March 18, 2009

Transformation-christ in Me

Colossians 1:24-27

This mystery … is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Colossians 1:27


To be transformed, we have to become spiritually alive. But what does this mean and how does it happen? Maybe we can learn something from the following conversation I had with a monk at a spiritual retreat.

I asked the monk what it meant to be spiritual. I imagined that this quiet man would talk about being holy in body, soul, and spirit, about living in the presence of Christ every minute of the day, about being completely separated unto the work of God, about being free of all selfishness and impurity. But his simple reply was this: “To be spiritual, just be yourself.”

“Just be myself?” I retorted. “But I’m sinful. My thoughts are polluted. My words hurt people. My actions are geared to benefit myself.”

So I inquired again, “Tell me, really, what does it mean to be spiritual?”

“Just be Jesus,” he said.

“Be Jesus?” I repeated with frustration. “How can I become divine?”

Well, I can’t, but the Spirit of Christ can make his home in me. The key to transformation is Christ living in us. God is not just far above us in heaven. He came to live among us in Christ, and now his Spirit comes to live in us, to teach and guide and transform us to be like Jesus. We are new creatures in Christ. What a mystery!

Lord of glory, may we base our lives each day on the truth that Christ does indeed live within us through the Holy Spirit. May your grace and power transform us fully. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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