We are looking at six aspects of transformation as part of the Christian walk with Christ. Our second consideration is the motivation for our commitment to transformation.
“For Christ’s love compels us.” (2 Corinthians 5:14, NIV) Paul reminds us that discipleship is a joyous response to the grace of God in Christ. We seek to be transformed because we are overtaken by this grace, overwhelmed by God’s love and grace. John Frank writes, “Just as Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us, He desires that we learn to be givers in our everyday lives in response to His generosity.”[i] We must never confuse the indicatives of grace with the imperatives of the Christian life. It is the unmerited grace of God that is the indicative of our faith. It is the foundation, the unchanging and unchangeable truth of our existence. Once we see and know and apprehend this incredible truth, we respond by following the imperatives that such a grace requires.
These imperatives are nothing less than utter joyful responses. They may be called obedience and servanthood, but if they are the product of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, they are always joy-filled and free. They are our individual and communal response of selling all we have and, with joy, acquiring the treasure hidden in the field. When you are freely given a treasure beyond all value how can you receive it but with joy, thanksgiving, and praise? These are the transformational marks of the godly steward—this is what we are called to, created for in lives and work.
It is the scheme of the enemy to turn joyful response into dogmatic servitude. He seeks to steal our joy and burden us with un-Scriptural, self-aggrandizing activities driven by guilt and a desire to seize control of our own fate. When the love of Christ no longer compels us, a host of counterfeit motivations will fill the void.
The solution is to pray with David, “restore unto me the joy of my salvation.” When we are overwhelmed with God’s love for us, we will, in turn, open ourselves up to his transforming Spirit. What do you need to do today to be able to say with Paul, “the love of Christ compels me?”
This blog is excerpted from the upcoming book, The Calling to Christian Leadership: Foundations and Practices, Edited by John S. (Jack) Burns, John R. Shoup, and Donald C. Simmons, Jr. Submitted for publication in 2014.
[i] John Frank, The Ministry of Development, (Woodinville: Steward Publishing, 2005), p. 15.