“Who do you think you are? You’re not qualified for this. You’re not smart enough for this, and you’re not gifted enough for this.”
Does this sound like something maybe you’ve thought about yourself at some point? And then, God says to you, “Check, check, check, but none of those things are on My list.” What God wants to know is “Are you available, and obedient, and under authority? Because if you are, then I will anoint you and appoint you to do things that you couldn’t even imagine.”
There is a mentality that many of us have which needs to change. it’s the mentality that I love the idea that Jesus would come and erase some of the problems in my life. If Jesus has come to erase my guilt, and my shame, and my debt, then, “Yes, please” sign me up for that! Just like the Jews thought, during Jesus’ day that the Messiah has come to erase their bondage, erase the consequences of their mistakes, we can be tempted to think that Jesus will erase some things for us too. It’s true that Jesus comes to change things, but it’s not just to erase; it’s to exchange.
It’s true that Jesus comes to change things, but it’s not just to erase; it’s to exchange.
We find that temptation giving way to thinking that Jesus is all about behavior modification. We might like to think that we can do all the Christian things, and if you have behaviors that produce negative things in your life, Jesus can come and modify those behaviors. The problem with seeing Jesus as primarily interested in behavior modification is we always end up negotiating which behaviors we would like Him to modify.
People come to church, and they get around people who are making different kinds of decisions – good life decisions – and they decide, “Well, I guess that’s what church is all about; I’m going to change my behavior.” Then they change their behavior. And that sounds like a good thing, but if you ever watch somebody who has only the power of their own will to accomplish a task, you may notice, however transformative the modification, it might not work for them for very long. The Good News is that Jesus said, “I didn’t come to modify your behavior; I came so that you could be born again.” And when Jesus says things like, “I’m going to make all things new. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus,” He’s not talking about modifying your behavior. He’s talking about a new identity that now makes the part of you that God created to flourish come alive.
I’m going to make all things new. You are a new creation in Christ Jesus
Because His presence breathes life into you that can only be recovered through the One that created you. And when you embrace an exchange of identity, it is far more sweeping than behavior modification.