Love changes people. Just look at teenage guys who fall in love. Suddenly they are taking showers every day, checking their hair, making sure they have clean clothes. And that's just if they are going to be chatting with the girl. A true sign of love is when he starts using mouth wash and actually brushing his teeth a few times a day. Women bring out the best in men.
It is said that God's love changes us and this is true but we can't stop at that. His love opens the door to real change as his power changes us. It goes beyond us "showering" and "brushing our teeth". The change is not just our love response to God. The change comes by his power as Creator and Lord over all things. It is more than an emotional response; there is actual real spiritual change that makes us a new creation.
This is important for us to picture in ourselves because too often we treat Christianity like a change of clothes. This is the wrong change because the core of our being doesn't change, just our appearance. But something really significant has happened to us since we accepted Jesus as Saviour and Lord. We have been altered, changed, re-made:
... having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:12)
Death changes a person. We died so what we were no longer exists. Death is not a changing of clothes. Death is an entirely different state of being. So we died, changing forever who we are but we did not stay dead. According to our faith in the power of God to make us new, we were raised with Jesus. We were transformed by the power of God into a new creation, one that is sustained by living in Jesus.
Such a new life in our Holy God does not allow for what we once were to come visiting any more. When we try on those old clothes we find they no longer fit, they are no longer comfortable, they even stink. We have been given new clothes that fit our new state of being. This is not a cosmetic change. It is not a change we have made. It is not something we have decided to do in reaction to Jesus' love. This is something that was done for us, to us, by the power of God.
I am overstating this point because I read people's blogs stating they love God with their entire being but they fill their blog with vile and vulgar things. The two don't add up. I hear people stating they are followers of Jesus but they fill their life with fear, anxiety and stress. I hear a lot of words but all I see is people taking "showers". There is no real change. There is no faith in the power of God. There are no new creation, only dressed up pretenders. I am not saying they are pretending on purpose, only that people do not know the difference between conformity and transformation.
We need to discover the real relationship we have been called to in Jesus. We need to allow ourselves to die. Die to what we think is important to us. Die to our perspective, values and purpose. We have to allow ourselves to be buried with Jesus so that the power of God can raise us to new life. Some people are fasting over the next few weeks and for many the purpose is to reconnect to that death, to make sure we are not wearing the wrong garments, to insure that nothing else has taken possession of us. Take a look at your life, your relationship with Jesus and ask yourself if you have experienced death and resurrection by the power of God. Are you just taking "showers" or are you a new creation?