There are times when I wonder if I’m making much progress in my spiritual life. I’ll hear a message or have a worship experience which really stirs me to want to move on with the Lord and experience more of His life and presence. However, unless I have some specific response to that inner call of the Holy Spirit, it’s not long before it begins to slip away.
That’s why I’ve increasingly found myself in relationships that are open and honest so that I can discover obedience that transforms my spiritual life.
Transformed lives are the true measurement of the effectiveness of any ministry. It’s not numbers, programs, slick technology or the best music.
This may not stir our senses quite as much, but what I believe the Lord looks for is growth in character as a sign of His presence. Spiritual gifts and manifestations are one of the ways that we tend to measure the activity of the Lord, but over the longer journey it’s changed lives!
The past few years I’ve been spending time with a number of men that have experienced pretty dramatic changes in their priorities, their prayer lives and most important, what they really enjoy doing with others. Whereas they used to be reluctant participants in times of fellowship and/or ministry, they are now looking for opportunities to be engaged. What used to be casual indifference or sometimes outright skepticism has been replaced by a hunger and open pursuit of the things of God.
This is remarkable to me. It’s not something you expect to see from anyone over 50 years old, but I’m seeing it on a week by week basis.
This is what Paul exhorts us to pursue in Colosians 3:12-14.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
I can’t imagine a relational dynamic more appealing than what these three verses seem to describe. This is the transformed life. This is what it would mean to life together in the love, joy and peace that Christ intended for us.
Transformation is something that we do by simple steps of engagement. We literally must “train yourself to be godly.” I Timothy 4:7 In other words, it’s not trying to be more caring, more available, more compassionate or sensitive. It’s actually taking measurable steps one day at a time and watching God empower those changes in a way that not only you, but others, begin to notice. That’s transformation. That’s the kind of life change that our culture cannot replicate in it’s own strength.