December 9, 2017
Read: Galatians 3:23–29
Bible in a Year: Daniel 11–12; Jude
All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.—Galatians 3:27
“Change: From the Inside Out or the Outside In?” the headline read, reflecting a popular trend today—the idea that outward changes like a makeover or better posture can be an easy way to change how we feel on the inside—and even change our lives.
It’s an appealing concept—who wouldn’t want improving our lives to be as easy as a new look? Many of us have learned the hard way that changing deep-rooted habits can seem nearly impossible. Focusing on simple external changes offers hope that there is a quicker path toward improving our lives.
But although such changes can improve our lives, Scripture invites us to seek a deeper transformation—one that is impossible on our own. In fact, in Galatians 3 Paul argued that even God’s law—a priceless gift that revealed His will—couldn’t heal the brokenness of God’s people (vv. 19-22). True healing and freedom required them to, through faith, be “clothed” in Christ (v. 27) through His Spirit (5:5). Set apart and shaped through Him, they would find their true identity and worth—every believer equally an heir to all of God’s promises (3:28-29).
We could easily devote much energy to self-improvement techniques. But the deepest and most satisfying changes in our hearts come in knowing the love that surpasses knowledge (Eph. 3:17-19)—the love that changes everything. —Monica Brands
Lord, we’re so grateful we don’t have to rely on ourselves. Thank You for Your Spirit renewing us every day and drawing us closer to You and Your love.
In Jesus, true and lasting transformation is possible.
INSIGHT: How does God’s love transform us? Second Corinthians 5:17-18 tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ.” As Christians we are already new, transformed creatures through Christ’s death for our sins. But that doesn’t mean our transformation is complete. What’s our part in this transformation? We are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) so that we are no longer “infants in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1). And we are to no longer “conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” (Rom. 12:2). But we don’t accomplish this on our own. The Holy Spirit is at work inside us. As we “contemplate the Lord’s glory, [we] are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).
As we pray, read the Bible, and fellowship with God, the Holy Spirit reveals more about Jesus, helps us to love Him more, and transforms us to more closely resemble Him. Alyson Kieda
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