, not for the Olympics. I am training to become like Christ. It is a lifelong program with Jesus as my model.
When I was saved I recognized there was behavior that was bad and behavior that was good. I unlearned some things and learned others. I thought the focus of a believer was on “right” actions. In the last few years I have learned there is another component to training.
My heart is the core of not only my actions, but my attitudes. If my heart is focused on me rather than God eventually this bent will be shown in the life I lead. The falseness of my motivations will be revealed especially in the way I treat others.
Focusing on my heart and its myriad of layers helps me root out the old self and acquire the new that is often spoken of in Scripture (Ephesians 4:22-24). This is not a feat I accomplish on my own. No matter how much effort I put into the remodeling program I will accomplish nothing.
God alone does the transformation. But I must agree to participate. He will not do the work alone. God is not pushy. He does not make me change, but invites me to become new.
Why would I choose to say yes? As we so often think, if not say, what’s in it for me? Since the transformation will not be quick or easy why participate at all? Because Jesus is offering me another kind of life, a life that results in love, peace, humility, surrender and simplicity. You will notice these characteristics are not highly valued in our culture. Changing from pride to humility, possessions to simplicity and control to surrender will not occur smoothly. There is no cheap sanctification. I have found myself needing to recalibrate my outlook on life and reframe my vision of a good and beautiful God. Trevor Hudson mentioned we have one ordinary life, one shot at time on earth. How will I choose to live it and whom will I live it for?