Transformation and the Journey of Faith

Isaiah 43:18-19 NRSV
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

I am not the man I ought to be
I am not the man I wish to be and
I am not the man I hope to be.
But by the grace of God,
I am not the man I used to be.
– John Newton

The clue to transformation lies in the nature of the word itself: trans…formation.  The fundamental meaning of “trans” is “beyond.”  Our recovery of authenticity is “beyond” a mere rearranging of the components of our lives–it does not occur with a momentary, superficial, or cosmetic remodeling of our existence.  The recovery of authenticity is “beyond” every notion of self-help.  It is, rather, a massive infusion of grace, so that by God’s redemptive act in Christ, we can be reconciled to God and made new as the Risen Christ takes up residence in us. – Steve Harper

Do you really want to be converted? Are you willing to be transformed? Or do you keep clutching your old ways of life with one hand while with the other you beg people to help you change? Conversion is certainly not something you can bring about yourself. It is not a question of willpower. You have to trust the inner voice that shows the way. You know that inner voice. You turn to it often. But after you have heard with clarity what you are asked to do, you start raising questions, fabricating objections, and seeking everyone else’s opinion. Thus you become entangled in countless often contradictory thoughts, feelings, and ideas and lose touch with the God in you. And you end up dependent on all the people you have gathered around you. Only by attending constantly to the inner voice can you be converted to a new life of freedom and joy. – Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

Psalm 143:10 NRSV
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.
It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. ~Mark Twain

The separate self is the problem, whereas most religion and most people make the shadow self the problem. This leads to denying, pretending, and projecting instead of real transformation into the Divine. – Richard Rohr

Salvation is not sin perfectly avoided, as the ego would prefer; but in fact salvation is sin turned on its head and used in our favor. That is how transformative divine love is.
– Richard Rohr

During the rare occasions when theologians and pastors are brave enough to (publicly) have a change of heart, they’re labeled a “heretic” and often lose their jobs, their respect, and many of their closest friends and followers. But theology — our study and beliefs about God — should be a natural process involving change instead of avoiding it. Our God is too big and too wonderful to completely understand by the time we graduate high school, or college, or get married, or have children, or retire. Our life experiences, relationships, education, exposure to different cultures and perspectives continually affect the way we look at God. Our faith is a journey, a Pilgrim’s Progress, and our theology will change. And while we may not agree with a person’s new theological belief, we need to stop seeing the inherent nature of change as something negative. – Stephen Mattson, Christians: It’s Not a SIN to Change Your Beliefs

Isaiah 42:16 NIV
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
Along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Holy Saturday Prayers from The Awkward Season- Prayers for Lent by Pamela C Hawkins

Holy Saturday Prayers from The Awkward Season- Prayers for Lent by Pamela C Hawkins

We cannot cross paths Jesus very long before he begins to have an effect upon our life and our work. The questions we ask about him almost always have an ulterior motive— the motive that recognizes Jesus’ answer is likely to upset our apple cart— the motive which understands that to deal with Jesus is really to be changed.
– Steve Harper, from a meditation on John 18:33-37 entitled You Say So

The awakened subject is not merely to perceive transcendent life,
but to participate therein;
and for this, a drastic and costly life-changing is required.
Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism

We ask God to remove our character flaws, we also need to actively replace them with the opposite qualities. If we battle with selfishness, we can begin to do kind or helpful things for others. If we procrastinate a lot, we can get down to doing something that we have been avoiding. As we take action to build positive habits like these into our lives with God’s help, our prayers for change will become more effective. After all, as the Bible makes very clear, faith without works is dead (James 2:17).
– Trevor Hudson, One Day at a Time

Extended quote by Leo Babauta
The biggest reason people fail at creating and sticking to new habits is that they don’t keep doing it. That seems obvious: if you don’t keep doing a habit, it won’t really become a habit. So what’s the solution to this obvious problem? Find a way to keep doing it. When you look at it this way, the key to forming a habit is not how much you do of the habit each day (exercise for 30 minutes, write 1,000 words, etc.), but whether you do it at all. So the key is just getting started.

Let me emphasize that: the key to forming a habit is starting each day.

What do I mean by starting? If you want to form the habit of meditation, just get your butt on the cushion each day. If you want to form the habit of running, just lace up your shoes and get out the door. If you want to form the habit of writing, just sit down, close everything else on your computer, and start typing. Form the habit of starting, and you’ll get good at forming habits. For the rest of the article, click here

Psalm 31:1-5 NRSV
In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame;
In your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.
You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
For your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
Take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.
Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

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