Radical Transformation, Part 5
Editor’s Note: This is Part 5 in the Portrait of Eve series. To see the previous parts, view below. I apologize with all the problems there have been with posts. For some reason, WP has been posting before I completely finish editing. I’m looking into the issues on their end and mine.
“God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number,” says Genesis 1:22.
Does this mean I won’t receive blessing if I’m not married or if I don’t want kids? Am I a blessing to my husband if we’re “not fruitful?” Am I not pleasing God by not being married or having children?
Don’t panic! Those are all valid questions, but we’re not going to talk about why you should or shouldn’t have kids or why you should or shouldn’t be married. We will focus on what Biblical fruitfulness means for today’s Christian woman.
In a Nutshell
Dictionary.com definition of fruitfulness (n.) 1. producing good results; beneficial; productiveness, 2) abounding in fruit, as in trees or plants, bearing fruit abundantly, and 3) producing abundant growth. We have learned that to be fruitful requires radical obedience and radical worship. For more background, read Fruitfulness – Radical Obedience and Fruitfulness-Radical Worship.
Deuteronomy 10:12-14 says,
“ And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.”
Point 1: God calls us to fear the Lord which in turn requires radical obedience. See Part 3.
Point 2: Obedience is closely associated with love and service which in turn requires radical worship. See Part 4.
Point 3: Worship requires radical transformation.
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary says this about worship:
“Truly defining worship proves more difficult because it is both an attitude and an act… The true worship of God is essentially internal, a matter of the heart and spirit rooted in the knowledge of and obedience to the revealed Word of God.”
Worship requires a radical 180 degree turn from our former lives- our hearts to be turned toward God, a deep belief in His truth, and an obedience to His Word.
The Greatest of These is Love
The Bible commands us to love. Command is such a harsh sounding word. When you think of the word ‘command,’ what thoughts and images pop into your mind? The first thing I thought of was a king, a ruler, with absolute authority, governing his people or troops. I thought of Julius Ceasaer, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Hitler. I’m not sure how I’d feel being under the ‘command’ of these leaders.
But let’s not forget, Jesus was and is a King, an unusual one. He came to earth, born to a virgin woman and adopted by her betrothed, a Jewish carpenter, and laid to rest His first night in a dirty stable manager. He chose to live and teach among His people, not ruling from some golden throne. He entered Jerusalem, the Holy City, on a donkey, knowing He was going to die within the week. He allowed Himself to be captured, refusing to call on the help of His legions of angels, but instead allowed Himself to be led like a sheep to the slaughter. WHY? Because He loved us, His children, so deeply He didn’t want to be separated from us for all of eternity because our sins offend a Holy God. God’s sense of justice would not allow for the sins of mankind to go unpunished, but it is God’s sense of mercy that brings us back into right standing with Him through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Only Son, a King! That is you, daughter of God – you were the one who Christ died for, beloved Bride of Christ!
Read the positive things King David says about God’s commands:
“Blessed are those who fear the LORD, who find great delight in His commands” (Psalm 112:1).
“I run in the path of Your commands, for you have broadened my understanding” (Psalm 119:32).
“All of Your commands are trustworthy…” (Psalm 119:86).
“I open my mouth and pant, longing for Your commands” (Psalm 119:131).
Military troops wear uniforms to show their allegiance to their country, to distinguish themselves as belonging to a certain group. Like the military, we, as Christians, are to be dressed like our Leader- clothed in love. Jesus says in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” If we love, we are following God’s commands. If we love, others will know who we are and to Whom we belong. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Our hearts are radically transformed to love because God loved us first. We are literally a “new creation” (1 Corinthians 5:17).
But just because we’re a new creation doesn’t mean that we have it altogether or that everything’s perfect. Worship first requires us to examine our own hearts to see if we are ready to meet God and to get right with God if we’re not.
How do I know if I’m right with God?
Simple answer? The Bible and the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Deeper answer?
1. Confession – it really is good for the soul!
The Hebrew word for confess is yada, also meaning “to praise and give thanks to God.” See Source. Isn’t it interesting that praise and confession are paired side by side? Hosea 14:2 says, “Bring your confessions, and return to the LORD. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises” (NLT). We see the same pairing again in Romans 14:11 in reference to when Christ comes again – “‘As surely as I live,’ says the LORD, ‘every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God ’” (NLT).
When Eve was caught in her sin in the Garden, she didn’t confess her sins. In fact, she blame-shifted. How often we do this! When I’m arguing with Adam, the tendency to say, “It’s your fault!” without claiming responsibility for my part or owning up to my sin is all too prevalent. But redeemed daughters of Eve, we are not to mimic our the first Eve’s tendencies. Instead we are called to imitate Christ and to follow His Word.
Just read what King David wrote in Psalm 51 after Nathan confronted him about his affair with the married Bathsheba; hear the agony over his sins.
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…” (vs. 1-4).
David also asks God 6 specific things:
1. To be given a pure heart,
2. To be renewed in steadfastness (and faithfulness),
3. To be allowed in the presence of the Lord,
4. To be given the Holy Spirit to guide,
5. To be restored to a place of joy because of salvation,
6. To be granted a willing spirit in order to be sustained.
” Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (vs. 10-12).
True Biblical confession requires remorse, desire to be back in right standing with the Lord, and actively seeking the Lord in order to be restored and renewed.
Remember, 1 John 1:9 assures us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
2. Go and be reconciled
The word “reconciliation” comes from the Greek word root allasso meaning “change” or “exchange.” See Source. The purpose of reconciliation is to acknowledge the problem in a relationship and then to actively seek to restore that relationship to harmony and fellowship in a manner glorifying to God. We were reconciled to God; now we must be reconciled with each other.
Matthew 5:23-24 says, ““Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
Jesus is not merely speaking about physical offerings. I believe He is also speaking about spiritual offerings – offerings of worship. We can’t worship truly in our hearts if we are hating our brother or our brother is hating us. In order to be right with God, you must be reconciled with others. God calls us to radically love and serve others.
1John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
Eve was selfish in the Garden. She didn’t lay down her life for Adam. She didn’t beg and plead with God that it was her fault and try to shoulder the responsibility. For that matter, Adam didn’t either. He blamed Eve. Jesus, the Second Adam, did the exact opposite. Even though He wasn’t guilty, He took the penalty for our sins – He laid down His life for us. As a redeemed Eve, you are called to radical transformation – to seek peace and unity and to make reconciliation with all others.
It’s all connected…
When God called Adam and Eve to be fruitful, He wasn’t merely calling them to fill the earth with little ones; Be fruitful is also an intellectual and spiritual command.
1. We are called to true unconditional Christlike love for God and others.
2. We are called to true worship of God in spirit and truth.
3. We are called to true intellectual confession and repentance of our sins.
4. We are called to true Biblical reconciliation with our brothers and sisters.
Being fruitful means being radically obedient to God and radically worshiping God. Radically worship requires radical transformation in our hearts, minds, and souls. God takes care of the radical soul transformation – He has saved us through grace by faith, not anything that we do on our own. But we play a part in the radical heart and mind transformation.
Bottom Line: Radical transformation means to consciously and actively seeking Christ, offering up ourselves as a sacrifice to Him daily in a way that is holy and pleasing to God as our spiritual act of worship. Radical transformation requires us to walk away from what the world has to offer and instead to seek what God has to offer through His Word, storing it away in our hearts, striving to live by His example, renewing our minds with Scriptures so that we might be able to know what God’s will for our lives are.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).
Come back next week for the answer to this question: How do I know if I’m ready to meet God in worship?
1. What We Were Designed For A Portrait of Eve introduction – the woman you were created to be.
2. Under the Arm and Near the Heart Part 1 – A position of honor and glory and a look at what it means to be a help-meet
3. The Scary “S” Word Part 2 – Did submission exist prior to the Fall? And what does it mean to be submissive in marriage?
4. Radical Obedience Part 3- A different look at Biblical fruitfulness, what it means, what it requires, and what the Bible says about fearing the Lord.
5. Radical Worship Part 4 – “Idolatry is the fruit of flesh. Our hearts were programmed for worship.”