- An antique hot rod roadster broken down and rusted out
- An antique hot rod roadster with enough repairs to make it drive-able
- An antique hot rod roadster repaired and renovated with an engine that runs like new even though the body still needs work
- An antique hot rod roadster renovated with a great engine, a restored exterior and a beautifully tailored interior
Which one of those would bring the most enjoyment (I am making the assumption that we’re talking about what it would mean to a person who likes those kinds of things)?
I will also assume that most people would say the last one.
It would be nice to take a broken down, rusted out car and bring it back to life. But it’s even better to see it transformed in a way that does honor to its original design and purpose. It takes one level of work to get to the first stage. It takes additional work to get to the last stage.
I was reading a book recently written by a former professor of mine. He was talking about John Wesley and the Methodist perspective on salvation and the Bible. For years now we have been doing much scholarly work on the writings in the Bible, but Wesley was more interested in how we work out our salvation. You see, for some, salvation is the moment when the rusted out, broken down car is once again able to be driven. It went from being dead to being alive.
But for us, as United Methodists, we see salvation not as an event but a lifetime process of renewal. It used to be that people came to be part of the Methodist movement because they wanted to know the fullness of their salvation. They wanted to be FULLY transformed not just somewhat transformed. So, things like worship, Communion, prayer, meeting together in small groups to discuss “how is it with your soul”, visiting the sick, serving the poor – all these things were not ways to be a “good” Methodist, they were ways of allowing the Spirit of God to move in them to transform them. To go from being drivable to attaining showroom status.
It’s not a way to make yourself better than others. But it is a way to let God make you better than you are. You just have to want it to happen and you have to allow it to happen. How transformed do you want to be?
Think of the spiritual practices of worship, prayer, searching the Scriptures, serving others, etc. as a means of allowing the power of God to work in you to transform you and make your life so much more than it has been – to make you more and more like Jesus himself. Think of these things in that way and suddenly worship becomes something greater than just the music and the preaching; visiting others becomes more than being a kind person, prayer becomes more than a requirement to be checked off your list.
It is the power of God’s grace that gives us new life – gets us drive-able again. It is also God’s grace that continues to work in us to get us back to our original design and purpose. Even after you say yes to Jesus, to following him and believing in all he has done for you, if you open yourself up to the power of God’s grace you will find yourself changed. You will find yourself transformed. Open yourself up and seek to enter into the fullness of your salvation and you will find the grace of God at work transforming you. The question of “how is it with your soul?” will become a question pregnant with possibility and you will find yourself anxious to bear witness to what God is doing and what you hope God will do in you next.
It is all due to God’s power, but it remains your choice.
How transformed do you want to be?
Holy high-five to you,