Week Eight - Day Two
Do I need help being Transformed?
Ephesians 4:17-19 - Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
The verses describe a person’s natural state due to sin - alienated from God. In these Scriptures, Paul explains that an unbeliever’s “hardness of heart” is the reason God’s desires aren’t obvious or understood. This resembles the “heart of stone” that God desired to replace when he spoke through Ezekiel to the Israelites (Ezekiel 36:26). An unbeliever has a heart that focuses on and pursues his/her own desires. Without God revealing himself, those who do not believe will continue to choose to remain in the dark.
Thankfully, God declares us righteous and gives us salvation when he gives us a new heart with new desires. But, the process of transformation is di erent; even though we are declared righteous by Jesus’ death on the cross, we are not made perfect in this life. The process of salvation is God’s work alone (Titus 3:5), while transformation is a gradual process in which we are invited to participate with the Holy Spirit.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). In the process of transformation, we don’t always know what is in our own heart or what is coming out of it. Sometimes we hold onto the pleasures we once knew and continue to pursue them more earnestly than following after Jesus. Our heart coaxes our minds into coming up with all kinds of justifications for why this is “right.” We say we believe what the Bible says, but the way we live does not reflect that reality. This is called a “gospel gap.”4
When we have a gap between what we say we believe and our actions, God gives us his Holy Spirit and other believers to help us become aware of this disparity. God does this so we can help others recognize the gap in themselves and encourage re- pentance when needed. But, he also gives us each other so we can rejoice with one another in victory as the promised transformation occurs in our lives.
- List 2-3 victories God has given you over the sinful desires of your heart and/or gospel gaps.
- As you grow in transformation, what may be one way the body of believers can help you? In what ways are you open and available to help others with their transformation?
- Write that down and share it in your Discipleship Group this week?