I do a lot of journal praying. In fact, when I'm gone from this life and my family sorts through what is left, they are going to find a LOT of journal pages and I kind of hope they don't bother to read them. After all, my prayers are private, they reveal to God alone the deepest part of me, and if you're like me, you don't like sharing that, even with your closest loved ones. But by then, I won't be here, so if they do choose to read what's left, it won't bother me. I hope they can learn from my mistakes. My point in this (sorry for the detour) is that at the bottom of the pages in many of my journals are verses from Scripture and it is interesting to me how often the verse reflects exactly what I need that day. Yesterday as I was reading Psalms and recording my thoughts the verse said, "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." Romans 12:2.
I learned this verse in a different version - "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (And yes, I have often prayed He would!) But this new way of saying the verse struck a chord. God is the one who does the transforming, after all.
The thing is, I think it's easier to avoid the Scripture (and God) because we don't want God to be the one to change our thinking. (Raising a guilty hand here, because God's ways are not easy.) We want to hear things that will make us feel good, never suggest that perhaps we need to turn around, to change. If you're like me, you don't really like the idea that maybe, something we do or something in our lives might need fixing. (But aren't we all broken? Don't we all need a savior?) Saving from what, you might ask...We need saving from deception, like that very first lie Eve believed, "You will not surely die." We want to believe that lie because the alternative leaves us wondering...what then? And saving from the sins that separate us from God. But sin is not a popular word these days and honestly, it's hard to admit we're a sinner. But I bet most of us know it in the deep places of the heart. I know I do, even if I don't always admit it. But admitting sin is the beginning of admitting that we need to change, to transform into a new person.
If you've ever watched a caterpillar in its cocoon, you know that the butterfly can never emerge (transform) without going through a complete metamorphosis (change). The worm grows wings and flies. Much like the sinner inside of us turns into a new person and rises on wings like eagles, sailing the skies in search of the divine.
God is knowable. And God is reachable, big as He is. He may even visit some of us in dreams. (This is happening all over the world and many people are finding Jesus.) But He doesn't reveal Himself to us if we stubbornly cling to our cocoons and never pick up His Word to find Him. We might see Him in nature, or in dreams, as I mentioned, but we won't know Him until we search Him out. He changes the way we think by giving us new words to chew on. Words that come straight from His heart to ours.
"Let God transform you into a new person..."
Sometimes that transformation needs a little help from a trusted friend or counselor. I think that is wisdom. This morning I awoke early and found my way to my office to spend time with my favorite Bible (1984 NIV - no longer in print). King David's words are still relevant to today's struggles. Asaph's life reflects my own. And so many more. But I can't share the beauty of what they learned if I don't spend time reading their stories.
How about you? Are you struggling today with something and wondering how you're going to make it through? Is your thinking clouded and you want to change it but don't know how? May I suggest Romans 12:2? "Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think."
"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away, the new has come."
Only God can take a person and truly change a life from the inside out. We are born one person and we grow and become who we are based on many factors. We may limp along in life seeking joy and peace and the ultimate happiness. But really, in my years on this earth, I haven't found joy or happiness in circumstances or friends, family or activities or any one thing.
My truest joy in only found in one Person--Jesus.
Most people and pretty much every material thing will disappoint us at some point in our lives. But when Jesus transforms us - truly changes us - and believe me that is a heart change that can't be faked for long because when God changes a heart it lasts. He doesn't let us fall. We will struggle. We will suffer and we will face things we never wanted just because we're His. That can cause a lot of people to say, "No thanks." But if we are His and get disillusioned or scared or doubt and we walk away, He is the ultimate pursuer (because shepherds pursue lost sheep until they're found--and we are sheep in God's vocabulary) and he will find us.
I heard it recently said that shepherds in another country looked for a lost sheep for six years until they finally found it - alive! That's dedication. And so like our God who loves us so completely, despite all the wrong things we do.
But the real question comes down to this...are we truly happy being who we we are right now? Or is something missing in that deep place where we don't share with others, that spot that we know exists but we hate to visit because it leaves us empty? The place only our journals and God knows exists.
Can you relate?
Are we willing to let God change us by changing our minds with His Word?
Because He is willing. But we have to let Him.