When we live by religious rules and traditions we unwittingly shift into achievement mode, trying to do the best we can to live up to our standards and most days falling far short and bashing ourselves. That, however, is living by the law. The new creation offers us a new way to live, not by meeting the expectations of law (or even New Testament principles), but the joy of learning to live by his Spirit will draw us into Father’s reality and shift the way we live as the fruit of a growing relationship of love. Transformation is a journey, not an achievement. While perfection is the long-term hope, it is never a daily expectation to be disappointed.
It is such a joy when that reality sinks into a heart. I got this email the other day from a friend and it so touches me to see how this shift has happened in her and her compassion for others still lost in the world of achievement and performance:
I had to write and tell you that I loved, loved, loved reading your book, In Season. It just helped solidified so much of what is going on in my life. It’s helped me to stand strong through the trials I’ve gone through lately. However, I can actually say that I feel like I’m coming into my harvest time. I loved your book He Loves Me, but people really need to read In Season! I think, just my opinion! I’ve given away many copies of your book, He Loves Me, but, now I’m doing it with, In Season.
You know, I’m realizing there’s a lot of people out there that are hurting in institutional religion, that would probably love to walk in a journey like ours, but are just too afraid. I love my journey with the Lord and I would never go back. I’ve given my yoga instructor your book, He Loves Me. She loves it and talks about it all the time… she’s a believer! She says she can’t wait to read In Season.
I use to regret so much in my life, but I don’t any more. I’m the person that I am today, because of the things I’ve walked through. I’m stronger, steadier, and less afraid! I know that trials will continue to come, but, my responses are and will be so much different.
Isn’t that what’s great about a journey? You don’t have to waste time in regret for the past. Yes, we all have things we wish we hadn’t done, or spent more time trying to get something to work that was never meant to, but even those things become part of our journey as he draws us into himself and shows us how we can live freely in him even in the broken world that can cause so much pain.
That’s why I wrote In Season, to help people see that instead of trying to accomplish something for God by our own efforts, we can relax into the rhythm of his work in us realizing that each day holds the possibility of new discovery and greater freedom. Since I grew up on a vineyard, this is a farmer’s view of John 15 and Jesus’ encouragement to learn to live in him like a branch lives in a vine. We get to enjoy the relationship and in doing so our lives are transformed with better ways to think, live, and love in the world. Spiritual growth is organic, a response to the circumstances and challenges in our life and the joy of walking in them with him and his strength.
And I love her compassion for people still lost in the world of religious performance. Having been there ourselves, who better to realize how lost and blind you can be even as your patting yourself on the back for being a ‘radical’ disciple of Jesus? They need our love, compassion, and friendship, not our judgment and anger.
And as a reminder, most of our books are available at bulk discounts so you can share them with others affordably or start a study if you want. And individual copies of In Season is available for less than $10.00.
4 thoughts on “Transformation is a Journey not an Achievement”
The original post was funny and like I used to say to my old boss who used to ask me to do the impossible sometimes I used to say “I believed in Jesus not that I was Jesus”.
Thank you for another insightful and thought provoking post.
It isn’t human effort that glorifies our Father. His work is what glorifies Him so I need to get out of His way and just trust Him more.
I just read the parable of the 3 servants that received varying gifts from their master and 2 of them used those gifts to turn a nice profit. I want to learn to do the little I can do with whatever He presents to me so He can trust me too. I know I’m not earning salvation. That has been purchased for me at a terrible cost already. But there is so much to be learned and gained as I walk with Him.
I thought the missing “f” made the statement pretty direct.!!!! I had an “f” problem too when I wished someone “good luck”…… Oh well. Martha..
Thank you Wayne. Your words, as do those of the person writing to you, ring so very true in my ears. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I have several others that I have read. As a former “vocational” Pastor for 20 years I had a boat load of disappointments and yet the freedom I have experienced from becoming unfettered from the tyranny of religious performance is powerfully releasing me to become who I truly am. Simply put, a very loved son! Oh that my 8 years of ministry preparation in the scholastic institution that I attended could have taught me such lessons. I guess that it needed to happen as the saying goes, “the teacher showed up when this student was ready”. The pain is what lead me to a complete end of me and all my striving for significance. The amazing thing is that I’m still pastoring in a bi-vocational manner which has freed me enormously since money has come off the table. I’m not quite sure how long I’ll stay in this role but trust that Father will lead me. The influence he has given me there is wonderful and it’s not just a pulpit thing but an “over coffee” thing. I have asked a few friends that I have genuine community with if they would like to do a book club (so as to avoid the trappings of what a Bible Study brings) and go through He Loves Me. They were excited to do so and we have gathered once, over a meal and are letting each following time together to be dictated by our schedules. They absolutely love the book and I’m believing that we are right where God wants us on this transformational journey. I so appreciated having the opportunity to enter into your’s and Brad’s journeys each week on the podcast and hope that next time you are in New England we can meet up. I pray that your Summer respite is fruitful for both you and Sara.
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