It’s hard to see growth happen when we are standing so close to it. With babies, they grow so fast. Even a week can make a noticeable difference. But how about us adults? How can we see growth or development into being more like Jesus?
Our bodies do indeed stop growing at a certain age (except for our ears apparently). Yes, our bodies age and over the years we can tell we’re getting older. But how can we grow positively? How can we see the transformation Romans 12 or 2 Corinthians 3 promises us?
In my last blog – #4 Looking ahead to 2021, I encouraged us to make plans for 2020. To write down, in the different areas of our lives, what we wanted to see happen not only by the end of 2020 but also into 2021. I hope you included a section for developing yourself as a leader and in your relationship with God.
As leaders, we want to be able to “test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2b). Which happens through being “transformed by the renewing of your mind” as we “don’t conform to the pattern of this world” (Romans 12:a)
Which is great, but how do we help make this transformation happen? What should we do when we’re not “conforming to the pattern of this world”?
For this question, I find The Message version to be way more helpful to understand:
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognise what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
Here are four things I encourage us all to do each day to see growth (and transformation) in our lives spiritually.
1. Offer up and Invite in.
Offer yourself up to God and invite Him to come into your thoughts and heart. To connect your spirit with his Holy Spirit in a consciously active way to enable “God helping you” and being with you as your choice to surrender and include Him.
Bring all of our normal, everyday parts of life and bring them before God. To ask Him to come into all of it.
2. Be thankful.
“… give thanks in all circumstances …” [1 Thessalonians 5:18]
Paul wrote this to the Thessalonians during a time of persecution for them. To remind them of the hope we have in Christ. And to encourage them to thrive while seeing fellow believers die. Most of us aren’t living in that type of situation – which is another reason to be thankful.
If we can get into a habit of giving thanks every day, then we change our mindset from seeing the imperfect stuff and cultivate an attitude of gratefulness. Therefore I encourage you to list five things you’re thankful for each morning to set yourself up for a positive outlook on the day.
3. Ask God what He wants to share with you today.
Pray: “Father, I what would you like to say to me today? How do you feel about me? I want to hear your voice. Amen.”
Write down what He says so you can remind yourself throughout the day and over time. There may be someone specific He wants you to encourage, which is timely for them. Or a task to prioritise on your to-do list for the day, which might make sense now or later. (sometimes for me, it’s buying that flight ticket or exchanging money now, so I get a great deal). Or a book which is going to go out of stock or I’ll need quicker than I previously thought.
4. Invite God to come with you into the rest of your day.
Including travel to your school/work; in your class/ meetings; your breaks, fun times all of your normal life. And then continue to talk with Him throughout the day.
With God, there is no sacred/secular divide. Only life with Him. He knows what’s ahead and where you’ll need to adjust to unforeseen changes. Sometimes He’ll give me a ‘head’s up’ so it’s not that big of a surprise or adjustment. And it shows me He cars about the little and big things equally.
Transformation can happen miraculously (like when drug addicts receive salvation being instantly healded from their addition). But most of it is done little by little, drip by drip.
A bathtub can fill up in a few minutes with the taps turned fully open. But God, know’s our bodies, minds, emotions could struggle with that amount of change all at once.
Instead, He chooses to do a little every day so that we can work that small piece of truth into not only our minds but beliefs, habits, heart and actions.
If we want the Holy Spirit to soak into us further than surface level, we have to sit with Him. Not like a shower where the water quickly runs off, so we’re in and out in 5 mins. But rather like a bath, immersing our whole body/self in His presence. (If you’ve already subscribed to Who me, a Leader’s News Updates then you’ll have received my “Five more ways to spend time with God” resource. Included in that article is one section on ‘Soaking’ which will explain this in more detail.) If you haven’t and would like to, click here to subscribe to receive my website quarterly news update.
We will see a transformation, if we daily choose to bring God into our everyday normal, partnering with Him to apply His ways and truth into all aspects of our life.
With every little decision, we make to include God in all aspects of our daily life – it’s like a drip of God anointed transformation dropping into our being, slowly transforming us into being more Christ-like. Eventually, just like a drop of water into a bathtub, we will be filled to overflowing with God’s character/nature and presence.
You may not see the change – but your family, friends, they will notice and enjoy the newer you.