The Process of Transformation
Hello my friends. Today I want to talk to you about the process of transformation that he is taking you through, if you are a born again follower of Christ. Let me begin by reminding you that God has a plan for your life. What is that plan? Well, it is unique for each one of us, but at the same time there are several parts of it that are common to all of us. For example, it is God's will for you to become more like Jesus. In Romans 8:29 (NLT) the apostle Paul wrote, "For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son..." That life long process of being made like Jesus is referred to as sanctification. And in 1 Thessalonians 4:3 (NIV) the apostle Paul wrote, "It is God's will that you should be sanctified..." It is also God's will that our hearts should continuously overflow with thanksgiving to the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV) tells us "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." We may not like to hear this, but it is also sometimes God's will that we suffer. 1 Peter 4:19 (NIV) says, "So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good."
Speaking of suffering, this is one of the tools that God uses to transform us. Romans 5:3-4 (NIV) tells us "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Here we find one of the processes that God most often uses to transform us into the image of his Son. It starts with suffering. What we must remember is that there are some lessons that we can only learn through suffering. We often wish there was another way but sometimes there simply isn't. Suffering produces perseverance. Sometimes we refer to this as patience. Perhaps the most accurate translation would be long-suffering. When we endure difficult circumstances for the cause of Christ God begins to produce in us perseverance. And as we persevere God begins to do something else. He produces character. Show me a man or a woman of great character and you can be sure that they have been through some great trials. And let me tell you that the world desperately needs more individuals of great character. And finally this process produces in us hope. What is hope? It is the firm belief that things are going to get better soon. It is the assurance that hard times won't last forever. It is believing that God is going to fix it after a while. If you take away a man's hope, he has nothing left. The songwriter said it well when he wrote, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness..." God is in the process of transforming you into the image of his son. To do this he often uses suffering. But suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and character fills our heart with hope in our God.