Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Post # 12 – HEALING AND INNER TRANSFORMATION
I’m often questioned by people about 2 Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (NASB).
If our conversion to Christ transforms us into new creatures where the old things have passed away, why do we need inner healing?
When we believe in Jesus, the New Life of Christ indwells us. Christ comes to live in our innermost being (John 7:38). He invades us with newness of life! The old is passing away because the New has come. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that transformation of the inner person is a process that takes place over time. It is not an event.
Take a look at what 2 Corinthians 3:18 has to say about the transformational process:
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (NASB).
Other passages that indicate that transformation is a process that takes place over the life of a Christian are Romans 12:1-2, Ephesian 4:20-24, Colossians 3:5-10, 1, and 2 Peter 1:5-8.
As we behold Jesus in Spirit and Truth and walk with Him day-by-day and year-by-year we are being transformed to be more and more like Him. This transformation is especially life-altering when God exposes a hidden lie we have believed regarding out identity and speaks life giving truth into our very core as in John 8:31-32:
Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in Him. "If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are My disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you" (MSG).
I had been walking closely with Jesus for more than twenty years. My wife, five children, and I were returning to the U.S. after fourteen years as missionaries to Spain. As I was reading in the Psalms one day, I sensed God promising something to me:
He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me (Psalm 18:9 NASB).
As we returned from Spain in 1996, I sensed God was promising me that He was going to take me into a broad place of ministry contribution (and He certainly has). But, I can still vividly recall my inner reaction to the second part of the verse. Yeah, I thought, I’ll bet God delights in me. No, He just puts up with me cause He’s stuck with me.
In 1997, a friend, Jean Prensner, gave me a copy of a little white booklet titled God Guides. It is the story of Mary Geegh. As a missionary to India, she began to listen to God for her daily guidance. I was skeptical that God would ever speak to someone like me. Can you sense the self-contempt I carried? Long story short, I went off into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in what I though would be a futile attempt to hear from God in a personal way. It took me what seemed like an eternity to quiet myself down on the inside and listen. I almost gave up. Finally some thoughts began to come into my mind:
Rusty, I am for you … for you and not against you. You belong to Me. It really wasn’t you who chose to follow Me when you came to Me twenty-seven years ago in Okinawa. It was I who chose you. I chose you to belong to Me because I love you with an everlasting love. You are Mine!
As I type this post to you, tears still come to my eyes. The God who created the universe doesn’t just put up with me because I prayed the prayer and He’s stuck with me. He actually chose me to be His and His alone. This experience of listening and many others since have significant altered my identity. As incredible as it is, He really does delight in me!
When I think of what I’ve been and where I’m being taken, I’m utterly astonished by the persistent pursuit of the God who loves me, who never gave up on me, and who cared enough to heal my broken heart. (From the first chapter of A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2011), 25.)
This morning during my time alone with God I came across a new group called “Gungor.” I’ve embedded a worship song of theirs entitled, Beautiful Things. It goes well with the theme of this post. I hope you like it. (If you want to see the video in HD full screen, place your cursor over the top title portion on the video. This will take you to YouTube. Then click in the square in the bottom right hand corner of the video).
What about you? Can you see that transformation is a process and not an event? How do you experience yourself down deep inside (your identity)? Where are you at in your transformational process?
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