God's intent is that as new believers, we become different people. We are "under construction." We're being transformed from the inside out. The chief architect of these changes is God himself. As a loving father, he comes alongside to personally direct our growth.
Once a solid spiritual foundation has been set in place, we are able to grow into the new life God has promised us. The Bible calls this “maturing in Christ.” As I can readily attest, it is a lifelong process.
God’s intent is that as new believers, we become different people. We are “under construction.” We’re being transformed from the inside out. The chief architect of these changes is God himself. As a loving father, he comes alongside to personally direct our growth.
From my experience, and in observing others, some dramatic new patterns emerge. Harmful habits change. Attitudes, thinking and language move to a new level. Motives come under scrutiny. We ask, “Why on earth did I do that!” God shows us how to behave differently and we move on.
The process continues. Selfishness gives way to service. Relationships with others are restored. Bitterness, envy, jealousy and hatred diminish as love increases. We experience a new dimension of joy. Not overnight, but steadily, progressively. Profound adjustments are underway. We realize it is true – we really are new creations because Christ is living in us!
These inward changes soon become visible. The new believer wants to get together with others who also have a faith in Christ. We’re not alone! Fresh bonds of trust, love and mutual respect are forged.
The Bible, God’s own inspired word to us, becomes a newfound friend, now more relevant and understandable. We encounter the Holy Spirit, the indwelling presence of Jesus himself. We discover he is an incredible guide if we give him access.
But our new relationship brings needed constraints. It is not “anything goes,” for we see that our God is a holy God. He is to be honored, revered and obeyed. As we embrace the high standards he has set for us, we realize even they are for our benefit. In fact, everything he provides us and does for us is for our good.
Our new life in Christ is not one of unbroken success. There are fresh challenges. Old habits and old associations don’t change easily. Conflicts arise. There are even spiritual forces that oppose us. We doubt. We become discouraged.
Yet it’s different. We’re not on our own. We have entered a new and living bond with Jesus Christ. He leads. We follow. Our faith is set on a new foundation – and that foundation is Christ. How wonderful and reassuring are his words to us: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
In time, the transformed life impacts everything we are and do. Recall the relationship Adam experienced with God before the fall. Would not the Lord want to see that kind of fellowship restored, even in our work? As one business owner commented in an interview with the Harvard Business Review, “I would love to get the workplace as close to the Garden as possible, knowing we can’t. But I shouldn’t stop trying.” (HBR, Jan-Feb 1999.)» Part 12: Alan's Story