Last week, we talked about our need to be on a trajectory of life change. That is, we are not to remain static in our relationship with Christ, but to be ever growing and becoming more like Him in His character. We want to put aside sin in our life and take on the character of Christ. The question we want to pose today is, how does this transformation occur?
First, we recognize that we cannot become more Christlike apart from the grace or power of God. We are all needy before Him. We cannot simply decide to stop sinning. We can’t beat the flesh in the power of the flesh. But we also recognize that we are not passive in this process either. There is a “dependent/diligence” involved in our spiritual transformation.
What I mean by “dependent/diligence” is that we are totally and utterly dependent on the Lord and His grace to transform us, AND He asks us to be totally engaged in diligently pursuing His grace to transform us. We see this duo, dependent/diligence working together in numerous places in Scripture.
In John 15, for instance, Jesus uses the metaphor of the vine and branches to describe our dependent relationship in Him. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) We see from this that in order to bear fruit, just like a branch on a vine, we are totally dependent on Christ.
But in that passage, He urges us repeatedly to abide in, or remain in Him. We are to be diligent in our efforts to abide in or live in Christ. And as we draw near to Christ and live in Him, we cannot remain unchanged. In His presence we are transformed!
Another clear passage that demonstrates this dependent/diligence is 2 Peter 1. In verse 3, Peter says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life…”. That’s our dependence in God. But then in verse 5, Peter continues, “For this very reason, make every effort…”. That’s our diligence. We diligently rely on God’s grace to become more like Him.
One of the means through which we can diligently grow in our relationship with Christ is through the spiritual disciplines. Some of these include reading and studying the Word, prayer, solitude, fasting, resting, worship, simplicity, spiritual partnership, and others. The primary purpose of any spiritual discipline is to help us deepen our relationship with Christ, and in this way He transforms us.
Christ transforms us as we spend time with Him. This occurs in real life and not just in so-called spiritual exercises or experiences. In all of life, we need to diligently pursue His grace. Pursue Christ. Abide in Him and watch Him change you!
Scripture Reading: Romans 8:5–13
In what ways is Christ changing you right now? In what ways do you need to be more diligent in pursuing your relationship with Him?
Jim Grassi, D. Min.
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5