Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The new year's transformation

So its a new year. Resolutions, diets, promises to change and achieve things. I thought about all my resolutions (and a slightly different view for this site). Then something became clear to me, it became clear what our real new year's resolution should be - or rather, what God's resolution for us is.

Let me explain.

Its a new year. But what has changed? Well, literally overnight, not much really.

People are still the same. Our strengths and weaknesses are still the same. We might be different to what we were a year ago, but we're still a work in progress.

Sometimes I think people make these resolutions in the vain hope that if they achieve or keep to them then they will be totally transformed and then won't have to change any more. As if, once they've done what they resolved to, that they will be complete. That's certainly the impression I get sometimes.

The honest truth is that we're all a work in progress. We are all at different stages of our shaping and our forming. Making us the character and person we were planned to be. Becoming more like Jesus. Forming the character we take with us.

Its a constant process.

Physically, we are always changing, layers of skin disappear and brush off without us noticing, but we look largely the same, who we are remains the same. Hair grows over time, but we stay largely the same.

Its the same with character. With one difference.

When your character changes, it won't be like it was before, you won't be like you were before. Nothing you can do can undo the development you've made over time. You may stay the same person, with the same unique personality, but the rest of you can change. Your abilities. Your character. Your skills. Your opinions. Your friends. Your church.

Everything changes. Its always happening, it never stops till you die. Always growing and maturing and being transformed. Sometimes others don't notice it for a while, then something happens or you do or say something which draws attention to you and they suddenly notice the difference. Its the same physically. People can not see you for a while, they see you again and notice the difference almost straightaway.

We are all always in a process of transformation. Whether Christian or not. We just need to make sure the thing that shapes us, our priority, our major influence and accountability comes from God. Then we really can become, over our lives, the people He planned us to be, at each moment of our lives.

My new year's resolution then, this and every year, is to keep on being transformed. That's because, ultimately, we are always being transformed. With God, there are limitless possibilities. Totally limitless.

Each year - all throughout our lives - God wants to transform different parts of us, work on different areas of our character and experience. It all happens in 'seasons' of our lives, periods where God does different things with us and through us, all to help form us into the people He wants us to be.

The possibilities are endless, limitless and you never know what's next. Whatever happens in your life, you know that God is with you and will use that circumstance to make you more like He wants you to be.

How reassuring.

So this year and every year, I invite you. Make your new year's resolution to continue to be transformed into Jesus image. More into how He wants you to be. Then ask God, ask yourself, what the things are He wants to transform or work on now, today, this week, this month, this year.

Its the best resolution to make, and the one you're more likely to keep. Because whatever we do, God uses it to shape us more into His image.

How good is that?