A blog series on being Transformed into the Image of Christ
True Transformation Or Just A Wardrobe Change?
“to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24
One thing that all my children have in common is that at some point in their childhood they loved to play dress up. They would go into their rooms and before coming out they would say, “Mom close your eyes.” They would then run out dressed in their favorite costume convinced of their superpowers. While I would play along with their game, I of course knew that under that costume was my baby. And regardless of how much they may have believed in their powers, a quick attempt to fly off the couch would prove otherwise. Why? Because they had not really transformed, it was just a wardrobe change.
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.” Ephesians 4:17-19
Paul describes the Gentiles as futile. Futile in this context simply means that their minds are filled with things that do not lead to Christ, but instead, their thoughts lead them towards an empty path away from God. As followers of Christ, we are called to look different to live differently and to walk a different way. But this is never something we can achieve on our own. The result of our own efforts is nothing more than a costume change. Our life as a follower of Christ should never be just a wardrobe change, instead, the presence of Christ dwelling in our hearts should always lead to change in our lives.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10
God’s gift of Grace is what saves us. It has nothing to do with our good deeds or actions. It was not because of our hard work to be saved. It is simply because of Jesus that our lives are transformed. You see, we can put a smile on our faces, say all the right things, do all of the right things, and try to behave as the “perfect Christian”, but without Christ living in us and working through us, we will eventually become exhausted and return to our old way of living. Instead, the good works that we accomplish should be a result of our Salvation. So, does that means that good works do not matter? Absolutely not! These works allow us to look and act opposite of the world around us. These actions allow us to stand out from the crowd and be a representative of Christ. These good works come alive in us when we put off the “old self” and put on the “new self”. Though good works will never gain us Salvation, they should be a result of our Salvation.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Ephesians 5:16
The life of a Christian isn’t indicated by perfection. But instead, it is visible in us when we walk by the spirit. This simply means that we seek God and His plans for our lives. We do this through the relationship that begins when we become children of God. We seek to please Him over the desires of our flesh. When we go through each day just trying to achieve things that satisfy our fleshly desires and “make us happy” we are in opposition of the Spirit. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, leading us and directing us was made possible when Jesus was resurrected into Heaven, and He sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and help us to walk in a manner that pleases God and is evident to the ones around us.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” Galatians 5:19-21
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Just as the Bible gives us examples of what our lives crave when we walk in our sinful flesh, it also shows us the gifts of walking by the Spirit. Is there anything about these that look similar? No! They both look vastly different. And as it should be with our lives. You can’t satisfy the flesh and the spirit at the same time. There is no middle ground, no halfway, no compromise. The life of a Christian is not a temporary change or a wardrobe change, instead, it is a transformation of our hearts from old to new.
Can you say today with assurance that you are walking by the Spirit toward Christ? Or are your eyes set on your earthly gains and what offers temporary happiness? I can tell you from experience that the joy that comes from walking with God is unmatched by any pleasure that this world can offer.
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Our Bible Reading plan this week will cover living for the flesh or walking by the Spirit. Don't forget to subscribe to the blogs and you will receive the pdf printable version of the reading plan.
Many of us have mastered the disciplines of gathering as a church on Sunday morning, but what does the rest of your week look like? What would it look like for you to have a tool that helped you grow in your relationship with the Lord every day of the week? I can tell you what it looks like because I’ve experienced it! Your relationship is going to grow. You may even realize that you are forming a true relationship for the first time! That’s what Growing in God is all about! Are you ready to take the next step? I want to walk along beside you.