Friday, November 11, 2005

Becoming a Spiritually Transformed Person

What does it mean to you to be or become a spiritually transformed person? What would it take for you to become Positively Alive? Author Larry Crabb challenges us to aim for a "Spirit-alive Christianity", not a "good-enough Christianity."

"Good-enough Christianity" is marked by

(1) people believing the right things (right teaching);

(2) staying moral – staying away from visible sins (accountability); and

(3) keeping busy (opportunity).

These things, in and of themselves, are not wrong, of course, but they present a false view of the essence of Christianity. Crabb defines "Spirit-alive Christianity" by three pursuits:

(1) God-Hunger – desiring to know God consumes you;

(2) Kingdom Hunger – longing to reveal God no matter how people might treat you; and

(3) Holiness Hunger – hating sin more than its pleasures.

Crabb says something we have probably all heard before but need to consider again and again – "for us to have real community, we must get real in our small groups." We need authenticity. Group authenticity requires two important objectives:

(1) to deepen desire so that every member is desiring what only grace can provide; and

(2) to weaken deception because relational sin requires open exposure in an atmosphere where we are accepted for who we are.

This is so true. Perhaps we do not see as much transformation in our small groups as we would like to see because so many groups stay so surface-level in community, which really is only pseudo-community. When we joyfully see real transformation taking place, we often see it happening in real, dynamic, authentic, accepting, grace-giving, life-sharing, open community that looks a lot like the community in the book of Acts.

When we surrender what we really want for what God really wants, it brings us to a place where we can acknowledge our brokenness – our complete inability to be good and do good on our own. Larry Crabb states, "On one level, brokenness is simply the release of spiritual power, the Spirit doing his thing and power coming out. It only happens through brokenness, which I think is the most underrated virtue in the Christian community today. But beyond the release of power, there’s this deep understanding of our weakness."

Sharing stories is one of the best ways to come to grips with our own personal journey of brokenness. Grace can flow freely through us to others as we encounter and accept their stories, and speak truth into their lives. Grace flows to us in the same way.

The past cannot be changed but the meaning of our stories can be changed. The Bible is full of devastating stories resulting from personal sin. And yet God's grace brought new life in the midst of such pain and suffering. When Jesus went to the cross the disciples were completely and utterly crushed. Thankfully for them and for us the story didn't end there. Each of the disiples, and us included, must choose to let God bring healing from our suffering and pain. This personal change brought on by God's grace is at the heart of becoming a spiritually transformed person.


Blogger Paul Seburn said...

if it's good enough for jesus it's good enough for me

6:47 PM  

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