Obstacle 6 // We Have Underestimated the Transformative Power of God.
Many of us are familiar with Paul's words in Romans 12:1-2:
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (NLT)
We preach it. We teach it. We quote it. Do we actually believe it?
One of the main critiques from the Hemorrhaging Faith report highlighted how many young people walked away from the Christian faith because they didn't see positive transformation in those who proclaimed to be Christians. Or perhaps they weren't told about them.
We underestimate the transformative power of God.
Here are three (not all of them) reasons why with some questions to consider:
1. We do not have a healthy relationship with God.
Referring back to obstacle #1, if we don't have a healthy relationship with God, then we won't be transformed by him. We don't trust him in renewing our minds. We tend to want to pursue our own agendas through our own methods. We don't trust God and his transformative power; it's as simple as that.
Question: Am I in a right, healthy relationship with God. What needs to be readjusted or reconciled?
2. We don't acknowledge the supernatural.
Many western-oriented minds tend to be skeptical of the supernatural. There are examples of "supernatural" occurrences being fraudulent. For some of us who still have roots in modernity, we tend to trust what can be scientifically proven i.e. sensed, tested and repeated. Many of our approaches tend to follow this premise. (e.g. Some churches who witness a "successful program" from another church try to adopt or transplant that program into their own context.)
Yet God exists beyond our three-dimensional, time-bound existence. We read in Scripture how the heavenly realm intersects with our temporal realm. Jesus himself, being fully God and fully human, is the key intersection between these two. (That aspect of Jesus still blows my mind.) The supernatural/spiritual/unseen realm exists and operates often without our notice.
Question: What ways can I take notice of what's happening in the unseen realm? What ways does God work outside of the paradigm/understanding I'm used to? How might I acknowledge those moments in light of Scripture and the body of Christ?
3. We tend not to share moments when God has transformed us individually and collectively.
Many of us tend to be individualistic in our faith. For some of us, we don't share much of God's work in transforming our thinking and our lives because we don't want to seem boastful or we minimize what God's work in us.
But Paul reminds us that he boasted not of what he did but what Christ did in and through him (Phil. 3:1-4a). Generation Z is asking, "Does this faith work?" So let's share of how God is actually transforming us, whether through intimate moments with him or in large-scale movements by his Spirit.
Question: How am I sharing testimonies of his transformative work in me, in our community and in others?
7eventh Time Down reminds us in their song, "God is on the move, on the move, Hallelujah". God continues to move powerfully often without our notice and sometimes in spite of our lack of faith. Yet he continues to invite us to experience and share his transformative power.
So how will we be transformed?