Is TRANSFORMATION in Christ Only a Myth for Christian Men?

A Mission Statement can be a powerful force. Or it can be neatly tucked away in a drawer while the people who wrote it attend to Urgent and Important business. When a Mission Statement is TRANSCENDENT, human effort alone will not go very far to ensure its completion. Another Power altogether is required for the Mission to succeed.

TRANSFORMATION is central to the Mission Statement of Four Streams Partners. Here is that Mission Statement:

The Mission of Four Streams Partners is to Awaken Men to More LIFE Through a Transformational Relationship with Jesus.

The Cocoon. Could anything good ever come from something as awkward and unseemly as this?

The Cocoon. Could anything good ever come from something as awkward and unseemly as this?

I remember connecting to Jesus by faith in my last year of high school. What struck me so profoundly was this Scripture from the New Testament.

“If any man is in Christ he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new.” II Corinthians 5:17

My mirror didn’t show anything that looked particularly NEW. My body composition - much to my chagrin - was not altered in any way. But I deeply trusted that SOMETHING had begun to shift. In fact, I trusted that this SOMETHING had changed forever in a radical way that I could not completely grasp.

Now - some four decades later - I can report that that there are signs that indicate that this transformation thing is real.

  • I am convinced that I cannot save myself. I tried through Performance, Comparison, Judgment and Appearance to convince myself (and God) that I was worthy. Without a Savior beyond my self, I am totally lost.

  • I have tried to prove my goodness and discovered my moral bankruptcy.

  • Having given myself over to Jesus, I can attest that, after forty+ years of walking with God, I am more desperate for God than I was at the Beginning. This Desperate Need for his LIFE to be my engine for walking on the narrow road is a clue to me that I am on a good path.

  • I had hoped to assert my Independence and Self Determination to separate me from the masses. My search for a loophole from the words of Jesus, “Without me you can do nothing,” proved fruitless.

On a daily basis, I experience what I have learned to call the ‘Ache Gap’. This gap measures the difference between the ‘Absolute Peak’ of my spiritual experience plotted on the same graph next to my ‘Desperate Need for God’. The distance between my best experience with God - on on any given day - and my awareness of my need for God is NOT an expression of failure on my part.

Rather it is a newfound revelation to me that something ELSE grows in the life of a Christian. I was told from the beginning that my faith would grow and that I could grow more fully into the likeness of Christ. I never expected - however - for my ‘Desperate Need for God’ to GROW. But it has grown at a faster rate and at a higher trajectory than I could have imagined. This has been one of the great surprises of my Life with God.

A beautiful creature emerging from God’s ‘holding tank’ - the cocoon.

A beautiful creature emerging from God’s ‘holding tank’ - the cocoon.

I’ll admit that when I experience the ‘Ache Gap’, I sometimes feel Lonely, Hurt or Sad… maybe even all Three. But I’m beginning to learn that this ‘Ache Gap’ is a Divine Nudge from the Father to simply turn to him and invite him into the current moment.

I’m NOT saying that this ‘spread’ between my current (and best) experience of my Life with God and my ‘desperate Need for God’ is ONLY pain. It’s not. Learning to Love from a deep well of God’s Life is proof that I am a ‘branch in search of a Vine’. There IS Fruit from the spirit. But it doesn’t always feel bubbly, ecstatic and happy.

It has taken some time to process this thought. It is part of my own realization that God is TRANSFORMING me. And if he is doing it inside of me I can only assume that he is doing a similar thing inside of every man or woman who asks this of him…. “Make me Wholehearted!”

The simplest picture we have of TRANSFORMATION is that of a caterpillar to a butterfly. Will you embrace the possibility that the transformation of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly is one of God’s most poignant parables?