Transformation

Steve Arterburn

Spiritual growth is all about being transformed into the person God envisions you to be.  Confessing your sin and shortcomings is a part of this process of transformation.  Whenever you confess your sin and shortcomings’your anger, lust, addiction, selfishness’whatever it is’you can have full confidence that God will forgive you, give you the power to change, and transform your life.

The apostle Paul wrote, ‘Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes’ (Ephesians 1:4).  God desires to make you holy’that is, to form his character in you.  Looking through the eyes of love, he already sees you as you will look when his work is done.  Spiritual renewal is the process of correcting your life to match what God envisions it to be.  The Bible tells us God’s discipline is always right and good because it means we will share in his holiness.  It is God’s will for you to be made holy.

When you ask God to develop such holiness in you, he eagerly responds to your request.  The apostle John wrote, ‘And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will.  And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for’ (1 John 5:14-15).

The Wait

Steve Arterburn

Do you find waiting tough?  Most twenty-first century people do.  We don’t want to wait in traffic, wait in line, wait for the economy, or wait for a table. So the thought of waiting on God sets us back on our heels. We think our timing is what matters and then God says, ‘Wait!’ and it can be especially difficult to wait on God.  

Look at this great promise from the prophet, Isaiah. ‘Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.  They will fly high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not grow faint’ (40:31).  And the prophet, Jeremiah, said, ‘The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him.  

The Lord will reward you for waiting upon him.  You can remain calm when it appears that nothing is happening when you think it should. Waiting is a response contrary to the ways of the world. But when you learn to wait, you’ll find the winds of adversity will lift you up, like wind beneath the wings of an eagle, instead of knocking you down.  As you develop a patient faith in God, you will be able to endure to the end of the race’and win.  As you seek God and wait on Him to complete His work in your life, you will be find strength. Try it and see!

The Detached Role

Steve Arterburn

Tom’s a clerk in a hectic government office.  In the midst of all the daily pressures, he’s regarded as one of the most even-tempered workers in the department.  He’s quiet and efficient, and he never seems to get riled at anything.

Tom spends his energy herding his emotions because he feels they’re his enemy.  Deep inside he believes that his father didn’t like him as a boy because he was too much of a crybaby and a ‘fraidy-cat.’ Since he perceives that he lost his father by being too much of a sissy, Tom isn’t about to expose his emotions as an adult. His controlled emotional detachment also keeps him distant from his wife.  In the past, whenever Tom showed any signs of being troubled, angry, or fearful, she’d ask him what was wrong.  His usual response was a curt, ‘Nothing!’  So she’s learned not to ask.

Detached men like Tom find it difficult to live out the values they profess because they ignore their heart, which is the center from which values come.  Often detached men will become addicted to work, money, football, alcohol, or drugs.

Are you like Tom?  Do you stuff your sense of defeat inside, thinking you should be able to ‘take it?’  Are you emotionally frozen?  Perhaps you’re so dead inside you have little to give a relationship.  Is your spouse enduring a frustrating relationship because you insist on suffering your losses alone?

You can change. Start by connecting with others. Find a safe person that you can talk to. We were meant for connection, not detachment.