So then, if we want to see radical transformation we need to be transformed too. Continually. But the thing is, how? Well 3 things I want to highlight here…
1) The age old adage, WWJD? Has to be our first starting point doesn’t it? So, what did Jesus do? I’m not sure he needed radical transformation did he? And yet his life was a journey too, from being born in a stable (possibly!) to growing up, going through teenage years, learning his trade, and finally stepping out into his destiny, teaching people how to love, how to live, how to truly know God. Well what we do know is that Jesus not only knew scripture, he also spent time with his Father and he spent time with people. Even at the tender age of 12 he was there in the temple chatting with the Rabbis and teachers and asking them questions (Luke 2). Why did he need to do that? Was it simply to encourage them or was he in fact learning too? Either way, he took time to do that, to think, to talk, to question. So then, do we do this? Do we feed ourselves? Do we read God’s word, study it? question it, learn about it? Do we spend time with God? Do we withdraw as Jesus did to just spend time with him? And do we spend time with others, talking about our faith or about what God has done?
2) Which leads me on to Acts 2. Acts is a great book to look at when it comes to evangelism and mission, documenting the start of the church and how God was working, it’s full of the excitement of a life lived surrendered to God. Acts 2:42-47 is often quoted but rightly so:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
What a wonderful picture of life! And whilst we might think it possibly unrealistic in today’s world, I think that depends on how much you are willing to give up. Although I’m not suggesting we all sell all our possessions and I admit I’d find that pretty hard! and I’m not sure it’s necessary for everyone anyway, that is a calling for sure. BUT what they do is (v.42) devote themselves to teaching, to fellowship and to prayer and communion. And of course we see the results: signs and wonders, salvations and the growth of the church. Not that hard, right? learning about God, spending time with each other, encouraging one another, sharing stories, praying together and of course breaking bread together. Are we doing this? regularly? truly?
3) Thirdly, risk taking. Jesus wasn’t one to sit on his laurels and he certainly challenged the status quo. I don’t think we can expect God to work, for our missional efforts to reach people, if we don’t step out. The disciples were continually doing that, praying for people and trusting God to answer their prayers, leaving behind all they knew, their families and friends, risking their lives. And we see they don’t always get it right either. I love that in so many of the stories about the disciples, often Jesus has to rebuke them or remind them of what he is really all about. I think it’s a good lesson for all of us that we are still learning too, heck if they made mistakes and he was right there with them then surely we can expect to, as well!
If we start with these 3 things I think we’ll be well on the path to a radical transformation!