A series of events over the past few months have led me to question my Christian walk.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me”.

Follow Him was not all He said. He said deny yourself, take up the cross. It’s a call to totally submit to a new master. I realized that I was not totally surrendered.

My prayers have often been, “God, change me but be gentle”. At a point last month, I was dissatisfied with the status quo in my discipleship and I asked for the first time in sincerity, “God, change me, no matter what it takes”.

And He’s started the process. And it ain’t pretty. The first thing He did was let a few events, even innocuous events (or non-events as the case may be), highlight the actual condition of my heart. At the seat of the problem was pride that stemmed from being self-reliant, as opposed to being reliant on God and lack of faith and surrender. Of seeking the approval of man vs. God. Of having the form but not the substance.

The call is clear. Focus on the inside – the substance and not the form; character, not recognition.

So I’ve had to take a few days to process all of this. A book that helped give me perspective and posture to understand what God is doing was Cultivating Your Inner Life by Reverend Edmund Chan. It helps that I’ve been with the church for a while and while the book is good in and of itself, it helps with the wider context given I am numbered among the congregation.

It’s an upheaval. It’s not fun but it’s necessary. I’m looking forward to it.

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For those, like myself who have decided to be a Christian and take Jesus as Lord, there is a marked change in status. One thing I have noticed is this call to renewal.

At one stage, I thought at the point of conversion, everything changes. Well, some things do like your status as a child of God and your confirmation to a place in heaven. But there is a call to renewal.

These are two Biblical references that I have been dwelling, pondering and meditating upon. The Bible verses I quote are all from the NASB version.

1 Peter 1:14-16

 14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,

 15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

 16because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

Romans 12:2

 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Additionally there are these calls to be renewed.

Ephesians 4:21-24

 21if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,

 22that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,

 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

2 Corinthians 4:16

 16Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day

Colossians 3:9-10

9Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

The underlines are my emphasis. The call to renewal is very strong. There is no indication that there is any “magic” involved and there seems to be a process that is there. This, of course, does not mean that we are in this process of renewal alone as God has promised His helper to guide us on this lifelong journey.

But there is a clear call to renewal from:

              former lusts which were committed in ignorance (1 Peter)

              conforming to the world (Romans)

              old self which was being corrupted through the lusts of deceit (Ephesians)

              old self with its evil practices (Colossians)

And there is a clear call to renewal to:

              Holiness in all our behaviour (1 Peter)

              Transformation to know God’s will (Romans)

              Likeness to God in righteousness and truth (Ephesians)

              Daily renewal (2 Corinthians)

              True knowledge according to the image of God (Colossians)

 

So yes, I journey. Like I’ve said many times before, this journey is not the easiest by any means but it is by far the best decision I have made.