Unlike the early Christians who lived in fear of being killed for their beliefs, today our challenge as faithful followers is how we live out our lives with our community, with our world, with other Christians, with our mothers and fathers, and all our family, and even at times with ourselves. For the truth of the matter is, that as broken but loved people, as humans who have been saved by the Gospel, we still maintain the capacity for messing up our lives. (from Pastor Randy's sermon 5/12/2013)
Not long ago, reality shows about "makeovers" were very popular. Sometimes it was a home that was being made over, at other times a wardrobe. Sometimes it was a torso or a face. And sometimes it was a family. The episodes started with the mess and then step by step, enhanced by the dramatic flair of some narrator, the viewers were introduced to the miraculous result of some transformational process. We were welcomed into the understory of liposuction, closet purging or whole house deconstruction. We hung on the edge of what the new creation would be and then at the climax the host said, "and now, here it is!!!!"
End of show. We see the glorious product.
But we never see what happens in the months ahead. Not to be a skeptic, but I can't help but wonder how sustainable the result was, particularly if the people involved did not internalize the lifestyle needed to let the fruit of the transformation flourish. Even the most dramatic makeover will fade unless the life is made new!
Consider now the sustainability of our new lives in Christ. We regularly get glimpses of the product -- we experience surges of joy or compassion. We spring into energetic service or we burst with understanding of how Christ redeems us each day.
And then the muck and mire of our brokenness begins to accumulate again. Something is done to us. Or we do something to someone. Or we do nothing at all. The old way hovers in the corner, just like old eating or thinking or living habits hover at the perimeter of even the most extreme "makeover".
The difference for Christians is that the love of God continually (and intentionally) surrounds us. To be sure, every day we face the risk of backsliding. We can't stay "in Christ" on our own.
But with every day God, who knows us better than we know ourselves, meets us and says "even now, I am making you new." The transformation from within expands daily, assuring us that what God has promised to accomplish for God's people, God does! And what God does, is done forever!