This post is part of a devotional I wrote for our community pastors. For the most part the pastors are older than us…that presents a challenge…being the youngsters in the group. Since it was our first time meeting in the new year, I chose this topic.
This past Sunday we entered a new year. We have been told every year – new year, new you – put the old year behind you and start anew. A popular thing to do at this time of year is to make New Year’s Resolutions. In most cases, they simply become promises that we don’t keep. People make promises all the time on how they going to transform their lives, but Paul tells us that cannot wait for a new year – we are to be transformed continually. Listen to what Paul writes to the Roman church:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 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.
Paul tells to offer ourselves up as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. It is important that we see that this is a continual thing, not just a once and done thing. Jesus in Luke’s gospel reminds us, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) This is what it means to be a living sacrifice, it is continually giving up ourselves and following Christ. Paul echoes this – be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Renewing implies that this is ongoing, day by day process.
It is not only a day by day process but it is a moment by moment process. God wants us to like clay that he can mold. When we look at Jeremiah 18 gives us a great example of clay in the potter’s hand.
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.
One of the important things to remember here is that we need to be flexible in the hands of the Master. As Pam and I get older – we realize that it gets harder to be flexible – we get set in our ways. Most people like to be comfortable and not change. They get like the clay that has been fired – it has been hardened – if it is not what the potter wants – it will more than likely be broken or shattered – no good to anyone.
God wants us to be open to the changes and the transformations that he wants to make in our hearts. God wants us to open to the changes that will make us better pastors this year. There will be times that we will not understand the change or transformation that is going on in our life – but we need to remain flexible – remain open to transformation – be constantly seeking transformation. In the Wesleyan Church lately, we have been hearing much about being “made new.” That is exactly what God is calling us to do each and every day.