Ever look into the mirror and think to yourself, “Where did time go?”
“HOW OLD AM I?”
Try going through pictures that go further than your 10-year challenge and look at your parents and siblings, cousins, childhood friends. You’ll notice that some people become more unrecognizable than others; then we have those whose facial lotion is labeled “The Fountain of Youth”.
But what about internally?
There are situations in this life that can and will cause stark character adjustments in our lives. It may even be people that contribute to major change in our lives, whether positive or negative. These conditions can cause us to become unrecognizable, in others’ sight – or even our own.
To quote every human being with an honest, existential thought process, “LIFE IS CRAZY”. Every person is a combination of their experiences and their perceptions of those experiences. Perceptions shaped by inner wirings, parents/guardians, friends, relationships, leadership, nutrition, habits, culture, religion, academic background, you name it. We come across people that we once knew very well, and 5 or 10 years later, are vastly different – yet, strangely the same.
It is much like the difference that comes to our lives when we begin to grow deeper in God, where we release things from our lives that are not representative of Him. Friends that we may have even grown up with, would give us a look of, “You’re different.” But we’re still ourselves.
What is this phenomenon? And how or why does it happen?
First off, ever think about the likelihood of God allowing something grave in our lives to happen, in order for us to become better? It’s funny because sometimes we think we know better than God does, in order for us to become better. Yet seeing that our concept of “better”, is no better than a human’s best, what about God’s concept of “better” and “best”? We may have heard it 1000 times, something like, “We pray for God to change our situation, while God is wanting us to change.” We are reminded by reading “The Blessing of Losing Control”, that God will allow us to lose control in our lives, in order for us to realize that we need Him. This positions us for a powerful process of change that I want to discuss today.
The Scriptures state that we are “transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” (Romans 12). And so God’s first field of work, is our minds; because if God can cause us to think differently, He will get us to behave differently. It does not matter how religiously inclined our thinking and living may be – God is God – we ought to allow Him to work in and through us to form the person He wants us to become. Many people try becoming who God wants them to become, using their own human means. I’ve done this, too. They condemn themselves into praying. They burden themselves into the work of God’s kingdom. They chastise themselves into serving others. These people greatly lack a sense of fulfillment in their lives and are often critical or cynical towards themselves and others. They may even be SINCERE and WELL-MEANING, but their ability to see afar off who God wants them to become, is not complemented with a surrendered way of thinking. These individuals will eventually become weary and possibly lose their faith in God. This lifestyle is very grievous.
On the other hand, what happens when we allow God to do the shaping for us to become who He wants us to become? We are encouraged of Him to pray. We share His burden for His kingdom. We love our way into serving others. We live in fulfillment of our God-given role. But the process that takes us into that role, can really change us.
We ought to remember that Jesus resurrected WITH His scars still visible – present for all of eternity and a representation of the fact that He used to look a different way. The Bible states that His appearance was marred more than any man (Isaiah 52:14). This meaning that Jesus was beaten with such pain and affliction, an unrecognizable experience for His divinity, to become recognizable in His scars for our humanity. It was the scars of Jesus that helped Thomas recognize His Savior (John 20:24-27). It will be the scars that identify Jesus to the Jews at His second coming. His scars are a testimony to the fact that we can be healed and live with the scars of experiences from this life, yet walk in the new one that Jesus provides. Even if we go through an experience in our lives that leaves a deep scar, it demonstrates how deep God’s healing can go – for no scar hurts. So while scars can leave us unrecognizable, so will the glory of God through our lives make us unrecognizable.
When you allow God to operate in this manner, people will praise you for who you will become in Him. But the scars will remain as a teacher, teaching us to give glory only to God.
Romans 8:18-19 NKJV For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.