Go Beyond Just Good Morals to True Transformation
- Thursday, October 11, 2007
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Gary Thomas's new book, The Beautiful Fight: Surrendering to the Transforming Presence of God Every Day of Your Life, (Zondervan, 2007).
It’s good to know the truth and to do what’s right, but true Christianity is about much more than simply what you believe and how you behave. The faith is nothing less than a beautiful fight in which God wants to transform you completely, for His glory.
So don’t settle for anything less than the best. Here’s how you can go beyond just good moral behavior to true transformation:
Experience God every day. Understand that you can’t truly connect to God through mere morality. Rather than just believing in God, reach out to Him every day to experience His presence, power, and wisdom. Instead of just discussing issues, praying about them, and feeling inspired by them, put your faith into action every day. Realize that no matter how much you know about God, what matters most is what you know of God through a close relationship with Him. Don’t limit your discipleship to what you can accomplish through your own energy; ultimately, that will be nothing of eternal value. Set aside your personal agenda and invite God to act on your soul however He chooses to do so. Rely on God’s unlimited power rather than your own limited power. Know that you can best reach others for Christ simply by letting them see the compelling ways God is working through your life.
Surrender to the work Jesus is doing right now. Remember that, after His time on Earth, Jesus ascended to heaven to continue His reign – and that He is still there, calling all believers to become more and more like He is now. Ask God to help you overcome pride, so you can shift your focus from working to build influence for yourself to surrendering to Jesus’ influence on a minute-by-minute basis, helping to build His kingdom, which will outlive you. Instead of trying to impress other people through your own abilities, let them see how God is manifesting Himself through you.
Invite God to use you to do His work in a hurting world. Recognize that, by embracing God’s transforming work in your life, you can become an oasis for hurting people in our fallen world. Confess and repent of habitual sin in your life that’s desensitizing you to God’s work in the world. Ask God to help you care about what He cares about. Offer yourself to God to use in His service.
Ask God to give you eyes that can see well. Pray for God to give you His perspective on reality, helping you to see yourself as He sees you, and to see other people as He sees them. When facing important decisions, pray about each situation: “God, how does this look to you?” Understand that it’s not enough to be guided by morality alone, abstaining from lust, prejudice, or disdain when you look at people. Instead, move toward transformed sight that views people with honor, respect, and compassion. Be humble, realizing that you deserve hell, but God has chosen to spare you. Let your gratitude for God’s grace and awe and reverence for His power motivate you to view Him – and the people He has made in His image – with the right perspective. Ask God to cure you of spiritual blindness that forgets His wonderful work. Pray for Him to give you the light you need to see what He wants you to see. Make a covenant with your eyes to turn away from looking at negative, impure things and to focus instead on positive, pure things. Train your eyes to read the Bible often and incorporate its truth into your life. Worship with your eyes by focusing your sight on God’s majesty and glory.
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