Is your life-transforming in the new year? As January passes and February moves in, the year is marching forward. I don’t know about you but transforming my life into a fresher, healthier, and better one is very appealing. February seems like a good time to evaluate the hopes for the new year that were made in January. It is likely if we are honest, almost all of us can use a bit more transformation in our lives. And if we follow the news, it seems as if not only us, but the world needs a whole lot more transformation as well. Thankfully, the grace of Christ is one that transforms and heals us from within. But many times, we push Christ away because, let’s face it, transformation isn’t easy.
If we want to transform our lives, we first must look within ourselves acknowledging our personal history. Sometimes we attempt to change on the surface, but it is not lasting or freeing. Transformation requires a real and true change from within, and we are often afraid of change. Therefore, transformation requires greater power than us. For without help from within it is fruitless and nothing more than lipstick on a pig. Allowing Christ to come within us to transform us means that the ugly things in our hearts are destroyed. Since change is both scary and difficult it might have us asking, even if silently, if Christ comes to destroy the ugly within us will it destroy our lifestyle, self-image, or independence? But Christ doesn’t come to destroy who we are just offer us the freedom to be who we were designed to be. This, however, requires a commitment.
When we cling to Jesus for a transforming life it is important to acknowledge that this is not a one and done. A transforming lifestyle is an everyday affair for we are a people on a constant journey of transformation. When we commit to Christ and begin the hard work of becoming a disciple, we begin to set aside the weight of life that leads us into wholeness. This is the weight that allows us to declare that we won’t be silent in the face of injustice or oppression. But it also means we must be aware that on any ordinary day we too might fall asking Christ, “What have you to do with us, Jesus?” For Christ comes to change everything about us, every broken thing through His grace on any day.
When we allow Jesus to exercise His authority over us, we can connect with our ability to stand against evil both within ourselves and around us. Through our belief, we are given the freedom and power from God to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they may present themselves. By recognizing the power of God, we experience freedom over these forces. But we can’t do so in our own power. This means we must surrender before we can transform. When we give over our lives to Christ we heal from within. And so, we then can proclaim wholeness to the broken world around us.
Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”Mark 1: 24 (NLT)
When we ask ourselves, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?’ we are asking what would you have us do, Jesus? What changes do I need to make within myself and around me to overcome evil, end oppression, and bring justice to an unjust world? It begins with committing to Christ repeatedly today, tomorrow, next week, and beyond. But not in a self-condemning way but instead in a manner that allows us to cling to the transforming grace of God.
It is said that as a young man, Martin Luther was known to make a confession every 20 seconds over his grief of sin. He would exit confession, have a sinful thought, and go right back in. Martin Luther was miserable and tormented until he came to understand the grace of God through the reading of scripture. He became so liberated in the transforming grace of God that he led a movement to reform the church so others could see the grace of God too.
Grace is a transforming life-changing experience. And although it was costly it is not costly to us but instead is given freely as a gift from God. As we acknowledge the power of Christ, we establish His credentials and understand His teaching comes from Authority. And it is only with His power that we can exorcise the demons within us, name them for what they are, and acknowledge how they bring suffering. So, we can then convert and transform them into healing. To do this we must commit to Him and then look within to our hearts and souls.
Writer and poet, Kathleen Norris, put this exorcist business into practical words. She wrote that the demon she needed to exorcise the most was anger. It served a useful purpose when she needed to go into Warrior mode but became harmful when it was used to gratify herself with self-justification or to deny her fears. It took a kind comment from her husband to recognize that this demon was not only causing pain to others but harming her within. Once she gave acknowledgment to it, though it wasn’t magically gone, it did require her to pay closer attention recognizing it to push it out. And through that acknowledgment and by the power of God a transformation took place so she could begin to heal. When we determine the demons within ourselves and name them, we too, begin a transforming experience that leads to freedom.
Taking the time to look within ourselves for transformation is best done in silence. Ms. Norris, recently amid the pandemic shared some work on the National Catholic Reporter that resonates with the silence most of us have felt during the last year and the time to reflect. She said, “Silence sometimes shows you what you’re suffering from…just to sit there and let the silence sink in, and often that’s when you discover what it is you’re really worried about, what you’re suffering from, what your real concerns are, because when you’re busy in the world either with activity or a lot of verbal stuff going on, you’re ignoring some of those deeper things and sitting in silence for a while, it will start to surface.”
It is also in the silence that you can allow the power of Christ to come within you. To create healing that only His grace can present. Jesus has the power and presence that is greater than all the brokenness we see in our lives and all around the world. This knowledge gives us the ability to sit in our silence and find the demons within us that harm us. Because we know that with His power, we have hope for a future. One that encourages us to live with our faith today and tomorrow, battle the evil within, and that in which we encounter out in the world. The transforming grace and power of Christ heals us from within and allows us to proclaim this healing to others.
Won’t you challenge yourself to sit in silence and allow it to sink in to discover the things that are harming you? Root your convictions firmly in the knowledge of scripture and the transforming power of Christ over your life. Seek your motivation in knowing that it is only through the transforming grace of Christ that you are healed from within. And lastly seek comfort in knowing that by asking the question, “Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth?” the answer provided is because He loves you deeply.
Love in Christ,
Transformation in the world happens when people are healed and start investing in other people.Michael W. Smith
What are Your Thoughts?
Have you experienced the transforming grace and power of Christ in your life? Share your thoughts on the healing and life-changing transformation that Jesus offers everyone.