Do you like change? Many people don’t. Some don’t acknowledge the need to change. Others are just too stubborn or selfish to change. Fear also prevents us from changing. But if we truly desire change, and, more importantly, to be more like Jesus, we must be willing to die to ourselves so that Jesus can live in and through us.
Jesus was great at transforming things. He transformed water into wine and created bushel baskets overflowing with more than enough food to feed hundreds from a few fishes and loaves of bread. Jesus even quieted raging seas and blustery winds into calm waters and balmy breezes.
There were many miracles and transformations of the sick. The invalid who laid by the pool for thirty eight years. The invalid was faithful, though, and was at the pool everyday, hoping beyond hope, that today was the day he would somehow manage to get into the pool and be healed. Can you imagine his surprise when Jesus appeared at the pool and asked him if he wanted to be healed? What must the man have been thinking? Feeling? Did he understand that he was in the presence of the Almighty God about to be presented with an amazing gift? What joy he must have experienced when Jesus bent down to talk to him, to listen to his story and then to be healed, completely and totally.
Consider the man with leprosy who sought Jesus out and begged Him on bended knee to heal him. The man believed in his heart that if Jesus was willing, that he would be made clean. Jesus was filled with compassion and love as He reached out His hand to touch him and make him whole.
What about the blind man or the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years? They too were healed. Other miracles occurred for those who were demon possessed. Why did these miracles occur? Because these people asked for, believed in and claimed the healing, transformational powers of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t just perform miracles. He performed miracles with a message.
Have you experienced the message and transformational power of Jesus? At the age of 48 I did. It was March 25, 2001, and on that day, my husband Roger and I walked into Valley Church for the first time. Pastor Quintin’s message was about forgiveness and we both knew we needed it big time! A few days later, God sent us several wonderful Christian men and women to guide and direct us on our Christian journey. One of our goals was and is to become more like Him. We didn’t truly understand what would be involved, but we knew it wasn’t a 10 step program or a quick fix. From the moment we entered into a relationship with Jesus until our final breath, we are being transformed and changed.
One of the first things we needed to do was to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Secondly, we asked God to “create pure hearts in us and renew steadfast spirits within us.” (Ps 51:10) We eventually understood that “through His divine power we have everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Pet. 1:3)
That was a wonderful start, but we also came to realize that this place is not our home and we must keep our sights on our eternal home. Romans 12: 1-2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. This way you can test and approve what God’s will is, His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
We didn’t know how to do that, but our Christian mentors did. They shared scripture with us and walked us through the Bible. We were encouraged to read, study, memorize and meditate on God’s Word. Prayer and praises in daily quiet communion with Him was heavily stressed. We learned that it was okay to pour out our hearts to God. He could handle it and love us through it. It didn’t take us long to figure out that if we wanted to have a meaningful, close relationship with Jesus and get to know Him intimately, we needed to spend time with Him.
The process of being transformed is simple, but it is not always easy. It is never over until the day we meet Jesus in Heaven. God peels away those areas in our lives that need to be changed like the layers of an onion or the leaves of an artichoke. We must be open to laying every area of our lives at His feet so that we can be and do exactly as He would like us to be...hearers and doers of the Word of God. He can use all of us if we are open to and ready for it. Unlike some of the miracles in the Gospels, transformation in every area of our life doesn’t happen overnight. But, like the invalid at the pool or the man with leprosy, you too can ask for and believe in God’s transformational power for yourself. With compassion and love, Jesus will bend down His ear to hear you, reach out His hand and touch you. Are you ready to be transformed by Jesus?
Shari and her husband, Roger have attended Valley for 10+ years. She serves on the Women’s Ministry Leadership Team, teaches Bible Study and heads up Connecting Women to Women. In addition to her love and passion for Jesus, Shari enjoys helping others grow in their relationship with Him. She also uses her “organizational” skills and practices to help people in their homes and businesses. Shari enjoys helping others develop healthy lifestyle,. and…perhaps her greatest joy is spending time with her grandchildren