October 3, 2012

Transformation does not require a degree

The marvel of becoming a Christian and beginning the process of being transformed into His likeness is that anyone can embark on that journey. Jesus invited tax collectors and sinners into a relationship with himself. He also invited children to come to Him, as well as those women who followed Him with amazement that He treated them with respect and consideration. He said that rich or poor, with status or none, whosoever will may come.

I’ve often felt peeved at those who equate knowing God with intellect or education, as if being smart gave a person the upper edge at being like Jesus. Jesus himself did not have a college degree.
The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” (John 7:15)
Knowing Him in a deeper way does not mean that I must have a degree either. No doctorate or formal education of any kind can change my life so that I am more like Jesus. This transformation is available without any special instruction or place in life.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
Spurgeon says that any Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ written out in words and actions. If I am what I profess to be, I should bear such striking likeness to Him that others can say that I also have been with Jesus. 

Certainly He teaches me, and of course knowing the Word of God has great value, but more than that, I must allow the Living Word to control what I say and do. Relying on anything other than the power of the Holy Spirit can boost my ego and feed my pride. This borders on idolatry and is selfish and sinful.
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23–24)
Knowing God does not require study and memorization, being wise or having money. Knowing God is the result of His grace and mercy. Being like Jesus is an incredible gift. If there is anything I can do to further the process, it would be to drop all pride in any of my so-called accomplishments and simply do what He says.

Jesus, You have gifted me with the incredible privilege of becoming like You. May I never hinder the process by thinking I have the power to transform myself. Even obedience is Your work of grace in Your people. You can use education, or money, or wisdom, or status for Your purposes, but You need none of these to change a life. My heart is filled with gratitude that You are at work in me --- no matter what I have or do not have.

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