Saturday, August 16, 2014

Inside Out

by Tim Howard

OK, I admit it, I like playing with my grandson’s Transformers. Who wouldn’t? Alien robots who can disguise themselves by transforming into everyday machinery – a truck that changes into an airplane or a car that becomes a mighty battleship with the ability to launch missiles is exciting.  I like things that change! Full disclosure:  I also liked the movie ‘Transformers’ and it’s sequels… Now you have the full confession!

Change is one of those things in life you can count on. It happens – whether you want it to or not! One day you are young and see yourself in a certain way – then years later, the mirror of life reveals some changes in your looks, your status, your motivations for living and the goals which you pursue. Sometimes these changes seem to be for good and other times not so good.
Unfortunately many of us struggle with change when the force of it encroaches upon our comfort zone. Our desire for comfort and convenience can often lead to a resistance to change and catapult us into a life of maintenance rather than adventure. Change is important because it’s the first step to transformation.

Change initially modifies behavior but the goal of transformation is to alter your value and desires. The Bible isn’t primarily focused on ‘change’ but upon ‘transformation.’ There’s a big difference.

When you are transformed you ‘become’ someone who is different. You can change the channel on the television; change the way you dress or change your direction but stopping there doesn’t address the real issues – only the external ones. God is ultimately interested in a change that leads to transformation – a change that happens from the Inside – Out.
Allow me to give you a personal illustration of what I mean. Recently I was on vacation and allowed myself to eat anything I wanted. That resulted in a few added pounds to carry around. Seven days prior to the end of my time away I was looking at myself in the mirror and decided to make a change in my diet. I wanted to lower my calorie and fat intake! That decision led to other behavioral changes.
For breakfast I had to stop myself from eating that egg, bacon and cheese sandwich, which had 460 calories and 20 fat. For lunch I had to say no to that tempting Southern Smokehouse Bacon Big Mouth Burger that offered 1610 calories and 107 fats.  (The very name of that burger ought to say something to you.) So I did! I had oatmeal for breakfast and a tuna sandwich for lunch. I made a change for 7 days but I wasn’t transformed.

How do I know? Because one of the signs that you haven’t been transformed is – you want to go back. Transformation happens when you no longer want that burger. In fact, you now desire something that doesn’t make you lethargic. Something that doesn’t makes you sleepy. Something that isn’t unhealthy.
Transformation is experienced when your values have shifted and your desires have shifted to such a point that you want to go ahead and not back. It happens when you want to change the inside as well as the outside.
Jesus made a scathing statement to the religious leaders who only focused on external change. Matt. 23:25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.”

Jesus calls for a change that leads to transformation – Inside and Out!

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