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Motivation for Transformation

Have you ever gotten into a slump at work, school, or in your desire for Scripture? If you’re like most of us, you’d probably say yes to all of those. And even if you were not satisfied with your situation, you might have stayed in that slump longer than was good for you.

Years ago, those who studied and taught leader development wrote about the difference between transactional and transformational leadership. Transactional leadership means that leaders simply dole out rewards in direct proportion to performance. The more you do, the more compensation or praise you should get. And there’s nothing wrong with rewarding good performance, but it’s hard to follow every person around and fairly mete out bonuses, praise, and promotions. But transformational leadership focuses on getting people self-motivated to make a product or service better, faster, or cheaper.

These same principles apply to our spiritual growth. Remember when you were given gold stars for memorizing a verse or reading a chapter of Scripture every day for a week? It’s good to memorize and read Scripture, but it’s much better to want to be in the Word. It’s unusual for a person to grit their teeth or squint their eyes hard and transform their thoughts, values, and actions for an extended period of time. Change and learning are hard and ordinarily they take time. In Romans 12:2, Paul gives the advice to, “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

Paul didn’t say to transform yourself; he wrote, “be transformed.” Our transformation is all about God’s work in us. It’s a process and processes often take time. And maybe that’s why he didn’t use the word “renewal,” which would indicate that this is a one-time event; he wrote that transformation comes by the “renewing of your mind,” meaning we must continually depend on God to change us.

Charles Spurgeon once said, “Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.”[1] Sometimes when you study a familiar passage, you’ll see something new to you. And that aha moment is a gift just for you. But your motivation to be in the Word need not be about anticipating the next aha moment.

When your prayer and Scripture study habits are about adoration and worship rather than “I really need to do this”, you are making yourself more available to be transformed by the renewing of you mind. Remember the words of the familiar song? “Change my heart O God, may I be like you, mold me and make me, this is what I pray.”[2]

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.

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