Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
In those moments of weakness, we’ve all wondered if change is indeed possible. Can something awkward ever become a normal reaction? Instead of displaying anger, can we exhibit patience? Rather than thinking judgmental thoughts, will we respond with compassion? Rather than reacting based on our emotions can we respond to disruptions based on our faith? Can forgiveness conquer where bitterness reigned?
The prospects of change can be both exhilarating and frightening, sometimes simultaneously. If we allow God to form us into His image, we will be tested, challenged and pushed to extremes. Numerous twists and turns will greet us along the way. Sometimes the view from the top of the hill where transformation resides will appear too steep and daunting.
It’s in those moments, we need to keep pushing, because in the midst of the struggle we can find the joy and peace our hearts crave. Formation is the process by which our lives become an increasingly accurate expression of our true identity in Christ. God shaping and forming us is an expression of His love. We are being shaped into His image.
This goes deeper than behavior modification. God isn’t interested in mindless obedience. He is after our heart. It’s not about changing our behavior. It’s about capturing and changing our heart, stepping into our new identity and growing deeper in our faith with Him.
The reality is we can obey all the rules and still miss the point.
Disciplines help us to know what to do until we understand why we do it. Formation requires submission to the truth over time. We are changed by what we believe. Many of us spend our days clueless about what we believe and allow unchecked desires to run wild.
If we want to be transformed, it starts with our mind and engaging in the process of awareness and alignment. It begins by examining what we believe, why we believe it and how those beliefs are impacting our actions and worldview. Then we take those beliefs and compare them to what God’s Word says.
We must learn to surrender to the Truth in order to be shaped by God. Allowing what we experience to sink deeper begins by positioning ourselves to focus and depend on God’s work in our heart and life.
Formation requires submission to the truth over time. Where do you need to trust the process and rely on endurance when it comes to the growth you desire?
God, rather than growing restless when change doesn’t come easily, I will stay engaged in the process. I desire to exhibit perseverance while trusting You with every step that I take. I will courageously walk by faith,, knowing what Your ultimate goal is - my heart reflecting Your own. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.