In a moment, you can you can turn the Bible, you can turn your Bible to 2 Corinthians Chapter three, that’s we’re going to be in just a few moments. But today is the last week of an eight part series that we’ve been doing on practicing the way of Jesus. I hope that it’s been encouraging for you if you’ve been tracking with us since the beginning. And if you’re if you’re new, I hope that you go back and take a look and and walk through it with us, because I do think that it was a pivot point, kind of a watershed moment for us to start thinking about what it really means to be an apprentice or a follower of Jesus.
And we said it means for us to become like him and to be with him and to do as he did. And and for the last five weeks, we we kind of talked about this idea that that really if our goal is apprenticeship, then then what our ultimate goal is, is transformation. We have to leave behind who we once were and kind of embrace a new model for our own life, embrace a new model and a way of living.
And so we’ve been circling around and hovering over the topic. How do we change? How do we move from one degree of glory to the next, as the scriptures describe? Because in our apprenticeship to Jesus, there is a gap between who we are now and who we hopefully want to be or who we are called to be, that there is something that kind of manifests itself to stop us to be kind of an issue. Maybe it’s our our personality or relationship or internal sin or a host of other things that that stops our lives from becoming what ultimately Jesus would have them be.
And so we asked that we would begin to take stock of our lives to to think through, OK, what is it that stopping me from becoming like Jesus? What is it that that’s making there that’s widening the gap between who I’m supposed to be and who I want to be, who I long to be, who I desire to grow into. And then what we said is that apprenticeship really is the way we begin to close that gap. And so we’ve even worked through a spiritual paradigm.
I’m going to give you a little bit of a review. For those of you who haven’t been there, I’m going to type some of the loose ends and then we’ll end with one last little point.
But we’ve been talking about this paradigm that that we have two ways of being formed. You can be formed unintentionally by the voices that you believe that whatever you consume and the people you listen to, the media outlets or or even your old your past, you know, what your family told you and generations of of influence that’s been given to you, this forms you unintentionally. You don’t know it’s necessarily forming you, but it is your form by your habits.
That’s just what you do every day of your life. What you do when you wake up in the morning, your your morning routine or your evening routine or the the way that you go to work and and what you do when you’re driving on the way to work, all those things begin to form you. And lastly, your formed by the relationships that you’ve been given. Those are the relationships around you, your family or your coworkers, those that you really can’t change.
They’re just there. And what we said was really, if we want to be disciples of Jesus, we need a counter formation. We need something that’s really going to refine us and make us into disciples of Christ. And we said to counter the voices that we believe is biblical teaching, to sit under, to listen to the scriptures being expressed and taught, whether that’s through books or through Sunday morning or through podcast or whatever, that begins to change what we think about life, to give us a different worldview, to give us a sense of what life is supposed to be through the biblical lens.
We talked about countering our habits with the practices of Jesus. So instead of just waking up in the morning and grabbing your phone, we say, no, no. One of the practices of Jesus was to spend time with his father. So I will also spend time with my father, hopefully to counter some of those things that have been influencing my life. And we said to better to to counter the relationships that we’ve been given we are thrusted into a biblical community, people that are striving to help us, pulling us and pushing us, and in the words of the New Testament, kind of spurring us on towards love and good deeds.
And we said that all of this really is our way of working towards discipleship and that discipleship is a partnership with God, that it’s about us working with our father to get to become the people that we ought to be, meaning that it’s a partnership, meaning that you have a part and that God has a part to play. You have a role and God has a role, meaning that isn’t all about your own self effort.
If you do more, you work harder, you do better. That isn’t it. And it also doesn’t mean that you don’t do anything right.
That means that you can’t just walk in on Sunday morning and kind of just listen and go, wow. Now I’m Mother Teresa, right? It doesn’t work like that. There needs to be some work, some things that kind of rub you and change you and become a cure for the disease of the sinfulness in your own life. And really, that’s what this series has been about. That second part about us working towards becoming who we’re supposed to be, and I’m trying to point out, is that we have responsibility.
We have responsibility for our transition, for our transformation, and God has responsibility as well, just a quick illustration from the Bible, because this idea in this paradigm of us working and God working, really us throughout the whole scripture is one of my favorite stories is and is in the Book of Exodus, the next Chapter 14, when the people of Israel are freed from Egyptian captivity and they march all the way to the banks of the Red Sea and and there they get there and they’re so excited.
But Pharaoh changes his mind. So pharaoh comes is tracking the people down to bring them back into captivity. And it says this. It says, As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, they looked up, and there were the Egyptians marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. Moses replies. In verse 13, Moses answered, The people do not be afraid. This is so inspirational. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.
The Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still. What a great moment, right? Like you need only to be still. And everyone says amen and is shouting and cheering and the group is all excited. God will fight for you. He will deliver you. And the very next verse, verse fifteen. Then the Lord said to Moses, Why are you crying out to me?
Tell the Israelites to move on. This is the tension. This is the tension, God change me, move me, lead me, guide me in, God’s like, why are you talking to me? Be nice to your wife, forgive your friend. You see what I’m saying? So there’s this tension, right then. That’s what we’re really talking about here. There is a tension. You need to sometimes be still and let God wash over you and be changed to be still and know that I am God.
That is a commandment in the scriptures. But also there’s a time for moving on and working hard as the saying goes. Without him. Without him, we can’t. Without us he won’t. I think that’s true. And it’s kind of this is a partnership, right, and that’s really the tension that we’ve been talking about for the last couple of weeks. There’s this tension and it’s not 50 50, right? It’s not like you work 50 percent of the way and he works 50 percent of the way.
In fact, your effort is quite small in the work of transformation, but it is important, but it is really small. It’s like this. My wife likes to make like birthday cakes for the family and she’s been kind of she wants to be a Betty Crocker in that way. She’s doing great. It’s awesome. This is one of her cakes that she made. Look how beautiful that is. She is not for hire. Just so we’re clear now, my daughter, who is four, though, is wanting to help.
She wants to help with everything that’s so cute. She takes her little bench and she pushes it up to the to the kitchen counter. She stands on top of the bench. She says, Mommy, I want to help. And Cassandra’s like, I don’t know how to have this child, how to have this child help. And so what she’s starting to do is giving her the whisk to, like, whisk a little bit of the eggs, you know?
And so it’s awesome. It’s cute. It’s a learning process, all that stuff. But now when the cake is finished Cadence will say, I made that and I’ll say, you bake that and she’ll say, yes, I made that. And then I’ll say and then she’ll say to me, Papi, say thank you. So I’m like, because I’m just trying to be like, you didn’t make that. You just whisked an egg and you didn’t even do a really good job of that.
But but but that’s what transformation is like, right? In some ways, God is the chef and you’re the daughter and you’re the son. God’s doing the heavy lifting, but he’s giving you some things that are meaningful, that are important that that hopefully will create in you some change. Second Corinthians, chapter three, verse 17. The point here is that we’re going to look at the work of God. What is the work of God for transformation? How does it really work in a practical sense?
And we find it right here in 2 Corinthians, Chapter seven, 2 Corinthians, chapter three, verse 17. Now the Lord is the spirit. And with the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.
And we all who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the spirit. In a moment, we’re going to walk through each of these lines and I’m going to explain how the work of transformation happens by way of God’s spirit. But before we do that, I just want to give you two quick little bits of back stories to kind of tie up some loose ends that we talked about in previous weeks.
First, a short word on philosophy and then a weird, obscure story from the Old Testament. So give me 10 minutes. Wish me luck. Let’s first let’s talk a little bit about philosophy. And if you’re thinking, you know just enough to be dangerous, I do not disagree with you. I’m not an actual philosopher. So if any of you are real philosophers, you can talk to me afterwards. So I could do better in the next time, which is never going to happen because this is the last time I preach in this sermon.
OK, so here goes. There’s an American philosopher named Harry Gordon Frankfurt. He teaches at Princeton. And in the 70s, he began to talk a lot about the human will and our ability to change ourselves. That was the point of the discussion. How do we how the humans change themselves? And he began to talk about this being an element of freedom, the ability for humans to change themselves is freedom. And he coined these a couple of terms. The first term he coined was this thing called first order desires.
Then he coined the term called Second order Desires, and he coined the term called First Order and Second Order Volition. He explained that first order desires just stay with me. I promise I’ll bring it all the way around.
A first order desire is a desire for anything other than a desire.
Does this make sense? No, it does not.
So it’s basically your primal desires. It’s the things that you want without wanting it. It’s like food and shelter and water. They’re the things that are kind of deep inside you and security and romantic relationships. Another way to think about it is in Galatians Chapter five, Paul calls something very similar you’re flesh. So there’s your flesh, it’s this thing, the thing is it’s unchecked and it’s been warped and it’s been marred and it’s kind of been spray painted over.
And your flesh, though, it’s kind of fine naturally, it’s like all messed up. It’s all in. Galatians five goes on to say it’s what causes sexual immorality and fits of rage and selfish ambition and vanity and conceit and all sorts of evil. And it’s this desire that is in your flesh that kind of makes you, I don’t know, in traffic flick somebody off or flip somebody off or whatever. You kind of have road rage or whatever.
It’s that unchecked flesh. It’s what makes you harbor anger towards people in your family is what makes you want to coerce people and manipulate people. It all comes from that desire for power or for sexuality or for whatever that kind of goes unmet or is unchecked. It’s your flesh. Makes sense so far? That’s first order, desire. Second order desire is desire is a desire for desire. Wow. Super clear. What is this? This is where it gets kind of good a second or desire or the desires to make your life more than just that flesh.
It’s the desire to make your life better, to make it more meaningful. So here’s a quick example. You might have a first order, desire to eat warm chocolate chip cookies every single meal. I love that. And a second order desire instead to eat healthy. Right, so the desire to be better than your first desires. That makes sense? So so far, all good. Now volition, and there’s a first order and a second order, we’re not gonna talk about that, volition is your ability to override your first order of desire. Another word for this would be your willpower. Your ability to say no to the things you’re supposed to say no to and yes to the things you’re supposed to say yes to. Now, why do I mention all this? Well, because this is the way that this philosopher talks about freedom. And when I read it, you’re going to catch that it sounds so similar to the way the Bible talks about freedom.
This is my paraphrase of his definition of freedom. Freedom is when you can override your first order desires or your flesh with your volition or your willpower. Freedom is when you have the ability to say no to the things that have destroyed your life. And say yes to the things of God. Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want. It’s important we catch that because in America that’s freedom. Freedom is I can do whatever I want, but freedom is not that’s not that biblically. It’s not that in what we just talked about here, it’s not that at all. It’s your ability to say no, no to self and yes to the greater desires of your life. In fact, in the language of Jesus, the idea of freedom in our world, in our world is more akin to slavery than it is to freedom. John, chapter eight, verse thirty eight says everyone who sinned is a slave to sin. Freedom is your ability to have the willpower, to say no to your flesh, to say no to all those external things that want to dominate and rule your life.
OK, so that’s kind of a summary, right? And so what is we kind of bring this all around here by saying this like your will then is a muscle. It’s your ability to say no, but it’s also a finite resource. You don’t have much will by like nine forty five. Your will is gone. Right. Like this is why people say to do the hardest thing when you wake up in the morning, because by like 10:30, you’re like I’m just going to sit, you know, like that’s kind of that’s kind of what happens.
But it’s a little bit tricky because we can do a quick experiment. So take a second to draw your mind to. And I promise we’ll get back to Second Corinthians, I promise. Draw your mind to whatever temptation has been difficult in your life and your journey with Jesus. And this is kind of how it plays out to use an over overused one, let’s say late at night, you know, you’re running out of willpower. You’re basically out.
It’s the tank is zero and you’re on Instagram. And you’re like scrolling through, you probably shouldn’t be on Instagram at whatever time at night, and you’re just looking around and you’re like, well, you know what? I’m just going to look at the the search button here, and I’m just going to scroll through the search button because your will is basically zero and you’re telling yourself, I shouldn’t be doing this, but you’re like, I’m still doing it.
Why am I still doing it? Because you have no will to stop it. Eventually you find whatever porn or whatever the equivalent of that is. And in that moment you go, oh, I failed. I ran out of willpower. I lost it. We all have that story when we go shopping or when we go to to eat something and we know we shouldn’t be eating or or whatever, the thing is, you lose your temper. It’s like you’re telling yourself no.
But at that point, you telling yourself stop it is not very helpful. As a matter of fact, you can’t influence your will by shouting at it, though I’ve tried, right?Please stop it.
And so what do we learn, what we learn that we have to practice self-denial, which is what we talked about last week. Have to practice the practices of Jesus, we have to practice biblical teaching so that our worldview changes. We have to practice the ways of Jesus that we think are acting differently than the way our natural flesh says we should. We start practicing biblical community. All of these things we do, we practice and we practice and we practice.
And whatever your thing is, whatever your thing is, you practice and you practice, you practice in order to try to live free. Because as we’ve been mentioning, the battle against sin begins as you train yourself to live free.
Hey, I want to I want to be free, which means I want to have a stronger will. OK, now we’ve talked about all of that. This is the good news.
You get a part to play, right? Wow. I get to crack the egg.
You know, I get a part to play in my own helping in my own transformation. The bad news is this, that no matter how much willpower you have, it will never be enough to live the way of Jesus. See, willpower is fantastic, you need it, exercise your willpower, get it stronger, but it will never be enough, because if your end goal is to live like Jesus inside and out, your flesh really doesn’t have the power to do it.
You need something deeply, deeply changed in your heart, in your mind, in order for you to be changed. Often there are things you just can’t say no to some things in your family history. You know, like my family history, let’s say there’s depression, you can’t just be like, no, stop being depressed and your family history, there’s there’s whatever, you know, I’m talking about the stuff that’s on your Myers Briggs test, you know, that stuff that’s like deep inside of you.
You can’t just say no to it. I think about my own life, one of the biggest struggles in my life. And thank God it’s kind of been worked through. But but I still struggle with it is my own dishonesty, which is a byproduct of my desire to be my desire to be perfect. That goes back as long as I can remember it. And my personality is the way I’m wired, wired. And so it’s been warped out of shape.
And so I want to be perfect. And so I’ll do everything I can to be perfect or I’ll just pretend to be perfect. Either way, that’s kind of my nature. But whatever your thing is, you know, it’s an eating disorder. It’s your gluttony. It’s some trauma from your youth. It’s an addiction. It’s insecurity. It’s your your judgment. You’re so judgmental. You’re so proud. Willpower against that kind of stuff doesn’t stand a chance.
It’s not that willpower is bad, it’s a great thing you need to have that, but it just doesn’t stand a chance. I was meeting with a friend the other day and we were sitting in the car together just talking. And I told him I was going to share the story, but but we were just chatting. And he said one of his biggest challenges right now is that he keeps blaming God for everything bad. He’s like, I look at my life and I go, wow, everything bad is God’s fault, it’s just I don’t and I don’t want he kept on saying, I don’t want this to happen anymore.
I don’t want to think like this. I don’t want to act like this. And then I was sitting there and I said, OK, here it is, stop it. And he was like, wow, I’m so much better now. No, like, I, I sat there and I’m like, what are we? I’m like, this is going to take time. It’s it’s going to take he he said something in the in the conversation that was really moving to me, he says, I need something greater.
I need something more to change me and really, if your goal is to transform your whole life, to clean the inside of the cup and the outside will power is not enough. If your goal is just to clean the outside, like you can use all the willpower, whatever, you could be a nice person on the outside. But if your goal is to change the stuff inside of you, you need something stronger. And that’s why Second Corinthians three is so very important because of the text about the transforming power of the Holy Spirit at work in your life.
I’m going to read this. I’m going to walk through it. But at the end of it, you’re not going to think, wow, here’s five step practical application, because that’s not just that’s just not the way it works. So as I’m reading through, I want you to reflect, to think and to consider and maybe connect the dots for your own life. Here we go.
It says Now the Lord is the spirit. Couple of things I want to point out really quickly, most of the time in the New Testament, when you hear the Lord, who are we talking about? Jesus. Here, the apostle Paul says the Lord is the spirit. I think this is another nod to the triune nature of God and also of the power of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is strong. It is God, the Lord is the spirit.
And he goes on. And where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, what’s freedom? The ability to overcome. Where the spirit is, there is freedom. Now, in context, freedom, again, is the ability to overcome and also where is the Lord like where is the spirit then? Well, if you’re a baptized disciple and the spirit is inside of you, then it’s all around you.
And so in you is the ability to be free. Do you believe that? In you is the ability to be free from generations of trauma in your life, living in you is the power of God in you.
Where the spirit is, there is freedom. And then he says this, and we all who with unveiled faces now, this is where that obscure story comes from. In Exodus Chapter 34 Moses would be the only person who was able to approach God in his glory. And he would need to go and he would show his face and he could talk to them face to face was so cool. And speaking of intimacy with Yahweh, how awesome is that?
But after he left his presence with God, his face with looks like a Maglite, you know, and so he would he would go to the people of Israel and they would say it’s he would cover his face so they couldn’t see how amazingly changed and transformed he was. It was the presence of God that brought transformation. How cool is that? And so he’s saying, hey, it was in the Old Testament, Moses, who could walk in and eventually the high priest who could walk into the holy of holies.
And now what is he saying? And we all. All of us have access to the presence of God, not just the minister, not just the high priest, not just Moses. We all have access to this life changing power in this life changing person. We all with unveiled faces, contemplate the Lord’s glory, contemplate the word here means to stare into a mirror. We were able to be so intimate with God, it’s like staring into a mirror, the King James says, beholding as in a glass contemplate is translated this way, basically saying the same thing.
It’s like looking at a mirror. In other words, we are so intimate with Jesus, with God, with the Holy Spirit that we can look at God and look at his glory as if it was right in front of our faces nor mountain to climb to, no more temple to walk into. He is right there. And then it’s kind of building up to this idea and we all sorry, we all with unveiled faces, contemplate the Lord’s glory and what’s happening as we’re looking at it, we are being transformed.
In Greek, it’s the word metamorphosis, which is where we get the word metamorphosis. Think about like a caterpillar into a butterfly. That’s the imagery here, meaning that we are transformed. It’s a complete radical overhaul of our entire person. Everything we think from the inside out, it’s not just the state of being. It’s a radical transformation. And how does it happen by an intimate contemplation of the spirit of God? Notice there is no willpower described here, is that because willpower is not important, no willpower is very important, but it’s because when the spirit works, it’s not dependent upon you making it work.
The spirit has power. The spirit has powers, not human effort, and then the text ends and we all, with unveiled faces, contemplate the Lord’s glory are being transformed and how are we being transformed into his image, becoming like our rabbi with ever increasing glory? I love that phrase. It means an ongoing process of glory upon glory. Every day, every week, every month, we move on our journey of transformation. We move from one degree of being like Jesus to the next degree, every single moment that we allow the spirit to work in our lives.
And then he closes it with this line. It’s into his image with ever increasing glory, how does it happened again? He doubles down on the idea, comes from the Lord who is the spirit. We cannot overstate what is happening here. Meaning that all of this transforming work is a byproduct of the Holy Spirit at work in your life. I want to pause because I believe this is a temptation in our church. To there’s a temptation to belittle the power of the spirit working in our lives.
It’s my temptation as well. See, I look at my life and I go, wow, I did a lot of work to make my life the way it is. You look at me, you should know me before I started working, you know, like I was in this and I was at that. And then I started getting at it and I started reading my Bible and I started doing this. And all of a sudden I became the wonderful human being that you see before me.
It’s this kind of like arrogant look. And you should thank me for, you know, like I did the eggs and say thank you to me for being such a great human being. Right. And sometimes, you know, we have people and I love this, but they get a they get up on stage, they’re getting baptized. And we’re like, this person has done so much work to get themselves here and they have strove to change their lives and all that.
And some of that stuff is true. But what we diminish is the work of the Holy Spirit that God’s Spirit has done ninety nine point nine nine nine percent of all the work. Yeah. amen.
See, Gordon Fee has this little writing on this passage. He writes this, though, through Christ and by the spirit, we are being transformed so as to bear the likeness for which we are intended, for which we were intended at the beginning. It says, I love this line. One takes the spirit lightly and Pauline’s theology and Christian experience at great risk. One takes the spirit lightly at great risk. So it’s by the spirit, not by you that transform the transforming work is done. We come into the presence of God and we are renewed by his spirits, and if you downplay the role of Holy Spirit, if you minimize it, you’re mitigate it, you shrug it off, you downplay the central role. I believe you will never be transformed to the degree that you actually long for. You’ll fix all the external stuff, you’ll be a nice moral sin managed Christian. But you will not be transformed from the inside out until you allow yourself to have the refining work of the spirit, really take residence and begin to chip away at the disgusting, crazy marred image that your flesh has produced in your life.
If you want to just be moral, then do what you’re doing, but if you want to be transformed you need to deeply look at the relationship of the Holy Spirit in your life. In Romans Chapter nine, Paul speaking about election and he says this line that I think relates to election the same way or the transformation, he says this, it does not therefore depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. This is what I need to see in my own life, that my bent is towards self effort being the solution for all my problems, that my bent is saying I can do enough with myself and I just need to fix myself on the outside.
I don’t need the spirit to work. That’s my bent. And we need to say no to that and realize it doesn’t actually depend on human effort or on human desire, but it really does primarily depend on God’s mercy, living and manifesting itself through God’s spirit in my life. So how does it happen? I want to give you two quick ways about the way the spirit works. And I want to leave you with one little practical.
Two ways it works. So the first way the spirit works is through breakthrough moments. You can think about Paul on the road to Damascus on this road. Right. And all of a sudden, God, boom, his whole life is radically changed because he can’t even see there’s a blinding light and there is God speaking to him. That’s a that’s a breakthrough moment. Most of the time, the process of transformation is slow and hard. But every once in a while, God leaps your transformation forward.
He does something in your life. Most times before people get baptized this is what’s happening. They’re going, whoa, God did something. There was a conversation. There was a sermon. There was a song. There was a prayer time. And all of a sudden you went from a in your maturity and faith to C in your maturity and faith.
You took two giant leaps forward.
It was a breakthrough. The spirit did something. It was a retreat. It was a prayer time. It was whatever. Now, this is awesome.
I love these moments. Full stop period. End of sentence. They are beautiful, but they are rare. And often they happen to happen at the start of your faith when you’ve been a Christian for twenty years, the breakthrough moments happen less and less and less. Instead, what usually happens, I think, is, is the transformation is slow, is painful, is methodical. And I think it’s because some of the character traits, some character traits can only be forged in the crucible of everyday life.
It’s the slow, unglamorous work of discipleship to Jesus and the boredom and the monotony of waking up the next day and the next day and reading your Bible and praying and wrestling and getting help from someone who’s mentoring you and going to community group and eating with those 13 people who are kind of weird, you know, and coming to church on Sunday mornings. It’s the unglamorous work of confession, the unglamorous work of getting help one more time and asking a little bit more help and reading a book.
It’s the unglamorous work of slowly, slowly working that really ultimately I believe The Spirit does its best work. Nicha called that the long obedience in the same direction. Breakthrough moments are where there’s a split change and I don’t have a name for this moment, I probably should have come up with something, but let’s call them everyday moments and everyday moments are the ones that are slow, that are methodical, that really do the deep change of your character and the deep cleansing of your character.
You know, because there is some character traits that you can’t just solve like that. It is it doesn’t work like that. Like you’ve never heard the story. Or maybe you had like I was an impatient jerk and then I heard a sermon and now I’m the nicest person there ever was. And everyone thinks I’m great now. And my temper has subsided and I’m never stressed out anymore. It was just so amazing. You don’t hear the stories like that.
That’s your story. You could testify afterwards, amen. But but but that just doesn’t happen very often. And I’m not saying it’s impossible. It’s just everything is possible with God. My agenda, again, isn’t to downplay your faith, but that’s not most of the time. The stuff here takes years. It takes years and years and years of work. My agenda is that the breakthrough moments are beautiful, but nine times out of ten, the deep character changes are usually a byproduct not of a breakthrough moment, but of the Holy Spirit working every single day in your life, taking you from one degree of glory to the next so that the person that you see tomorrow is not the person that you saw yesterday, is not the person you saw one year before that.
And so we’re still changed, we’re still changed by the Holy Spirit, but it’s not necessarily a one moment. Instead, it’s a thousand small, ordinary moments. And this is our job, and if you want a practical here’s your take away, our job simply is to create the conditions in our lives for the Holy Spirit to do a deep work of change. It’s not. Our job is to simply create the conditions in our life for the Holy Spirit to do a deep work of change. I had to get my house tented for termites a couple of weeks ago, which is just a terrible process.
If you’ve got in your house tented for termites, you know, it’s you’ll do anything you can to not have your house tented for termites. So so when you have your house tented, you have to take out a bunch of things from the house so all of your food has to get out. And if you’re like a human being, you have a lot of food. So there you go. So all your your dog’s food has to go and and all your stuff has to come out of the closet and rather out of the cupboards and out of the the refrigerator and the freezer and and if you’re like trying to be like us with all like kind of, I don’t know, newer products, they’re like everything has to come out.
You have so much stuff and you’re packing it away and sticking it in people’s refrigerators. It’s terrible. Then you have to take all of your medicine and take it all out and all of your face creams and take it all out and all of your soaps and take it all out. And if you have a mattress that has one of those like covers on it, if they take your mattress out of your house. So, oh, it’s a nightmare.
You guys don’t seem like it’s a nightmare to say, oh, thank you. All right.
So it’s terrible. It’s annoying. So because I’ve had my house tested several times, but I didn’t want to have my house tented, like at all. So I was like, I have an idea. What I’ll do is I’ll just spot treat the termites as I see them. I’ll just spot you, I’ll make a hole. I’m handy. I climb up on a ladder, make a hole, spray some of the termite killer thing, genocide, and just destroy them, you know, and go from place to place until they’re all dead.
And so this is what I started doing. I’m like taking care of it. I even called the company and they came and they sprayed salt in my attic, which now that I think about it was a total waste of money. It did nothing. But but I’m trying to fix my house all because I didn’t want to do the deep cleaning. And so here’s what I learned, is that if you decide to do the spa treatment of your life, clean all the outside, do whatever you may manage to live longer or to act like a Christian for a lot longer.
But eventually that house is going to come down. The other day, termites flew into my house and not just one like a thousand in the house and my wife’s like, should we tent now? And I’m like, fine. But at that point, they’ve done so much damage, they’ve ruined and they hurt so much of the structure of my home. And I’m going to have to have somebody come in and fix some stuff I don’t talk about anymore. But the point is, the point is, like your job is to kind of prepare yourself not to have the outside cleaned, but to do a deep cleaning of your soul, to have to set up your house, set up your life in such a way where God can really the Holy Spirit can really change you from the inside out.
How do you do that? Well, we’ve been talking about it.
Practice the ways of Jesus. We’ve been talking about it, you absorb the teachings of the Bible.
We’ve been talking about it. You live in community. You confess your sins. You deal with your past. All that stuff just creates the groundwork for the Holy Spirit to do the real work of your heart. And what does God want to do? Well, Romans, 15, says it’s was sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Changed, healed, restored by the power of the Holy Spirit, and your job is to create the conditions for the Holy Spirit to do the work of changing and transforming your life.
It’s not going to be in a single moment, but it’s a process. It’s a process. And so here’s here’s a conclusion. Change is possible. It’s not encouraging. But it’s harder than we want and it takes longer than we expect. It’s harder than you want and it’ll take longer than you expect. There’s no silver bullet. I talked about this a couple of weeks ago. There’s no app. I wish there was an app for life change.
Like, how cool would that be so fast? You know, like you download it and now you’re different. You can’t microwave your character. You can’t FedEx your problems away to some other place and they send it back and it’s all fixed. It doesn’t work like that. But how fast you progress is really dependent upon you setting up your life for the Holy Spirit to do a refining work. So the Spirit has time to work. So the spirit of God’s word is you read your Bible has time to kind of come in, change you fix the way you think about life.
So what do you do? You have some patience and then you practice, practice and patience. Maybe that’s the takeaway for the sermon series practice and have some patience. Have patience with God because it may take longer than you think. Have patience with yourself, because some of that stuff is really deep rooted and it’s going to take some time. Have patience with your strengths, have patience with your weaknesses, have patience with the process. You need it. And over time, God will find you from one degree of glory to the next.
But in the meantime, your job again is not to escape. All your old problems is not to run away. It’s not to clean the outside, but it’s to create the condition for your heart to be changed by the Holy Spirit. Get in the presence of God and you will be changed. Get it over and over and over and over and over again. And at the end, you will be who you longed to be. I hope the series has been helpful.
Hope what we talked about over the last eight weeks has been life changing or at least changing in your actions. And I pray that some of the stuff we talked about will lead you towards becoming more like Jesus, deciding to be with him more and ultimately doing as he did.