Tonight at church, Pastor Bob Leach preached what was, in my opinion, the best message ever. I thought I’d share some of his points. Please be forewarned: Somewhere between the sanctuary, the church nursery, the church cafe, the grocery store and home (it was a busy night), my journal disappeared and, with it, my sermon notes. I’m going solely by my not-so-reliable memory here.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” God has good plans for our lives, but we need to learn how to figure out and live out His will for us.
- “To conform” means to adapt the prevailing standards, attitudes, and actions of a group. We are not to adapt the prevailing standards of the world. In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about how the world focuses on money and clothing. We are to seek first God’s kingdom and He’ll take care of the rest. Materialism is conformity. Dressing immodestly is conformity. Our standards need to be different. In 3rd John, the Bible says that we will prosper and have good health as our soul prospers. We need to have spiritual success before we can experience success in any other area.
- We need to be transformed. The word “transformed” is where our word “metamorphosis” comes from. We need to be completely changed, just as a caterpillar is changed into a butterfly. At this point, Pastor Bob said one of the most profound statements I have ever heard: “You can’t remain a caterpillar and have a butterfly experience.” You can’t experience freedom and victory if you are not willing to let the Holy Spirit change you. You have to be willing to go through the pain of growing.
- We need to renew our minds. This comes from spending time with God and reading His word. Sometimes when we are reading the Bible, God will convict us about something. When He convicts us, it’s His way of saying that He wants to help us overcome something in our lives.
It takes courage to grow. If someone tells you that there is a really amazing prize at the end of a race but you are too afraid to run the race because you might lose, you’ve already lost. In life, even if you run but come in last, you’ll still grow. You might fight a battle and end up with a bloody nose, but it teaches you to duck the next time around. You need courage so that you can step out.
You also need faith to grow. Faith is trusting that God will do what He said He will do. It is believing that He won’t let you down.
Growth is a process. Too many Christians try to skip the process. When guest ministry comes, the church is packed out. People who are perpetually late for church come half an hour early just to reserve a seat. What they are looking for is a quick fix. They don’t want to go through the growing process. They want someone to lay hands on them and pray for them or to give them a prophetic word. Then they expect that their life will suddenly change for the better. You can’t live off someone else’s anointing. You need to spend time with God for yourself and then you will experience His anointing on your life. No matter how hard a 17-year old tries to be 25-years old, he is still just 17. Growth is not instantaneous. You have to take the time to let the Holy Spirit change you.
What a great message, especially for someone like me, who is always after instant results. There have been several things that I know the Holy Spirit is convicting me about, and obedience can be a very scary thing. But, as Pastor Bob said, I can’t remain a caterpillar and have a butterfly experience. In order to have that butterfly experience – to walk in freedom and fruitfulness – I need to step out with courage and faith. Amen and ouch!