Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)
Are we there yet? It is the question every parent dreads on a long road trip. It usually starts about 10 minutes into the trip and doesn’t stop until you arrive at your destination. It’s tough being a kid and waiting to get somewhere. In fact, it’s tough being an adult and waiting to get somewhere in our lives. We can wonder when we will “arrive” at the spiritual maturity we see taught in scripture and we think we see in others around us.
Core Value #4 of Orchard Community Church is a strong belief in “Grace-Driven Transformation.” Here is the full description:
We are passionate about the Gospel’s power to bring about long-lasting transformation into the image of Christ. Our gratefulness for God’s saving grace through Christ positions and motivates us to eagerly and intentionally cooperate with the Holy Spirit and access the empowering grace of God in a life-long process of being made more like Jesus. (Philippians 1:6; Titus 2: 11-14; 2 Peter 3:18)
The call to follow Christ involves being transformed. Change is not optional in the Christian life. It is the necessary effect of the gospel in our lives. But it is God who brings about this change. Philippians 2:12-13 says that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, but then it goes on to say that “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” This is the essence of Grace-Driven transformation – we are working (or living) out what God is doing in us. It is His grace at work in our lives changing us to who He created us to be.
We believe in the power of God to change lives. We are also very careful to not try to substitute our own power or methods to try to change each other. A call to be changed by God’s grace can easily slip into beating each other up. Believing in Grace-Driven Transformation as a core value means that we trust that God is at work and that it is our work as a church to look to and point others to Him through the power of the gospel so that He can change us.
If you are reading this and struggling with asking God “are we there yet” – wondering when you will be the person you should – know that God is already at work in your life. If you have accepted Christ as your savior then God has promised that He has put His Spirit in your life and is changing you from the inside out. This is why the list of Christian qualities is called the “Fruit of the Spirit” – it isn’t the fruit of our labor, it is the fruit of God’s work in us. Trust what God is doing in your life. When we beat ourselves up we tend to stay away from the means that God uses in our lives to transform us – gathering with believers, God’s Word, and prayer. Yet when we trust in God’s work in our lives we will run to the ways where He is working. We will be encouraged by the truth of God’s grace at work in our lives.
We, the people of Orchard Community Church, trust in God’s Grace-Driven Transformation at work in each believers life. It is God’s job to change people. It is our job to point them to the grace of the gospel that can bring about that change.
photo by Flickr user melissaemmons