Does God Love Me Just the Way I Am?
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
It can be tempting to believe that because it’s my nature to do something, that it must be right. If God made me like this, he wanted me to be this way. God doesn’t make mistakes, right? God wants me to be happy and he gave me these desires, so they can’t be wrong.
I can recall the first time I was exposed to opioid pain medications. I was enthralled. It was electrifying, and I wanted more. I didn’t realize until much later that not everyone feels that way. Some people find those pills unpleasant and will never become addicted. For me though, I had a predisposition for opioids that had nothing to do with any choice I’d ever made. This wasn’t some problem with the way I was raised. I was born that way. To say that God wanted me to use drugs though, because I was born that way, is absurd.
In today’s passage, Paul told his audience that God would continue working on them for their entire lives. As Christians, transformation is a continual process that won’t be finished until we step into eternity. As long as we live, we’re meant to continually grow and change, never remaining what we once were.
As Christians, we often speak of how God loves us just the way we are. While it is true that God loves us no matter where we are or what we’ve done, it would be a grave mistake to think that he also wants us to remain exactly where we are. He has absolutely no intention of leaving us alone. It’s precisely because of his great love for us that he wants to transform us into who we were made to be.
This is a problem for us. Change is hard. Change requires humility and hard work. To change, we must admit we were wrong and that there is a better way. Often though, we just want to believe in God while asking that he leave us alone to be what we want. Truly following Christ though, means that we daily abandon ourselves to follow him. That requires that we admit our way is self-destructive and that we must follow a new way.
We fear that change means we won’t be true to ourselves or that being a Christian means we’ll all look, act, and dress like old people in a stuffy church. Transformation isn’t about becoming someone else though. Transformation means bringing out the best of you, becoming the version of you that God created you to be.