Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Truth About You

Every night after Reveal and Respond various students would approach me to talk, to wrestle through certain issues, or to ask me questions, which I absolutely enjoyed. While talking to people, I noticed a certain pattern. People would often say things like, "I wish God could change me" or "I know God wants to change me but I'm not ready, "All I need is for God to just change me." 

All of these statements rely on the premise that for some reason God wants to change us. If God created you, and loves you, and accepts you, why would he need to change you? Are these questions based on a wrong assumption we have about God, and the intrinsic value and worth He's placed in each of us?

God doesn't need to nor does He want to change any of us. Why not? Because he created us just the way He wants us to be. Rather than change us, I believe God wants us to discover our true selves, our identity that can only be found in Him, and to base our lives on the truth of our real identity.

He doesn't want to change us. 
He wants to reveal to us who we really are. 
He wants to introduce us to the unlimited potential we have. 
He wants us to become us.  Because in becoming the creation we were made to be we worship the Creator. 

The last thing God wants to do is to change who you are, because then He would be losing out on a part of His creation. He doesn't want to change you, if anything He wants you to be more... you. God rejoices in each intricate piece of the puzzle that makes you, you. Neither does He want to change a thing about you. It's such a part of our culture to want to change ourselves that we believe God also wants to change us. Well, He doesn't. He's only interested in showing you who you really are. 

Don't pray to God to ask Him to change you. Pray for Him to reveal the truth about who you really are and respond in obedience.


Daniel 'Doulos' Lee said...

great blog manny. i was expecting you to update soon and i am glad you did. i would have to think over what you said and i'll give you my thoughts too. see you soon! and i love you as much as you love me.

n00bie51 said...

Manny, I'm confused.

God is love, but he is also a righteous and just God. We are inherently wicked, unrighteous and unjust, and for that, we deserve damnation.

He wants us to repent and believe the Good News. Isn't that "change"? Doesn't God want to reach the lost, so that they may hear the Gospel, be saved and engage in a life of regeneration? Isn't being born again "change"?

If I prayed to God asking Him to "reveal the truth" about who I really am, I would realize that I'm a worthless, wretched sinner who cannot reach salvation on my own. We are born at war with God, by nature objects of God's wrath (Ephesians 2:3).

However, in Christ, we have salvation. Glorious, life-giving salvation, where we have a God who loved us so much that He died for our sins.

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Cor. 5:17)

Is that not change? Does our faith not make way to radical change within the lost who is dead inside but is justified by faith in Christ and Him alone? Living a new life, producing good works, turning away from sin? Sounds like change to me.

"Change, we can believe in!"

I'm pretty sure God wants to change me. Those people you talk to, who seem insecure or guilty over their sins, should rejoice in Christ's salvation. Yeah, God created me, but I'm a sinful, fallen human being and in order to end the enmity between this righteous and holy God and myself, I need to believe the Good News. That is the real identity in Him we have that you mentioned.

All thanks to our wonderful Lord and Savior. I'm sorry to bother you over semantics, Manny, keep posting stuff up.

Manny said...

Well we have a different way of seeing things. I respect your opinion and I think everything you're saying is valid. I don't choose to see humanity as wickedly sinful and depraved... I'm sorry.

The people I spoke to aren't insecure over their sin as much as they're insecure over their identity as people.

I do not believe in the total depravity of the human. I believe that we are created with amazing potential for either good or evil. I believe that God has created each one of us unique and desires to delight in his creation. Knowing who God has created you to be and your value as a person is of infinite importance. By saying God wants to change me I'm saying that he made a mistake in his creative process of making me. All of my gifts, talents, characteristics, personality traits, quirks, etc. are all things God created. He didn't fashion me in my mother's womb a damned sinner... but the object of his affection.

I don't expect you to agree... that's OK. It seems like you believe in "original sin" and the total depravity of man... two theological ideas that I don't find all that convincing or helpful.

It's cool though... we need a diversity of opinion!

n00bie51 said...

No, saying God wants to change us is to say He wants us to repent of our sin and believe in the life-saving Gospel.

With all due respect, Manny, diversity in opinion hasn't done the Christian Church too much good. Nor is this simply a matter of opinion; the Bible teaches that man is wicked and in need of a savior.

You say you don't find Total Depravity or the Original Sin to be "two theological ideas that" you "don't find all that convincing or helpful." They're not just ideas, Manny, the Bible tells us about it. They're not designed to be "convincing or helpful," but they're truth claims supported by Bible. I'll find the Scripture if you'd like (unless you don't recognize the authority of Scripture, then we have another problem altogether).

Humans are evil, Manny. Look at all the stupid crap we've done. Look at the immense pain and suffering we've brought upon ourselves with war, greed, pride, genocide, destruction; sin.

I don't enjoy telling people that we're all evil sinners worthy of damnation, but the last thing I want to do is to sugar coat it. People don't want to hear that they're evil and that they deserve to go to Hell, Manny, but they need to hear it anyways. How can anybody truly appreciate Christ's amazing work on the cross if at the same time they don't realize the evilness of sin?

How can anybody understand the magnitude of God's glorious work of salvation without recognizing what God is saving us from. H saved us from Hell. Hell is a scary place, Manny. I don't want to go there, but I deserve it. However, through faith in Christ, God has given me this amazing grace. Christ has lived the perfect life for me.

Manny, when you see a preacher on a city block telling people they're going to Hell (with fire and brimstone) and they need to stop sinning and believe the Good News, do you think he's being judgmental or going about it the wrong way? Or is he preaching God's Word when he calls people to repent of their sin?

You can't just say "God loves you" and then leave out the part where we deserve to die, because then you miss the whole point of how we know God shows His love.

To reiterate:

God is good.
God is just.
We are not good.
We are not just.
We are evil.

Since God is just, we need to go to Hell to fulfill his justice. However, God is love and desires that we do not perish. Therefore, He died on the cross, in the form of Jesus Christ, with all the sin placed upon Him, so that whoever believes would not perish but have eternal life.

Manny, you can't have the Gospel without the Law, which condemns us for our sins. You can't fully rejoice in the promise of salvation, going to Heaven after death, without understanding that Hell is a place of unimaginable suffering and complete death of which we are so richly deserving.

I used to have a similar view as you, only talking about how God is love, God is good, God is merciful (which He is), while excluding the fact that God is righteous, God is just, and God has every right and reason to send us into the darkness, into eternal conscious torment. However, I realized you can't have one without the other, and my belief that man is a wicked, evil creature actually strengthens and augments the glory and splendor of Christ's salvation. Knowing that we are evil gives me all the more joy in Christ and a greater appreciation for what He's done.

Manny, this is serious. Right now, you're being politically correct by saying you respectfully disagree with my views (and I appreciate it), but as a Christian, I believe you need to know this and am willing to make you uncomfortable (Total Depravity should make you uncomfortable, as the consequences of our sin) so that you see what I believe to be the truth.