Transformational

"Beware of harking back to what you once were when God wants you to be something you have never been."

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I’ve been reflecting on some thoughts by Oswald Chambers (1874­-1917), a Baptist evangelist and teacher from Scotland. Although complications from an appendectomy shortened his life, wife Biddy took his teaching and preaching notes and published a number of books, the best known being My Utmost for His Highest (1927), long considered a Christian classic.

A compilation published in 2015, Our Brilliant Heritage/If You Will Be Perfect/Disciples Indeed: The Inheritance of God’s Transforming Mind and Heart, is part of my library. Within this book is a quote you may have heard before but is worth considering again: “Beware of harking back to what you once were when God wants you to be something you have never been.”

Scripture has a lot to say about the transformation God longs to enact in each life—in essence, yearning to turn us into something we have never been before. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I have reflected on what brings God most joy, eventually concluding that it is taking chaos—particularly as sometimes practised in our lives—and turning it into beauty.

An Avondale student once confided to me he had given up following God, believing God would have tired of him consistently making a mess of life. The time had come, he thought, to “cut himself loose”. Fortunately, the truth is quite the opposite. God does not tire of turning chaos into beauty and never rejects those who come to Him with sincerity. That is transformational.


Professor Kevin Petrie is vice-chancellor of Avondale University College.