Melting Point

This past summer as one of the particularly long heat waves passed through our area, we discovered that two of our Costco sized bags of chocolate chips melted and transformed from little, tiny morsels into large solid blocks of chocolate. Our chocolate chip cookies turned into chocolate chunk cookies. It seems that everything has a melting point. 

Six times in the book of Joshua we read about the idea of people “melting in fear”. (2:9; 2:11; 2:24; 5:1; 7:5; 14:8). In context of each of these verses there is a very real sense of fear surrounding life and death as people have witnessed the incredible power of God through the continuance of his promise to bring his people into the land promised to them through his covenant with Abraham. 

Chapter 2 of Joshua recounts the interaction between Rahab and the spies where she explains to them, “When we heard of it, (the crossing of the Jordan) our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” As we read this today, we recognize the transformation in Rahab’s life that speaks to a “melting” or “softening” of another kind. We don’t know a lot about Rahab, but we do know that at some point in time she recognized God for who he is and gave her life over to him, her heart was softened.

What started as a real fear in the sense of life and death became a life changing experience for Rahab. A new sense of understanding and fear of the Lord became a new reality of reverence and awe for a God who saves and protects those who love and follow him. Later in scripture (Heb 11:31; James 2:25) we hear of Rahab as an example of faith, one who stands out because of her actions in service to God. 

In life and ministry, I have had the opportunity to hear many incredible stories of life transformation as God continues to work in the hearts of his people. Each story, unique in their own way demonstrate the incredible power of love, forgiveness, and acceptance as people put their hope and trust in the Lord. Unfortunately, I have also heard stories that are surrounded by a paralyzing fear that keeps people at a distance from God. They fear that their life choices and actions are unforgivable, and that God could never love or forgive them.

The scriptures are filled with stories of forgiveness and redemption; Rahab’s story is only one of many. David is another example, and he shares these words for all of us:

He (God) does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

The God that we serve is so full of mercy and grace and no matter who we are and what we have done there is forgiveness available to us through his Son, Jesus Christ. 

The stories we have in scripture have the power to inspire and change lives. Our stories, just the same, have power to inspire and encourage others who may not know how great the love of God is.

When was the last time you shared your story? How has God has worked in your life to draw you close to him? Take some time to pray and ask God to give you the opportunity to share your story with someone, you never know the kind of change it will bring in someone’s life.

Transformation

I consider myself to be a bit of a woodworker. I enjoy making smaller projects that can be hung on the wall or displayed on a shelf. One of the trends in woodworking right now is using epoxy to make “river tables” and other beautiful projects. Epoxy typically comes in two separate containers, one with resin and the other with the hardener.  When combined, the two create a super strong bond that is virtually unbreakable. This chemical reaction transforms two liquids into a solid and is only possible when one part interacts with the other. 

The Christian life is centered around the power of transformation. One of the key verses that speak to this transformation is found in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” There are two key elements that make up the components of the life/faith transformation: God and us, that’s right, you and I. “In Christ” is the catalyst to the transformation of our heart, soul, and mind.

Christ, through his death and resurrection on the cross invites each and everyone of us to be made new in him; It is an open invitation, to be shared with everyone. One of the best examples of this transformation is found in Acts chapter 9. Saul, later known as Paul was one of the most feared opponents to the life and teachings of Jesus, his mission was to bring all those who followed him to “justice”. Almost immediately after his own encounter with Jesus, his heart, soul and mind were transformed. The “old Saul” was gone, the “new Paul” was here. 

The bond or spiritual connection we have in Christ is one unlike any other, it is life transforming in a way that inspires us to be like Christ. Filled with his Spirit, our hearts desire becomes one that wants to know and follow his ways, to be fully devoted to him. Our soul can find complete rest in him knowing that the promise of life everlasting is no longer beyond our reach. The renewal of our minds brings us to a new level of discernment to live in obedience to His will for our lives. 

Change in life is often hard but what about transformation?  The trifecta (heart, soul, and mind) of change in the core of who we are might seem impossible. On our own, it would be impossible, thankfully we are not alone. First, we have Christ in us, filled with his Spirit to lead and guide our decisions. Second, we have a community of believers around who are following on the same journey. If you continue to read Paul’s story in the book of Acts, you will see how he did not journey alone. In fact, he joined the disciples almost right away and God used him in incredible ways to highlight the power of Christ in him. 

These few words only highlight the very beginning of a thought on the powerful transformation that happens in our life as a follower of Christ. Our transformation in Christ is one that is in constant motion. We will grow closer to God through reading his word, spending time in prayer, and being in community with other believers. It is my hope and prayer that we all continue to be “transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit”. (2 Corinthians 3:18)