Yearning for the Transformed Life (#608)

Why do some Christians enjoy a good legalistic flogging every Sunday from their pastor? What does it do for them? That question starts a conversation with Wayne and Brad about transformation. Most Christians seem to believe we were saved by grace through faith, but after that we're supposed to work hard to live better lives. Failing that, we have to have regular times of groveling in shame to be forgiven and wipe the slate clean so we can try again. Except that our efforts at self-reformation never last. Never. Unless we learn how to engage a real relationship with God, we will continually fall into this cycle of failure, guilt, repentance, performance, and failure again. Or we'll just give up and claim the freedom to serve our own desires. Being transformed by his work in us and then participating in his work in the world is the greatest adventure the Gospel offers us.

Podcast Notes:
Helping with Agriculture in Pokot
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  1. In response to all the enticements or forceful compulsion to performance/obedience/change I ask the question “How much is enough?” The futility we experience can be understood when we get that this approach can’t work. You can never do enough, well enough.

    Of course God’s rest does not equate to doing nothing. However, if the source of what we do is the knowing of Jesus, it will come out looking like him, in the most “natural” of ways.

    The performance treadmill is exhausting (only redeeming quality is facilitating coming to an end of ourselves and our efforts to “get to God”). Just ask any “none”.

  2. We have the perfect shadow of the “true Relationship with God” before us in MARRIAGE, yet many people still run into the ” I must do” , or “I will do”, or I must try harder, or getting beat up over what I did or didn’t do. How is that working out for you in your marriage?
    It is not enough to love you spouse and demonstrate that love in things you do for one another.
    It is in relationship that we start to learn, and change, not because we have to but because we want to as we start to see with different eye the things around us. I got to understand the heart of God more in my relationship with my wife than I all the sermons that I heard. an example was when she stood alongside me even when I was ” dumb” that spoke more to me about Gods Grace than many sermons.
    Are we after all not the Bride of Christ.

  3. I have a Quaker heritage. I’d like to know the book you referenced with George Fox quotes.

  4. An Exhortation to Friends in the Ministry: Works Volume 1 is what is referenced in the Podcast.

    Maybe the potential usefulness or value of the paradoxical nature of the two cited quotes would fall in the moment, in the context, in the delivery? If in fact real transformation comes from the activity of the Spirit of God upon and within the hearer, then in the moment the same statement could bring differing conviction to the individual hearer?
    FTR, I’m not saying I’m a fan of that type of Old Covenant “preaching” but I doubt if Fox’s ultimate intent was to make sure people knew God is pissed and he’ll be back for them. 😉

    Love this podcast. Whenever it hits my desktop e-mail I immediately forward to my phone and “join in the conversation” during my work day as opportunity arises.

    Always a tricky deal to point out that real life comes from “focusing” on Jesus within as even the act of “focusing” and making sure the world knows what a great focuser I am can become a new and better good work.
    Personally I do feel that is key though.
    Contrast focusing on sin and my vow to avoid it as opposed to focusing on Jesus and what he has done and is doing in me. In my life, this is what pray without ceasing looks like. (When I am doing it right, ha ha).

    Thanks for the great seed thoughts, so much appreciate the dialog.

    • Thanks for the help, Fred. I’m sure the contexts of those quotes would explain some things, but I thought it interesting that the same emailer that sent me the first, sent me the second a week later without any explanation. Obviously they saw no conflict between the two… And yet they are vastly different.

  5. As I listened to this podcast, my mind sifted through the wrong leadership models that heard taught and even embraced while within the confines of the modern Christian Religion. I could not begin to count the number of sermons and lessons I heard or taught that used Old Covenant models of leadership to reinforce the current paradigm of leadership hierarchy.
    The cycles of turning away from God and returning to Him in the period of the Judges was used as proof text as to why we need to have strong leaders to keep the group from going astray. Now as I am living free, the model of Judges shows me why I need the cross and Jesus.
    The cycle of the Judges seems to be compressed into weekly periods, at the present time. With guilt as the primary motivator to, “do good”, the affect wears off by mid-week. There is then more guilt for not sustaining the effort, so back to the “Judge” the next Sunday to appease the conscience and repeat the pattern. So glad to be freeing myself from this ugly pattern.

  6. Thanks for quick reply. I did listen again and found reference in Google books. Thanks

  7. Good topic..

    My perspective is most church goers do enjoy “legalistic flogging” on Sunday morning.
    We search for more polished / sophisticated “legalistic flogging” messages / churches.

    Maybe a bit strong statement..
    But that has been my experience.

  8. My 6 year old daughter was crying in the backseat of our car saying “I try to obey God but I keep sinning and I try so hard and I want to so bad but I can’t” The Spirit spoke through me the story of Martin Luther…I said there once was a man who had the same problem and he even used to beat himself but one day he read in the Bible that it is by grace through faith that is isn’t about him obeying perfectly, he learned we can’t but it’s His Grace in us and she immediately went from tortured tears to overflowing giggling saying “I get it I get it” since that day she has been the one in our house that always gets grace…thank you for your podcasts! It seems if we ever do listen to a sermon there is a works message:( that same daughter of mine can easily pick out of the sermon what is works and I am SO thankful we do not go to an institution as it seems to be leavened there…the last sermon we listened to started out so exciting about an underground missionary but then it ended with how none of us read our bibles everyday and yet people in the world don’t even have bibles…my daughter looked up at me and said “I read my Bible everyday I love to what is he talking about” I don’t need my children growing up with that human performance shame.

    • This is Wayne, Victoria. Wow! That performance starts to appeal to our flesh at very young ages, and the web of shame gets woven around us. Glad you’re there and looking for ways to disarm it in your daughter. So cool!

  9. Yes praise God we are on a path of grace versus works…it was probably our influence as parents that taught our kids the performance way:( even our three year old daughter said to her grandpa at night time prayers, “Dear God help me to obey my mom, my dad, my grandpa Amen…oh man do I got to work on that”
    My dad(the grandpa) was so happy to hear that but inside I was hurting knowing my three year old was going to sleep thinking about how she has to work at it….we had read parenting books taught through different small groups each book was on raising an obedient child:( ahhhh! So thankfully we are on a Grace filled path and even today I got to tell my sweet litte one that was then three but now eight…about how I’m trusting in Jesus and His love for me to love on my kids today instead of “trying not to be angry” and how when our focus is on Him loving us it actually takes the burden off and frees us…I shared this with her after she told me she is going to put her chocolate sweet in her room and practice to not take it for a whole day to learn not to steal….lol when I told her about what I learned in the podcast she decided to pray with me to just let go of trying and live in His love:) already a victorious day in our house today! Thank you!

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