Letting Christ Transform You From The Inside Out
1. We ask God to open our eyes and hearts to our true condition (how much others have hurt us, how broken we really are and the ways we have hurt others).
Jesus taught about our brokenness and our need for healing. Our brokenness stems from being born into a "broken world" that follows the distorted principles, from being abused by others (in situations we had no control of) and damaged, and from believing that God is like the ones who have abused or hurt us. Jesus validated our need for healing and restoration. We hurt others when we don't get help with our distorted perspective of God, and in turn, act out and repeat this same abusive behavior to others in our lives. Thus, the cycle of pain continues. The ones who have distorted God's image to us (especially authority figures who have misrepresented God) owe a debt to both us and God. We also owe a debt to both people and God for the destructive choices we have made, especially the choice to remain distant from God and not seek the truth. However, if you have read thus far, you are a true seeker right now in your life!
Jesus taught about the debt (due to God's unchangeable principle of justice) that we owe. He indicated that our choice to live independent of God (our life source) and reap pain in other's (and our own) lives as a result, is at the root of our own personal debt. He came to free us from the pain of our brokenness by being present with us, by not leaving us alone. He bleeds with us and is always there to comfort us even when we don't see it.
2. We consider the claims of Christ and thoughtfully think through these, as well as His choice to allow himself to be crucified for us. Jesus' claims are documented in the 4 gospels. Read through one of them to understand His claims. We recommend reading either the Gospel of Luke or the Gospel of John first. Luke was a doctor and truly captured Jesus' humanity in his chronological narrative. John was very close to Jesus and gives a more landscape view of Jesus' mission in his narrative, which is not chronological. If you are Jewish and are interested in learning more about Jesus, we recommend the Gospel of Matthew, which was written specifically for Jews. Finally, if you want a shorter narrative that highlights Jesus' team approach to training his disciples, we suggest the Gospel of Mark.
3. We decide to believe that Jesus is who he claimed to be - the Son of God, the very image of God as a man and the only one who came to earth to save us by paying the debt we owe and freeing us.
4. We accept Jesus gift to us (his death on the cross on our behalf) as payment of this debt. We trust Jesus enough to lay our pain, brokenness and debt at his feet, asking for healing, and trusting in his promise to transformation us.
5. We decide to entrust our lives to Jesus' leadership (as our Good Shepherd) instead of being led by our own limited perspective, which got us into trouble in the first place. This includes letting our lives revolve around Jesus' teachings and how he lived out those teachings. We know we have actually made this decision to value Jesus' leadership if we seek Him by feeding on his words in the Bible as our daily spiritual food.
This restoration came at great cost to God and Jesus; Jesus offered up His very life, as a GIFT to us, to pay for the debt we owed the universe by our failure to live out our role as the god-like stewards of it that we were created to be. We accept this gift when we say "YES" to Jesus role in our lives as both our savior and leader (lord).
When we decide to both accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord(God in the flesh and our leader) is when we are adopted into God's family and receive His Holy Spirit. We no longer have to identify with our old self - the one that caused all that pain or the one that experienced all that abuse. We get a new identity.
God created water baptism as a means by which He allows us to "experience" the process of being reborn into our new identity and as the means by which he announces to the spiritual world (all types of angels and even demons) that we now belong to Him! Baptism is the celebration of our union in a manner similar to a wedding ceremony. There is no such thing as an "altar call" in the bible. Water baptism is God's idea and God's way of validating our new identity and celebrating our restoration. At Jesus' baptism, God celebrated and proclaimed that Jesus was indeed His Son. God does the same at our baptism.
It is God and Jesus' greatest desire to free us from our brokenness, fill us with their Spirit, and make us whole again. As we seek to learn from Jesus daily as his apprentice, we will become more and more like Him. Jesus will teach us how to trust in God, listen to His voice and rest in His presence. Over time we will undergo a transformation - a metamorphosis - into our true calling and identity as God's child, who reflects His true nature.