“Transformers activate!” is a phrase from the toy craze my son went through years ago. Right now, it has me thinking about what the Lord uses to “activate” us—His “transformers”!
Like Hasbro’s toys we, too, have been created to be genuine transformers. Unquestionably, Jesus wants to use us to transform the world around us. For that to happen, however, we will have to learn the way of being continually transformed ourselves. If not, we risk being put back “on the shelf” by the Lord. But we want to stay in active service, don’t we?
To stay in active service, we need (somehow) to say to our spiritual man: “Transformer activate!” whenever the Lord calls us into action. Trouble is, we never know when that moment might be. And let’s face it: Loving the unlovable, sharing faith in hostile environments, and reaching out beyond our comfort zones are not things that we always feel “up” for doing.
The problem is (and you know this as well as I) that those calls often come when we feel unprepared to “activate,” because we happen to be at an emotional low, or are overly stressed and anxious, or feel too busy to respond, or in some other way are off-balance.
Quick activation is indeed difficult, especially when it takes us by surprise, so let’s start by focusing on long-term activation. If we can successfully learn how to guard our hearts with a faith “on fire”—most of the time—then it will be much easier to stoke the flames at a moment’s notice.
There are two main ways that the Lord activates a close, “fired-up” relationship with Him:
1) Love and
By love I mean those times when we use our free moments to make sure that we have a good focus on the Lord and that our hearts are “on bright” through thanking and praising Him, singing to Him, casting dreamy eyes His way, etc. In a word: worship. Worship literally means “drawing close enough to kiss.” This is what I call “coming to the Lord politely.” In this loving way we can get our focus restored and our hearts refreshed throughout the day—and the day goes so much better when we do.
We can come to the Lord for activation politely, or we can come pressured. Not everyone (myself included) comes to the Lord politely! The consequences of not staying closely united to the Lord guarantee we will have pain and problems pressing us to Him sometime down the road. Me? I’m positively plastered!
But I desperately want the peace and reawakened passion, so I keep calling on His Name, seeking Him, and pressing in for more grace and guidance: why? Out of love? Well, sort of. But mainly (I’m sorry to report) out of enlightened self-interest—I hate the consequences of going my own way, rather than His!
Fortunately, no matter how we come, whether it is polite or pressured, He loves us and welcomes us and activates us! For an example of gracious and polite coming to the Lord for activation:
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
For an example of consequence-driven, stress-pressured coming to the Lord for activation:
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8 ESV
If consequences are leading the way back to the Lord (by driving you to Him), then take heart from this last passage. I have used it so much that I’ve given it a name: “the Elevator”—as in “If you’ve messed up, take the Hebrews 4:16 elevator to the throne of grace”:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV
As you (and I) learn to make it a long-term habit of coming as quickly to the Lord as we can, as often as we can, then both these polite and pressured ways will help us stay “activated” most of the time. Then, when those inevitable moments come when we are not really feeling prepared to share faith, give comfort, or reach out to someone in need, we will know what to do: Take the elevator!
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