Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Ephesians 4: 24

 

This may not be a very popular thought to share, but it does seem that in the world of Christian faith many of us get really focused on the anticipation of the return of Jesus and on all of the good things that we believe will be accomplished at that time. We look forward to the end of the struggles that are so very real in our lives, we anticipate the day that our knees and our backs won’t ache, we dream of a day when we will no longer be forced to count our pennies in order to try to figure out how to handle the mountain of dollars that our bills are demanding, and we fixate on a moment when our hearts will no longer be broken. These are good things to anticipate, but they should not represent our greatest form of hope, and that form of change must not be our primary interest.

 

You see, Christ has already come. He is here, and He is alive and in command of this world. Certainly there is a promised future time when the Father will send Jesus back to this world to completely take it away from Satan, and at the end of that process, this world will be restored totally to its created state of glory. But there is a much quicker way to get there for people who are willing to respond to God’s call to our hearts and join Christ in the fight for the souls of people. We need to accept the fact that personal changes, the areas where we need Christ to work in us in order to transform us in His image, are even more important for us and for God’s kingdom than that final permanent restoration of all of Creation. For as we are changed from our sin-afflicted human parent images into our grace-of-God given created image, we are made over into people who bring that same grace and love into this world, whose ability to remain hopeful through all that life throws at us is noticeable, and who are never self-satisfied but are always seeking to know the Lord more fully.

 

The pain of life and of living is real, the challenges are grueling, and the fears that it all generates are intense. Still, these are the elements of our existence that demonstrate the need for a relationship with Christ, and living through these events and times should cause us to seek to know Him better. The Lord does have answers for us, and He seldom responds to our needs by removing the source of the struggle. Rather, God usually brings about another step in the life-long process of change from old self into Christ-like newness. How much we embrace transformation is our choice; yet, as we seek it and focus on it, we bring the glory of the Lord more fully into our lives, and we spend more of our time in the real presence of God.