Following that, the Holy Spirit gradually transforms, sanctifies, our hearts. Our desires slowly grow into what God's desires are. We are still flesh and bones and sin creeps in and tempts us on the occasion or even for seasons at a time. However, God is the shepherd of our lives and will lead us away from darkness and into His truth, even if it hurts. He is intentional to transform us more into obedient followers. It’s a process.
When I truly fell in love with skateboarding, my instant desire was to buy a pair of Vans, ditch my “Walmart board” that my parents reluctantly bought me, and begin having my mother religiously bring me to the local skatepark. A new identity took root, a passion revealed. I was transformed into a skater. 15 years have passed since that skateboarder identity settled in my life and I’m still actively participating in it. Years of tricks landed, slams taken, and clips filmed. Yet, I’m still learning and enjoying it. Now, I can do many tricks that I could never do when I had just started. It’s been a growing process into the skateboarder I am today. First the identity, then the works and actions of a skater.
Many who skateboard, or have any real hobby, have seen or felt this transformation. The moment you decided, “I love this. I wanna do this.” There was a moment you didn’t skate, but now you are a skater. The Bible is clear on our instant identity change whenever we come to know and love God.
Ephesians 5:8 explains this identity, soul change by showing that we were once literally “darkness” but now are “light” because of God’s saving grace. Isaiah 62:4 displays how in God’s eyes you were “forsaken” but by the cross and Jesus’ atonement you who know and love God are “delighted” in. You were dead in sin, but now made alive in Christ, as described in Colossians 3. What an incredible truth and assurance we have as Christians, which occurs in a moment when we surrender our lives to God. We belong to Him.
With our souls and standing made completely new now, there still comes daily temptations to fall back to “old self” patterns of the flesh. (Ephesians 4:22-24) Our identity is set, yet we must continue to battle against sin. God’s Word explains that as we seek Him, depend upon His help, and are faithful with our efforts and goals, we will grow. We must strive to live as our “new selves.” Similarly, this is just like in skateboarding. Yes, you are a skater now, but you have to go continue to try it! Attempt tricks, take slams, check out new spots, go film with the homies…get out there and try. Within all this, the love and joy of skateboarding exists. The same for our faith in Jesus. Upon the hardship and sweetness of life, we are called to enjoy and go after Him within are new selves.
Have you experienced God’s saving transformation? How is God continuing to shape you today? What sins do you need to fight or what person do you need to approach in faith?
If you’ve been struggling to believe in God’s salvific power, I encourage you to get to know Him. See how good He is. Try to see how powerful and merciful He’s always been. It will transform your life.