We live in a time where everyone holds the title of Christian but unfortunately many don’t know what that truly means. What it really means to be a Christian has been watered down by bad preaching, bad examples, false interpretation of scripture, and the mixture of the holy and the profane. Fortunately, regardless of how people falsely portray Christianity (whether intentionally or unintentionally), the true meaning of Christianity and salvation doesn’t change in God’s eyes. When we stand before God, we will give an account of our lives to Him based on HIS STANDARDS, not on man’s warped standards. No matter how much man has tried to taint it, true Christianity will always be according to God’s standard.
Many people have forgotten that A TRANSFORMED LIFE is a necessity when calling yourself a Christian. When we give our lives to Christ for the first time we are born-again (John 3:1-8) – a transformation has taken place and something new has occurred in us that causes us to live different; we are not the same. We are born anew by the Spirit of God; our old life and old man no longer exists because we are new creations in Christ Jesus. It’s impossible to be saved or call yourself a Christian and not have had your life transformed. It’s like saying I got in the ocean but I didn’t get wet – it’s simply impossible. When you step into Christ for real, YOUR LIFE MUST BE CHANGED! When you come to Him for real, transformation is inevitable. He is well able to transform those who come to Him.
2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith” (NLT). We should be able to look at our lives (examine ourselves), measure it according to the Word of God (not man’s standards), and honestly evaluate if we are truly of the faith. We should honestly be able to tell if we are truly living a transformed life before God. Due to bad teaching or lack of good examples, many people don’t know what a transformed life looks like or entails. In this post I will highlight a few key points of what it looks like to live a transformed life:
How do you know you’re living a transformed life?
- You’ve left behind your old life:
When you become born again, you essentially begin a new life. You have let go of the life you used to live that did not please God to take on a new life that now pleases God. Before you came to Christ you did what you wanted, made decisions based on what you thought was right, lived to please your fleshly desires, and lived to make yourself happy. It was all about YOU. But when you come to Christ all of that changes, it’s no longer about what you want but what Christ wants. You no longer make decisions based on what you think is best, you get into God’s word to find out what He says in best for every situation. Galatians 2:20 sums it up best: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Your new life – “the live that you now live” – is lived FOR Christ Jesus. When you’ve truly been transformed by Christ there is a newness of living. Things don’t stay the same, things can’t stay the same. If you came to Christ but all you did was stand in front of an altar, say a prayer, and went back living the same, transformation (salvation) did not take place; you were not born-again, you simply said a prayer.Real faith in Jesus Christ comes with EVIDENCE. Every true born-again Christian has a testimony of coming out of darkness into His light (1 Peter 2:9). No matter the kind of lifestyle each of us lived before coming to Christ, we were ALL in darkness and we ALL needed to be saved. There should be evidence that God saved your soul. There should be evidence that you transitioned from darkness (living in sin) to light (living in righteousness through Christ). Your testimony may not look like my testimony and vice versa, and some of us may not have done “bad” things based on the world’s standard of bad, but we were ALL living in sin. Without realizing the fact that you are a sinner, you will never think you need God and you will never truly allow Him to transform you. You will never see the need to leave your old life (life without Christ) behind to live for God.
- You’re becoming more like Christ continually:
Transformation is ongoing, it’s not a one-time thing. Some people accept Christ, make a few behavior modifications, start going to church regularly, but everything else about them and how they live is still the same. The transformation that God does in us is more than an outward change or a behavior change, it’s a HEART CHANGE. It’s because of our wicked and sinful heart that we lived contrary to God. Think about it, most of us have lived 20+ or 30+ years in sin, don’t you think it’s going to take time to truly uproot our old nature and establish us in His new nature? This is why a continual change is a must. It’s true that we will not get to the place of total perfection in God until we get to heaven, but while we are here on earth we are being perfected (changed, made new) daily. God desires to do a work in us daily through continual fellowship (relationship) with Him.You ought to be dying to your flesh DAILY. That is the only way you will continue to be made like Him. Repentance is not a one-time thing. Every time God shows you an area in your heart that is not like Him, you recognize your sin and turn from that thing. When you do that, you become more like Him. The Holy Spirit deals with us on a daily basis in different ways and in different areas of our lives for the purpose of making us like Christ. Every once in a while, you should be able to do a self-check and reflect on the past 3 months/6 months/ 1 year/ 2 years, etc. and really be able to identify areas where God has been dealing with you to die in and come up higher in. As you read the word and grow in understanding of His ways, you should feel conviction in areas in you that are not pleasing to God. Over time, you should see areas where you have grown and become more like Christ. God does this in our outward behavior AND our inward heart (it’s really the change in the heart that creates genuine change outwardly – when the change in the heart isn’t genuine, the behavioral change is just a cover-up and most people end up backsliding). Your HEART should become like His on a continual basis. This is the only way we can maintain our salvation: by daily dying to self and picking up our cross. You can’t become stagnant in your walk, stagnancy will only lead to backsliding. If you claim to have been saved for years yet there is no EVIDENCE of Christ transforming you daily, you need to stop and reevaluate your salvation.
Becoming like Christ includes practicing and growing in THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT daily. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is a key indicator of a transformed life. If you have His Spirit, then you will bear His fruit continuously. God is constantly pruning the vine (pruning us) so that we can bear even more fruit; His word even tells us that every branch that does not bear fruit He will cut off (John 15:1-2). So it is impossible to be in Christ and have His spirit and yet not grow. If you have His Spirit you won’t be comfortable staying the same. His Spirit transforms us from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18), that means we are constantly growing in new levels in Him, we do not remain the same. Continued growth is a must in a transformed life.
So many people go to church regularly, but they have stopped becoming like Christ. So many people pray to God from time to time and even read their Bible because they know it’s the right thing to do but they are not actually growing in Christ. They grow in church attendance, they advance in positions and roles in the church, they grow in looking religious/godly outwardly, but their hearts are still cold and dead in sin. We each must evaluate ourselves and see if we are truly growing in being made in the nature of God; it is truly a heart thing and something that takes place only through continued submission to and communion with God.
- You’re growing in love towards others:
The Bible tells us that “all will know that we are His disciples if we have love for one another” (John 13:35). There are so many Bible verses about God’s love dwelling in us, in fact, the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). I’m surprised at how many people call themselves Christians but have hate in their heart and are completely comfortable with it. If God is love (1 John 4:8) and His Spirit dwells inside of you, that means if you are His child LOVE dwells inside of you. So how can love and hate dwell inside of you at the same time? 1 John 4:8 even goes as far as saying, “he who does not love does not know God.” If lovelessness dwells in your heart, you have to really ask yourself: do I know God? Many would be shocked to find out that they don’t really know God like they think they do. The Bible clearly tells us that if you don’t love then you don’t know God. But we have created our own standard that says, “if you go to church faithfully then you know God” or “if you hold a title in church then you love God.” Don’t allow man made standards of salvation to fool you to think that you are really saved, CHECK YOUR FRUIT! Evaluate yourself through the mirror of God’s word. Only His word will last forever, not the opinions and standards of man. So, do you find yourself growing in love? Have you genuinely forgiven those who have done you wrong in the past? Would you be willing to extend love to those that you know don’t like you? Does your heart get convicted when you see unforgiveness or hatred in you? When people mistreat you do you find yourself working on loving them in spite of how bad it feels? Or do you have a worldly mentality that only loves those who love them? LOVE IS A FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. Love is why God sent Jesus down to the earth. Love should be the trademark of a believer’s life and our motivating factor for why we live for God. We should always be growing in the love of God towards others.
- Your life is a witness of God’s transforming power:
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). God has given us POWER to become WITNESSES of the transformational power of Christ. When you have truly been transformed by Christ, you now walk in POWER. People should be able to look at your life and see the power of God to change someone and make them new. People should see a fear and reverence for God in how you live. Your life should be an example to other people that true salvation is possible, and that God can save anyone out of anything. You should not be quiet or shy about your faith and unbelievers and the lukewarm should be CONVICTED by how you live. If your life does not convict them and they see no distinguishable difference between you and them, maybe it’s because you have not truly been transformed. Even if you just gave your life to Christ, there should be a gradual and noticeable difference in how you live.When you have encountered God for real, the WORD of God and the POWER of God should be so rich in you that at any moment you can witness to the lost, not just in speech but in action. Your life is an accurate representation of Christ on the earth because you don’t just talk about Him, you live Him. Those who have truly been transformed represent AND demonstrate the faith.
When you yield to God, your life becomes a witness to all, you become a living example of Christ and a KINGDOM BUILDER. Witnesses are not just good churchgoers, these are people that take the church outside of the four walls and turn the world upside down for Jesus. They are the church wherever they go, and they don’t take their faith lightly, they have surrendered their all.
When Christ comes into a life, HE COMES TO CHANGE IT, He doesn’t come to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. He comes to dismantle our old nature and place HIS Spirit on the inside of us so that we can truly impact this fallen world. Christianity is more than just believing in Jesus and going to church, it’s living and looking like Jesus. A transformed life is more than just a change in financial status or living situation. Your testimony should be more than, “I was in a bad situation and God brought me out;” how are you living today or since that time? Has there been a continual CHANGE in you? Are you becoming more like Christ or are you still doing you? So many people testify about God bringing them out of bad situations and think that that makes them His child, but their hearts are so far from Him. God doesn’t just come to change your situation, He comes to change YOU. Usually, it’s because of what was in us that we got into that bad situation. If you’ve received salvation for real, your testimony should be so much more, and it should be ongoing because He is doing in work in you DAILY.
While reading this can you identify yourself as someone who is genuinely born-again or someone who simply has a form and fashion of godliness? Mark 12:27 tells us that God is not the God of the dead but of the LIVING. If you are still dead in your old nature (dead in sin) and have not come alive in Christ, this God is not yet your God because you have not yet made Jesus Christ your Lord. There is no way you can live in carnal lusts and still love God because your carnal nature is an enemy of God (Romans 8:6-8). And it is impossible to be an enemy of God and a friend of God at the same time. He has all power in His right hand to resurrect us from dead things. So to say that He is your God but to still be dead in sin (live in sin) is to call Him a liar.
God desires to save and transform all of us, His desire is that no man would perish. THERE IS RESURRECTION POWER IN CHRIST! Come out of your dead places and let the POWER of Christ resurrect and transform you for real.