God Desires to Renovate Us from the Inside Out
God doesn’t ask us to change ourselves.
We would be totally incapable of making a dent in the way we think, feel, or act. But we do need to recognize our mistakes, failures, and sin, then turn to the only One who can change us. We must be willing to examine our lives, confess our sins, and let God make the adjustments.
Oswald Chambers in Our Utmost for His Highest, explains it like this: “If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn’t ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right. A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say, “Oh, I can explain that.” When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing, and God will deal with it.”
“Accept the light of truth” and God will make the necessary changes in us. Change. That’s the hard part here.
Is it possible to truly be changed?
The circumstances of your birth, your home life, your childhood, your past life are just that…your past. We can’t change certain aspects of our being. But God can and will use those things to accomplish all He wants to do in us.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
When I was in college at Baylor University, I had an experience one fall evening that was surreal, a poignant memory that has provided definition to my life when nothing else made sense.
As a child of the 60s and 70s, the counterculture movement was rampant. Hippies, love beads, campus riots, Woodstock. I had been a high school cheerleader in a conservative Southern city who pushed the limits in minuscule ways, like flying a kite out the third story window in cheerleader study hall.
But Jesus captured my heart during the Jesus Movement of the early 70s, so basically, I became a Jesus freak, on a Baptist campus in Waco, Texas. Pretty funny. A total, rule-following, sold-out radical in a very safe environment.
God has a sense of humor.
Anyway, I was the girl in the blue jean cut-offs, flip-flops, carrying a Bible, leading dorm room Bible studies, and reflecting the glory of God on my countenance. That’s what people said. I literally shone with God’s presence.
Not bragging…coming to the humbling part.
One fall evening my freshman year at Baylor, I strolled along the Brazos River. The sun was sinking as I settled beside the river to pray and contemplate life. The moon began to rise on the horizon, and I watched as moonbeams glistened across the rippling water, sparkling like diamonds. Reflecting the glory of God.
I thought about Moses after he had been in God’s presence and how his face shone so much, he had to cover it.
Sweet, I was like Moses.
A remarkable transformation occurred as I observed the moon’s ascent across the now pitch-black sky. The moon’s reflection on the river face morphed into an underwater glow deep within the watery depths. The color changed from glistening silver to a blood red radiance exuding from the darkened riverbed.
I received an intimate download from God that evening which humbled me and has colored my entire outlook on life and this Christian walk: Reflecting His glory isn’t enough.
Our character must match His calling, and only He can accomplish this daunting task.
God showed me He didn’t want to merely be reflected on my face, but He wanted to renovate me from the inside out. God wanted the glow of His presence to emanate from the deepest part of me, the place where I was a mess.
I knew reflecting His glory would never be enough. This transformation would be a life-long process of changing my character to better match His.
Forty-plus years later, I can attest to the thoroughness of God’s work, even through difficult times. Especially then. He works His nature in us so we might fully love, fully serve, and fully fulfill His calling. I wish I could say I had been perfectly upgraded by now, but I’m still a work in progress.
We all are.
His worthy goal is manifesting the nature and character of Jesus in us. Why? Because He delights in us. Because He desires to fulfill every need of our lives with Himself. Because we are His ambassadors to a lost and dying world, envoys for the Kingdom of God.
Because He loves us.
“Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” Romans 12:2 The Passion Translation