Extreme Selfie Makeover

[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]F[/mk_dropcaps]ixing your focus on Jesus and seeking His presence is what makes true transformation possible.  The bible says [mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.Romans 12:2[/mk_blockquote]

Our transformation is proof of the good and  acceptable will of God.  The transformation takes place between our own two ears.  Instead of having resolutions, why not take time to reflect on the events of this last year and to be grateful for how God has moved in your life?  As I addressed in Untethered, anchoring our hope to our creator is what frees us from the past; setting us on the path to what lies ahead.  When our focus and our thoughts shift off ourselves and onto God, life then moves into proper perspective.  We can clearly see where we have advanced, fallen short, and what new areas have risen to the surface needing attention.  This life is more about progress than perfection!  If you need proof that we are not made for perfection, then look to the Old Testament law and commandments and see how many times a sacrifice was made to atone for sins.  Our imperfection is why Jesus came to earth.  He came to settle the score for our sins, once and for all.

With that said, we must still live our lives while dealing with our old habits, even after we have received Christ as our savior.  From a position of relationship with our creator, we then begin to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.  This transformation is not some brainwashing experience that happens automatically, but a decision we must make daily.  What are the right things to think and meditate on?  And why do we need to focus on them?   Let me take the last question first.  Why?  That’s simple.  God has prepared good works in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).  We have work to do here to bring God’s perfect will down from heaven into our current reality.  It is not something out of our capacity, God built us for it specifically.  There is not a system to learn to accomplish it, but rather a person to deepen in relationship with Jesus. When you do this you see what gifts and talents that are unique to you to walk in.   As you learn who He is you see the stark contrast of what is of Him and what is not.  The path meant for you and you alone is then easy to spot.  What growth this journey creates within and through you is not something that can be measured or seen from the outside initially, but rather, begins at our very core.

Now for the first question, What are the right things to think about? The bible lays that out plainly in-Philippians 4: 8-9

[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.[/mk_blockquote]

We accomplish transformation or an “extreme selfie makeover” by pumping in the word of God.  It is all the things listed above: true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy.  But the transformation of our mind doesn’t stop there.  Transforming our mind comes from seeking to encounter His presence, consistently and repeatedly.  Just like our need to bathe, clean and pay bills never goes away, so our need to keep pumping in the word of God and seeking His face never goes away.  We will never “arrive”.  What closes this circle of neverending transformation, you ask?  We are to go back around and help others to encounter Jesus’ presence.

While evaluation of circumstances is so prominent for many of us this time of year, remember the whole point of transformation is not to be more like the world but to be more like Jesus. That is how you know you are progressing the right way in your “extreme selfie makeover.” Think of this as a standard or a sieve.  Filter your decisions and thoughts through it.

Is this taking me closer to or further from Jesus?

How do you know you are becoming more like Jesus?  Well, our God is love, so if you are growing in your love for Him and His people, you are on the right track.  You will seek to obey and serve God above all others.  From that place of overflow, a desire is formed and a call to action is heard.  A call to build, to love & to serve His people.  The command we have from Christ is blunt:

[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Loving God includes loving people. You have got to love both.- 1 John 4: 21 MSG[/mk_blockquote]

We know we are drawing closer to Jesus and embracing our transformation when the evidence rises to the surface.  Our intentions alone have not changed, but our actions and behaviors as well.  Being naturally selfish, coupled now with social media’s “selfie” epidemic we have to bring into submission the tendency to be focused on self. We barricade what God can do in and through our lives if we keep our focus on our own needs, wants and desires.  Honestly I can feel it when I pray only for my circumstances, while I am connecting with my heavenly father in prayer, I feel unsatisfied and almost restricted. Every time I stretch a bit more to pour into others, I find the capacity of my thoughts increases.  I am so thankful that I do not have to be perfect.  Even cutting down my selfish tendencies in a small way creates room for God to move and bless me and others through me.  I am humbled by this thought and challenged to continue to die to self daily. My anticipation grows as I see what God can do even with a little more of my heart and it encourages me to keep going. The struggle to take my intentions of love and ensure they are put into action points that I am on the right track, there is more work to do.  There always will be, but we are in this together.

I think it is time to get back to that makeover...