Transformed by Grace
God’s deepest hope for each of us is not just a simple, happy life. Nor is it limited to just making it to heaven. His deepest hope is your transformation into the kind of person fit for heaven, who then can truly live with real joy and peace. This can only happen when we have a genuine encounter with God. When we recognize Him for who He is, it humbles us in our sin, and then (and only then) can we be rebuilt by His grace. Transformation really takes off once we are then commissioned into God’s mission.
Hope & Humility
Isaiah lives in light of the tension of what is to come and what is currently going on. In Chapters 2-4 he bookends this passage with a vision of what the world will be once God makes all things right. In the middle, however, he reminds us of the harsh reality of where we currently stand. Human pride is the barrier to heaven. Therefore, humility is necessary for us to be ready for the ultimate hope of the world to come.
Who We Are
Self-awareness is crucial to transformation. While it is often painful, it is the initial step to making any meaningful change. God, through Isaiah, lays the foundation of self-awareness we need to recognize our true condition. We are sinful, rebellious, self-interested, impure, and even our best effort to worship God – if we are sinful – falls woefully short of honoring Him. We need more than what we can provide for justification before Him. We need a Savior and that is just what God provides.
The prophet Isaiah was a man commissioned by God to bring His people a vision. A clear, singular vision of reality about life from God’s perspective. This reality is hard at first, because it tells us the truth about our situation – that we are ungrateful rebels against our Creator. But if you stick with God’s reality it also includes unbelievable truths – that we have a God who can and wants to save, and He is preparing a world of perfection for those who trust Him.
The Power of the Resurrection
Most people know the basic story of Easter. Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. Less people believe this story to be true. Even less live in the power of the resurrection reality. The resurrection of Jesus is the central, foundational message of Christianity. On it Christianity either stands or falls. It is the most life changing reality this world has ever known – it’s time we live in that reality.
The Blessed Life
We long to have a blessed life, a good life. We seek for this in our accomplishments, relationships, comforts, and experiences. All the while the answer is right under our nose. Learning to be a giver, based on how gracious God has been to us, is the liberation we need to the most blessed life.
The lingering fear behind our lack of giving is the concern that we wont have enough. Often our hearts long to give more, because we were designed to give, but our sinful minds whisper lies about scarcity. Forced to ask ourselves if we really trust God, giving pushes us to discover the continual generosity of God to always supply our needs.
Decide and Do
Becoming a giver is a matter of discipline. Upon evaluating our income, along with our necessities, God asks us to decide how much we want to give and then make a commitment to follow through. Giving must become a discipline based on commitment, not a reaction to ups and downs.
Everything We Have
We often wonder how much we really should give. The story of the poor widow and her two mites is a great passage to see the warning God has for us in giving, the value He sees in all giving, and the source from which He truly wants us to give from. When we get these right, we’ll know how much to give.
It is common to believe that we give our time, money, and energy to the things our heart is most connected to. Jesus alerts us to the reality that our heart actually follows where we invest, rather than our investments following our heart. Get your investments right and your heart will follow.