Church Camp - Transformed Hearts, Renewed Lives

To me the 2016 Moriah family camp presents yet another opportunity to further explore, in a relaxed environment, the biblical theme of spiritual transformation. Also, my prayer is for all campers to come with the mind to learn more about this cardinal doctrine.

Where do we go to for help in spiritual transformation? The short answer is, of course, Jesus!

Jesus was travelling through southern Palestine on his way to Jerusalem. That journey will culminate in his death and resurrection. On his journey, Jesus made the most of every opportunity to do ministry. Jericho, a rich agricultural town and popular resort for royalty and priests, was in Jesus’ path. Zacchaeus was one of the last people Jesus met there before his death. Their encounter powerfully illustrates how transformation can take place when we meet with Jesus. Zacchaeus was totally transformed. Only Jesus can transform a person from the inside out.

A short definition of spiritual transformation can be stated as, the process by which Christ is formed in us. And of course, the bible has many things to say about this. 

Note, it is a process, indeed, a lifelong journey, beginning with our new birth, to grow to be more Christ-like. It’s a long arduous journey filled with difficulty and danger. So, we need God to be on this journey with us.   

We can take encouragement from one aspect of this process of transformation—it is a supernatural act that God can and will accomplish in our lives through the work of the Holy Spirit. God the Spirit was given to us as our advocate, teacher and counsellor to help us on this journey. We need to open ourselves to Him.

The bible gives some advice on how.

For example, the psalmist prays to God for a “clean heart” to be created in him. He also pleads to stay in the presence of the Lord, and for restoration of the joy of God’s salvation.
On another occasion, he prays for God to “search” and “know” his heart. This is interesting. We know (and so do the psalmist) that God already knows what is in our hearts; yet, here is a prayer request for God to search and know. I believe the idea is: the psalmist is opening up his heart (a humble act) and asking God to remove what may cause him to stumble in his journey of transformation.

When we ask God to search and to know our hearts, we are asking him to lead us “in the way everlasting.”

The apostle Paul in the N. T. simply urges us to be transformed. We do this by not conforming to the world and by renewing our minds.

Pastor Robert Chew