Transformation in Christ – Bestowed and Not Achieved - Tuesday, January 7th

Transformation in Christ – Bestowed and Not Achieved - Tuesday, January 7th

They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” John 8:7

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:5-8

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

In their dealings with other people bullies focus exclusively on ashes and leave no room for beauty. The life of the woman in our story is very much about ashes up until now. If you were interacting with this woman, how would you deal with her? Would you be more about ashes or beauty? The pathway to true restoration must always be about both. The bullies in our story are very religious, but they know little about true beauty in their own lives. In reality bullies long for beauty and so they gain an artificial sense of beauty (alrightness/self-righteousness) by taking the ashes of others and blasting them with them. Jesus deflects back on the bullies the bullying power they have over this woman through His question about sinning. Jesus does not bully them but rather confronts them with the absurdity of those who are sinful/have ashes/deserve stones being exacting toward others.

We do not need bullies to make our ashes real to us. They are very real to us and we very much want beauty instead. That is why we came to Christ in the first place, in order to have beauty instead of ashes. But sometimes we get confused about how to deal with ashes. Often because the ashes remain more prominent than beauty, we start denying our ashes, even to the point of convincing ourselves that ashes are beautiful. The key here is to remember that repentance always precedes faith. True repentance brings us to the point of being convinced that before God we have nothing to offer but ashes and that all beauty comes from Him. This never changes at any point along the way in our walk with God. God exchanges our ashes for the beauty of Christ every step of the way. We do have beauty in Christ but it is always received from Him. Alone on our own we always only have ashes, but we are not alone on our own, we are in Christ and therefore beautiful. So, the key is don’t try to turn ashes into beauty but rather keep on repenting (correctly dealing with the reality of sinfulness) of your ashes and exercising faith (receiving the beauty He produces in you through His presence in you) in Christ.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, I do believe that you dwell in my heart through the power of the Holy Spirit. Remove from me any notion that transformation is anything but you making a difference in me. Thank you for all that you have done, are doing, and will yet do to bring about beauty in my life. I praise and glorify your name. Amen!

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