In the garage of the house we live in I have an old church pew. It’s one of the side pews – not too long, ideal for re-purposing for use in a house. The problem? It came out in parts, with some missing. And since it came out of the church over 10 years ago now, it’s still in parts! As a result, its not entered its new life as a seat in the house, it’s not achieving its true purpose, and it’s merely gathering dust.

The Bible tells us that all believers are saved with a purpose in mind. Eph 1:4 tells us “He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.” In Christ this is complete – as Eph 1 goes on to say, we have been redeemed, justified, adopted and will be glorified. Our eternal fixed ‘position’ is of a holy child of God. But, Eph 1 carries on to tell us that our ‘experience’ now is one that needs the power of God at work in us – the “power [that] is like the working of His mighty strength … when He raised Him from the dead” (Eph 1:19-20). Why? Because He made us to be Holy (1 Pet 1:16), to “put off your former way of life” (Eph 4:22), to live in the wonderful newness of life He gives and no longer die (Rom 8:13). We are new creatures (2 Cor 5:17), and we are to live His new life!

But how do I live in this new life? That old pew. I want it to be made new. So, I could go into the garage where it lies broken and scold it for not changing into a new pew. I could lecture it on ‘getting it’s act together’ and tell it to [quite literally] ‘pull yourself together’(!). But I would be foolish to do so, wouldn’t I? It’s not living – it’s made of old wood. It has no power to do anything. It needs a maker to remake it.

In Rom 12:2 we learn that it’s the same for us. As believers our purpose is to be Transformed. Like that pew, it’s a tragedy if we are not – we were made for a wonderful new life, not a life of regrets or uselessness. But we read there that we are to “be transformed by the renewing of your minds”. Now, look at this carefully. Who does the renewing? It’s not ‘be transformed by you renewing your own minds’. Rather it’s the work of God in you! That’s why in Eph 1:19-20 we are told that we need the same resurrection power that was at work in Jesus to be at work in us. Our transformation is resurrection work – God in us. Romans 12:1 makes it clear that our role is to surrender our lives to Him: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” We are to let go of the things we passionately hold on to, to recognise where we are not being transformed, to seek His work in us whatever the cost. His Spirit will then, as we “conform no longer to the pattern of this world”, do His work to transform us so that our immediate responses become those which are in line with His will.

Of course, the question is – am I seeking His transformation? Am I letting Him examine me and identify the areas that I’ve not surrendered to Him? Do I really think that He is able to change me? This week I was talking to someone at the coffee cart. They had come to know Jesus as a young person, but there were tears because their life was little different than it would have been if they had not come to know Jesus. There was a trail of regret, of hurt, feelings of a life wasted. It was wonderful to share that Jesus wants to transform, to renew the mind, to set us free. Like Jesus asked the paralysed man, the question that really had to be asked was “Do you want to be made well?” (Jn 5:6)