. . . And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead . . . Ephesians 1:19-20
Recently home from college for a few days, my son got out his shop equipment and worked in the garage. I went down to see what all the noise was about and observed him shaping a steel rod. He’d heat it to a glowing red, pound on it with a hammer, cut it, weld it back together, grind it, and polish it. In the end, it was hard to believe the final product came from that simple rod of steel. It had been completely transformed – through violent processes – into something completely different.
It struck me that this is not entirely unlike what God often does in my life. For me to find recovery, I had to go through the fire. The old life had to die, or I was never going to find the new one. The problem was that I couldn’t – or wouldn’t – volunteer for that process. It had to be thrust upon me and only then, in the painful consequences of the old life, was I willing to truly let it go. Only in that obedience, did I find the transformation that I so desperately desired.
In today’s passage, Paul taught that the same power that resurrected Christ from the dead is available to us. God wants to transform us. He longs for us to put the old life to death so that we may experience the new one. Many of us desire this transformation as well. Why then do we not experience it? The problem is that we want the end result without going through the transformation process.
In my addiction, I knew how painful it was going to be to get sober. Like that steel rod in the garage, I knew I was going to have to go through fire and trauma to find resurrection. The new could come only come if the old died.
Transformation is painful because we simply don’t want to let go of the old. We cling to our drugs, lust, greed, pride, anger, resentments, and status for a reason. Those things do something for us and have become part of us. To kill them is to kill part of ourselves.
God’s transforming power is available to us. The blessed new life is waiting. To get there though, we must put the old to death. Yes, that will be painful, but in the end, we’ll find the new life to be more than worth it. If we’re willing, God’s life can flow into ours, resurrecting us just like Christ.