Inspiration or Transformation?
The Bible was given to transform us, not just to inspire us. The Scriptures are inspired and are inspiring. Yet the Good News is not just to give us Good Views, but to open a pathway for change… for a deep change… for an inner transformation within the heart. Transformation does not occur without inspiration; but inspiration can occur without transformation. Unfortunately, our tendency is to go through life just coping and not really changing.
If the insights that excite us don’t become a part of what’s inside us, then truths that move us won’t become the power that molds us.
Inspiration is enjoyed by multitudes; while transformation is pursued by few. The multitudes were inspired when Jesus fed them bread, yet only a few could swallow His words that offered eternal transformation. “As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.” (John 6:66 NASV)
· Inspiration comes from outside us and impacts our inner world...
Transformation comes from the inside and impacts our outer world. · Inspiration can have a short life span… Transformation spans a lifetime. · Inspiration feels good… Transformation is good, but may not always feel good.
Christ came to transform us, not to just inspire us. Transformation is commanded and is our calling. Yet, we are unable to transform ourselves. While inspirational teachings may be at our fingertips, only the fingertip of God can transform our soul. Transformation is the powerful and grace induced process of Him molding us. When He is transforming us He, “who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV) Transformation is cathartic; it’s liberating, healing, energizing and invigorating. Yet, the pathway of transformation is paved with struggle, sacrifice and surrender. While the call to transformation is clear, the process often feels mysterious, muddled and messy. Often, we may want change in our lives, but too seldom are we willing to go through the process of transformation. All change is not transformation; but all transformation is change. Transformation takes many forms.
In transformation… God turns fear into faith and lust into love Bitterness to Blessing with strength from above In transformation… He changes contempt into kindness and greed into grace We are changed into His glory as we gaze in His face
There are some critical perspectives and practices we must pursue
if we want real transformation.
- Concentrating on a change in our circumstances alone will not result in a change in us. Many times our desire for change is focused on wanting a change in our circumstances or a change in someone else rather than a change in ourselves. As a result, we get trapped in living out the “If only” syndrome. The “if only” syndrome is an erroneous belief that “if only” a circumstance or person will change then I’ll be happy. “If only” my husband would…., then my life would be good. “If only” I could find a job that…then I would be satisfied. The “if only” syndrome, dethrones God, and deifies something or someone other than Him as the source of our security, peace and purpose.
- External change of behavior does not mean that I have really changed as a person. A change in behavior does not mean I’ve really experienced a lasting inner change of heart and character. As a follower of Jesus Christ, just modifying behavior is not the goal. We must beware of “externalism”. Our behavior must be Biblical. Yet, “behaving” on the outside while not really “believing” on the inside is not what Christ came to save us from. God’s pattern for change is always for life change…change from the inside out.
- God is the primary source for real transformation, not others. It’s tempting to live off others inspirational thoughts rather than off of Him. It’s easier to seek life from others words than “The” Word. Sermon sipping or feeding off the plethora of great Christian literature can easily replace a lifestyle of being transformed into the image of Christ. If we are regularly more excited about the insights we receive from others teachings or writings, rather than what we are personally receiving from the Lord, who is it that we are really following? Solid and sound Bible teaching is indispensable. Yet, teachers, preachers and literature should never replace our individual need to personally interact, listen and follow Christ from our hearts.
Deep change does require deep trust… Deep trust requires…. well, deep trust requires amazing grace… amazing grace is constantly looking for a heart to change. Unless the truths that move us become the tools that mold us, the words that inspire us fail to become the convictions that hold us. May your inspirations lead to transformation “until Christ may be seen living in you” (Galatians 4:19 CEV)
(This writing extracted from “Because Your Heart Matters”, by Joe Carroll and published by Xulon Press)