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We Obey What We Love

Grace Transformation Motivation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2021-11-21

Scripture: Galatians 3:3 ; 2 Corinthians 5:17

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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ILLUSTRATION

Paul tells us that when we become Christians we become “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), that we “put off the old self with its practices … and have put on the new self, which is being renewed” (Colossians 3:9-10, ESV).  Like a butterfly that rises from its cocoon, we emerge as renewed creatures.

Before, we trusted in good works for salvation, now we trust in the finished work of Christ. Before, we lived in fear and shame, now we live in light of God’s perfect love and forgiveness. Before, we resolved to do better by conjuring up the mustard to overcome bad habits and sinful behaviors, now we resolve to do better by conjuring up the mustard to overcome bad habits and sinful behaviors.

Wait a minute!! That last one didn't sound any different than what we were doing before our salvation. How is it that grace has transformed everything about us except the process of transformation itself? Could it be that we are failing to turn to grace at this strategic point and are relying on old habits instead? Seriously, how is the approach most of us take to overcoming bad behavior any different from how we exercised self-control before we came to faith in Christ?

APPLICATION

It is important to take note that in all of the ways that grace has affected a change in our lives there has always been a transition from relying on human effort to relying on divine provision.  With that all-important point in mind, we fool ourselves if we think that we have transitioned to grace in our efforts to overcome sin if we are, in fact, still relying on human effort.

This was Paul’s point when he asked the legalistic Galatians, “After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). They began their Christian experience by relying on God’s provision for salvation but they attempted to go on to maturity not by grace but by continuing to rely on human effort. Sound familiar?

The real solution to chronic issues of disobedience isn’t more effort but more love. To turn to human effort to solve a problem that was created by human effort is nonsensical, as Paul pointed out.  What we need, instead, is to love God more than the things that tempt us away from Him.

Here's the central point: We Obey What We Love.

We yield to temptation because we love the things that tempt us. We overcome temptation by loving God more than anything else. But search as we may, this love won't be found in our flesh. To find it, we must turn from ourselves and ask God to fill us with more of His love.

So, when you find yourself failing to be obedient to God over something, don’t resolve to do better or try harder next time. Instead, ask God to give you a love for pleasing Him that’s greater than your love for that sin. When it's more love for God that provides the victory, then you can rest assured that you have not only begun your Christian journey in the Spirit but that you are learning to finish it in the Spirit, as well.

The Rat Race

Worldliness Humor Transformation

Source: 1956, The Golden Ham: A Candid Biography of Jackie Gleason by Jim Bishop, (Undated letter from Jackie Gleason to Gen (Genevieve, estranged wife Gleason)), Quote Page 258,

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2021-10-28

Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:7

Author: Jackie Gleason / Lily Tomlin
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ILLUSTRATION

Lily Tomlin's version of a Jackie Gleason quote is as follows:

"The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win you're still a rat."

APPLICATION

The Apostle Paul spoke of a different kind of race.  One in which those who run are transformed, not into rats but into the image of Christ!

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

Pressure to Conform

Conformity Fellowship Transformation

Source: Psychology Today

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Stephen Kingsley | Date Posted: 2019-01-29

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:14 ; Romans 12:2

Author: Stephen Kingsley
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ILLUSTRATION

In 2005, neuroscientist Gregory Berns conducted experiments to try to gauge how people respond to societal pressures. Berns created social groups that were tasked with looking at a series of objects to decide if they were the same or different. But unbeknownst to the volunteers, four participants in each group of five had been coached to unanimously give fake answers to some of the questions. Even though they were obviously wrong, on average, 40 percent of the time the volunteers went along with the group.

Subjects were also hooked up to a brain scanner. Berns concluded that social pressure activates the part of the brain devoted to spatial perception, showing the desire to fit in causes people to change their picture of reality.

APPLICATION

in Romans 12:2, the apostle Paul writes, "Be not conformed to the world." Berns' study proves how easily we can abandon what we know is right in order to fit in with a group. Paul adds, "But be transformed by the renewing of your mind." The world's pressure is an external force, while the transformation the apostle calls for is from within.

The secret to this renewing of the mind lies not in running the right thoughts through the mind, repeating Scriptures over and over, but by yielding to the Holy Spirit. Knowing how susceptible we are to the influence of others, the power of good and godly fellowship is of the utmost importance.

"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14)

Extreme Makeover

New Birth Regeneration Transformation

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2018-08-06

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:17

Author: Thomas Bevers
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Spilling Your Coffee

Fruit of the Spirit Character Transformation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2018-07-13

Scripture: Galatians 5:22

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Results Typical

New Birth Transformation Salvation

Contributed By: Charles Schuyler | Date Posted: 2015-04-13

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:17

Author: Aaron Pratt / Charles Schuyler
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Turn the World Around

Worldly Mindset Spiritual Warfare Transformation

Contributed By: Barnett Gushin | Date Posted: 2015-02-16

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:3

Author: Unknown
8

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Cooperating With The Miracle of Metamorphosis

Transformation Salvation Futility

Contributed By: Larry Lewis | Date Posted: 2015-01-01

Author: Bill Hybels / Larry Lewis
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No Such Thing As Privacy

Transformation Grace Accountability

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-12-25

Scripture: Psalms 139:23

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Statistical Proof That People Long To Change

Resolutions New Year's Transformation

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-12-24

Scripture: Ephesians 5:18 ; Titus 3:5

Author: Illustration Exchange
4

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