Many of you will recall that I smashed the outer-most section of my right index finger back in August. My fingernail is growing back well (probably be a couple more months til it’s totally replaced). Well, the front of the finger is also less than fully recovered to pre-injury status. I caught my finger between two pieces of heavy steel while trying to put a loose forklift fork back on a pallet that we had just loaded onto my trailer. The steel tore through my skin, muscles, and tendons down to the bone. Seven stitches held the skin together while the scar tissue formed at the site.
As a result, I can’t bend that finger down all the way. When I try to make a fist that finger doesn’t want to join his counterparts in the effort (I guess I shouldn’t be needing to do that as a committed Christian anyway. Right?). So now I’m going through physical therapy to try to get that finger to do what it was designed to do in the first place. It reminds me of a verse in the Bible (I’ll change some of the words to get the message to fit): Romans 12:2: Do not be conformed to any longer to the image of your injury, but be transformed by the renewing of your muscles and tendons to the original design for your full use.
You see the damage caused by the accident has made it so that finger can’t perform its full capabilities. How many of us have been damaged during our life to keep us from being all that we are intended to be? If we were sitting in a classroom setting everybody’s hand would be raised right now. That’s why God had Paul put that verse in the Bible.
Most of us had at least one parent who was delinquent in their duties of rearing us as God would like to see it done. As a result we pass on the blame for our own inabilities to carry on proper relationships to that cause. We could read that verse as follows: Don’t be conformed any longer to the image of your parent, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to treat others as God wants you to behave.
Others have been treated so badly by others, been taken advantage of and abused when we were in a vulnerable place in our life, that we have fallen into a pattern of poor choices that we feel destined to live. We could read that verse: Don’t be conformed by your self-image that has been established by the abuse you have lived through, but be transformed by the renewing of your spirit. Then you will be able to break free to live the life God has intended for you to live.
Others have fallen victim to the fast track of the corporate world. The company comes first, “My wife and kids are being taken care of by all this money I’m making for them”,we tell ourself. We quickly lose touch with what’s really important in life. We try to make what little time we do have with them “quality time.” The reality is that quality time only comes from the investment of quantity time. I don’t need to change the words of the verse for this scenario: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
You see, there is a way to break the chain that has been established in your family background. There is a way to break free from the life choices and addictions that weigh us down. There is a way to shake even our own feelings of inadequacy. There is a way to break free from all the excuses we use to live a life that is less than what God designed us for. It’s being TRANSFORMED.
When God created butterflies He made a creature that lives out this principle for us on an annual basis. When this critter hatches from its egg it doesn’t have wings, all it has is a set of multiple legs, and an insatiable appetite for whatever leaf it is on. At a set point in its developement a transformation takes place, a time of dormancy sets in as the necessary changes transpire. When the bug comes out of its enclosure it has wings and long legs. The last thing it wants to do is eat a leaf. As soon as it’s strong enough it takes to the air and finds the first flower available so it can take in the sweet nectar now available to it.
That, my friend, is the essence of the Christian life. The main difference is that the butterfly doesn’t have a choice in the matter, she only does what she has to do to survive at whatever stage of life she finds herself in. People are given the choice to maintain the sinful circumstances they start out in, or be changed into what God has designed them for.
2 Corinthians chapter 5 holds many lessons that tie in here. Verse 17 states that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” “But, how does this change take place in people?” you’re wondering; “I mean, we don’t grow wings or anything.” Verse 5 explains that it’s an inner event when God places His Holy Spirit in us as a deposit to assure us that we have truly been transformed. How much change takes place depends on the amount of effort each person puts into this new relationship with their Creator.
Some choose to stay in the old way of eating leaves when they could be drinking holy nectar. Reading the Bible and attending a Church that teaches from it each week is the best advice I can give you to learn of the changes God wants you to experience.
I’ll see you later. Wade