By Dr. William Holland
For Capital Region Independent Media
I was at my daughter’s home a few years ago doing some painting and yes, these are things that retired fathers are happy to do. She was in another room organizing a closet while listening to some music and the Michael Jackson song, “The Man in the Mirror” was playing. I listened intently. Certain songs occasionally stick in our heads and I sensed the Lord speaking to me about this profound message.
We all have mirrors in our homes and they are generally used to make sure our hair and clothes look presentable or if we have barbecue sauce on our face, but there is also a deeper thought about reflecting when we consider what type of person we are on the inside.
Spiritual transformation comes when we are convicted to examine our conscience, which is exactly what God has been trying to communicate to us since the beginning. You see, we are born with a default spirit that must be changed.
The chorus of the song says, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways.” Actually, God is the one demanding for us to change, but a critical component within this process is that first, we must see our need to yield our will to Him. Until the desire to change becomes stronger than our desire to remain the same, satisfaction with our default existence will continue.
Each week I encounter people that are in different stages of their journey and part of my mission as a minister and counselor is to help and encourage them however the Lord leads. One of the strongest obstacles when it comes to letting go of what we want and embracing what God wants is an aggressive passion to protect our position as the master of our own destiny. Individuals might listen to motivational messages to improve their lifestyles, but many modern churches are failing to explain God’s demand for sanctification. For Christ to be our Lord, our carnal nature must die.
Most people are familiar with the word “covenant” and realize that it is a binding agreement between two parties. God made His blood covenant promise when He sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay for our sins. However, accepting this offer of forgiveness is not the complete idea of salvation. It is God’s side of the contract.
Since Jesus gave Himself for us, our promise within this covenant is to give ourselves to Him. Without a complete transformation of our spirit and mind, we are playing religious games.
Colossians 2:20 talks about being crucified with Christ, yet abiding in Him and allowing Him to control our new life. In chapter 3 and verse 3, God declares to those who are born again, “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Romans 6:11 says, “Likewise in the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”
Many will say I raised my hand when asked who wants to go to heaven, but it was not explained that I am to be possessed by Him. Grace is an opportunity to love and serve God but was never intended to be a license to live however we want.
It seems the new comfortable way of celebrating salvation is being relieved that God rescued us from eternal death, while ignoring the need to examine our soul to see if He is pleased with our dedication and responsibility to this covenant. A fundamental difference between many people and the story of the rich young ruler is that he truly believed what Jesus said about the conditions to be a child of God. He walked away depressed because surrendering his will was just too painful.
Today, many evidently do not believe God’s warnings and walk away content to follow their own opinions and philosophies.
God loves us and invites us to love Him, but He has no intention of allowing us to remain the same. The last few verses in Matthew chapter 16 remind us about taking up our cross which is a symbol of a torturous death. Again, this is about sacrificing our depraved nature so that Christ can be our Master. “You mean believing there is a God is not enough to be saved?” No. “The demons also believe and tremble.” James 2:19.
Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com.