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Monday, June 13, 2016

Improving? Just Do It

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

There have been a few different studies published that have reported of different things that improve with age. One said, Personalities improve with age. Another said, Love improves with age. Another said, Sex improves with age. Another said, Wine improves with age. I can just hear a few of you thinking, They didn’t improve with age in my life.

God’s will for us as Christians is that we improve with age. When God created man He spoke and said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…" Genesis 1:26 That would be a maturing process as we learned of Jesus, received Him as our Savior, and then let transformation happen within us guided and helped by the power of the Holy Spirit who would live within us. He gave Pastors and other spiritual gifts to aid in that maturity.

Ephesians 4:12-13 reveals, "The responsibility of Pastors and these spiritual gifts is to equip God's people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ." These words are a call for us to learn God’s purpose for our lives and mature in walking it out.

God gives us the promise of His love and the gift of His acceptance despite our short comings so that we won’t become discouraged as we make progress in our personal change. He then says, "Because we have these promises (His assurance of acceptance and love), dear friends, let us now go on to cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete purity (perfecting holiness) because we reverently fear (respect and honor.)" God. 2 Corinthians 7:1 These are words about improving with age in life.

As we do seek God’s Word and make changes so that we can improve in life, 2 Corianthians 3:18 tells us, "...we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more."  The first half of this verse says, that we want to change so that we can become like mirrors that reflect His glory. I think most of us jump in front of a mirror each day to improve upon how we look after getting out of bed. Amazingly, some of us go from looking scary to looking beautiful or handsome. That is what the Word of God is to do in us—to make us look more like Jesus so that to others we reflect Him and His love. Over time the final result will be what Colossians 3:10 shares with us. "…You have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you."

Being like Jesus. That is our goal with the hope that when we reflect His image, people will want to know more and learn about Him opening the door and opportunity to spill with the good news of His love.

Having said that and being one that thinks often about this desired transformation in myself, I am reminded by a parable of Jesus. He gave some strong words to the religious leaders of His day that were more about appearance than the acceptance of His words and their personal transformation. Jesus told them a parable. "There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' " 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you." Matthew 21:28-31

These are powerful and sobering words. They are exposing lip service and good intentions (or not) from obedience and real heart and life transformation. They have always reminded me of a commercial on television I’ve always loved—the old Nike commercial that said, “Just Do It.” It was implying quit making excuses. Quit over thinking it. Just do it!

Do I ever have days where I’m more about lip service? Well my intentions may always be right, but sometimes my actions simply don't match. Intentions are good but God wants transformation and He has given us His Word which is inherent with power and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us. He created us to be His reflection in this earth so that people can see Him. He wants us to get on with it rather than just talk about it!

James 1:22 (NIV) "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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