This Article is part 2 of a series on Transformation. Part 1 can be read here.
To walk with Jesus in this life we have to allow God’s word to transform us, and this transformation involves 3 steps that we walk through again and again. The movements are: Repent, Believe, Abide. These three movements can be found in Luke 9:23, “Then he (Jesus) said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
3 movements: 1. Turn from your ways 2. Take up your cross daily 3. Follow Me
This is a cycle. It’s daily; it’s moment by moment. And if you think about it, the movement always begins in your head, moves down to your heart, and then is lived out through your hands.
Let me explain that a little bit more. Step 1: Turn from your ways: this is repentance. It’s admitting that you’ve believed lies and that you’re lost. It’s coming to Jesus with a humble heart and saying, “My way doesn’t work, Jesus. Would you teach me your way?”
Isn’t that freeing just to say? My way doesn’t work, Jesus, would you teach me your way?
But what’s next? After we repent of lies, we must believe, actually walk out, the truth. Jesus says that you then take up your cross… daily. He commands us to carry around with us the instrument of our death. Why? Because this is our daily walk of Faith. When the bible talks about belief, it almost always suggests an action, that something has changed. Jesus says in the next verse, Luke 9:24, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.” Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
And it’s important to remember that this is an act of the heart. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your HEARTS, set apart Christ as Lord.” We live from our hearts, and we love from our hearts, and the throne of our lives resides in our hearts. And since this is an act of the heart, it means that real change in life has to happen in the context of relationships.
This is why we encourage disciples to be in a small group: to create a safe place where people who know your story, who you trust and who you connect with, can encourage you daily to live for Jesus; to do the hard work of radically reorienting your life around the words and ways of Jesus. I don’t know about you, but this is the hardest part for me. It is a daily battle to surrender my heart to Jesus, and one that I’m so thankful that I don’t have to do alone.
The people who I love the most are the ones who love me enough to ask hard questions, and constantly remind me to submit my life and heart to Jesus, and to let His words and truth shape my reality.
The last movement is to simply follow. It almost seems odd that Jesus even has to say this. Like, if I’m going to deny myself and take up a cross, then following is the least of my worries… but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had God do something powerful in my life, or show me some great truth, and I’m feeling awesome and filled with the Spirit and I’m ready to go change the world, and I’m sprinting ahead… and after awhile I finally look around and realize… I’m all alone. And Jesus is standing there right where we started.
If you turn from your ways and repent, then walk in obedience to God’s word, and then if you stay close to Him, if you follow where he leads, if you abide in Him, then you will be transformed and begin to love like Jesus. And when you love like Jesus, you will change the world.
Jesse Dukes is part of WDA’s Next Generation Staff and also serving as the Discipleship Minister and worship leader at Legacy Christian Church in Senoia, GA.
Part 2 of 2
This article is part 2 of 2 on the topic of transformation. If this article has been meaningful to you consider the following WDA resource on this topic, “Disciple Building: A Practical Strategy”. You can visit the WDA Store under Leadership Manuals.