Where Jim Berg focuses the first chapter of Changed Into His Image on sanctification what Biblical change is, in chapter two, he faces the problem-- the evil within ourselves. “The tree itself must be healthy if it is to produce fruit that tastes truly Christlike” (30).
At the beginning of chapter two, Dr. Bob Jones is quoted saying, “The Devil did not tempt Adam and Eve to steal, to lie, to kill, to commit adultery; he tempted them to live independent of God” (34). If the devil can sway us enough to not fully depend on God, we will stray from the right path. So often I can be focused on doing the right action or saying the right words on the outside instead of having the right attitude and motivation inside my heart. This shows me that I live independently from God in the sense that I am not submitting to His will like I should, even if I look like I am outwardly.
In my life, I have a tendency to try to handle my problems on my own. I often justify this with saying I don’t want to “bother” anyone by asking for help or guidance. Anyone else do that? While that may be a point of consideration, I also know that this attitude is rooted in self-sufficiency and independence from God. This fits with what Berg remarked in Chapter two. He it is “our tendency to dethrone God and to view ourselves as the ruling entity for our lives” (pg. 25).
God has been teaching me that I truly cannot depend on myself. “We’re all pretty bad people who do right only by the grace of God” (26). I am not the ruler of my life. I must trust that I am not enough. But He is enough. Our hearts are naturally inwardly focused--focused on ourselves and our own needs. Occasionally, we may gaze outward to those around us. However, I pray that God would help me to not be focused inward, nor outward, but upward-- towards the Creator of my soul, the only One who can truly satisfy.
Some other thought-provoking lines from this chapter:
“While Satan certainly wants to see my downfall, it is doubtful that I was experiencing direct attacks from the Evil One; I was more likely experiencing the true strength of my sinful heart whose power was not fully known to me until I resisted it” (32).
“Our biggest problem then is not the environment in which we have been reared; it is not the evil done to us by others; it is not the limitations we feel so acutely. Our biggest problem is a heart that wants its own way in opposition to God’s way” (34-35).
What are your thoughts? Comment below!
Keep your focus on God,
Marie Cloud :)
God has given me a love for people and a passion to write. I love that the sky shows the creativity of our loving Maker, don't you? I hope you will join me on this journey through life exploring the beautiful creation God has made and the lessons that He is teaching me through it all.