Do we pursue truth and then do it or is it done in us and then we act like it? Do we train ourselves to operate in the ways that we know to be right and good so that we will enjoy the benefits or do we allow right and good to come out of us as fruit of our identity? Do we do it or does it do something in us?
This is a tension within Christianity, as far as I can tell. When we enter into relationship with Jesus, there is transformation immediately and apparently in most cases, although that immediate manifestation is not the fullness of who we are. The immediate change of heart in our new birth at least influences our appetites but likely, when rooted as our new identity, changes those appetites to such a degree that there is a visible change in our behaviors.
Then as we are walking out this new life, we begin to read of the things, ways, commands and promises of God and we have every intention of agreeing with Him for us. We have been changed, there is a new creation, so that hunger for agreement is God-breathed and organic through Jesus. The tension comes as we attempt to do the stuff that He is saying instead of allowing Him to do it in us.
When we try real hard and get real close to what we think He means when He tells us of what we perceive to be “do’s” and “dont’s,” we are ultimately destined to run out of gas. We can’t pull it off any more than the Israelites could as they tried through laws, kings, religion and effort. Yet, the things He directs us towards are undeniable so how do we do the stuff without becoming self-reliant in our behaviors.
Inherent in our walk towards transformation is the need for revelation and imparting. He has to show us, in our spirit as opposed to our mind, will or emotions, the things that He desires to do in us. This will often come through exposure of behavior that has not yet been redeemed. We recognize it by His prompting and know it to be unredeemed through our familiarity with the Word. The contrast, prompted by His calling, moves us to seek change.
The change is one that begins as seeking of Him in us . . . a prayerful plea of transformation through an imparting of His nature within us overflowing out of us. His Spirit overtaking our soul to drive our physical behaviors. Then, from the inside out, we do the things He says to do because we are more tuned in with who He says we are. He did it in us; we just agreed with His desire.
It’s all about Jesus.