We were only making the rounds at a specific kind of shop. We were really there to relax, and for us that means reading, enjoying the quiet, and sharing a few uninterrupted dinners together. We found one of those kinds of shops and it looked quaint and filled with promise from the street. The parking area was large, the approaches were new ramps and steps, the shop had fairly fresh paint, and looked quite nice. However, there were few cars in the parking lot and this puzzled us.
I parked under the shade, always a good move on a 100-degree day. As we walked up to the shop, I noticed two things. First, while the approaches, steps, and landscaping were new and nicely done, the porch to this building had many rotting boards — so many that I thought I was going to fall through when I first stepped onto the porch. Second, no one was in and a sign said, "Back in five minutes!" So we sat in the heat and waited about ten minutes. No one showed up and I noticed that the whole front porch was filled with boards that were rotting away underneath their fairly recent paint job. The spot at the steps groaned again under my weight — ugh, that's for another week — as we left before anyone returned.
Hum! This shop is a lot like many self-improvement projects I've heard about — a lot of time spent on the externals and little time devoted to the person and values underneath the externals.
There are quite a few things I would like to change about myself right now. Yet I want these to be more than external changes: I want real transformation. Slapping a metaphorical new coat of paint on me — you know what I mean, changing my hair, dropping a few pounds, getting some new clothes, the external stuff — is not going to get me very far if I don't ask God to be at work through the Holy Spirit to truly transform me. I must partner with the Spirit of God if real transformation in the direction of Christ is going to happen (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
So let's join each other in committing to more than change: let's call each other to spiritual transformation. And if you have some things you've done to help you in the spiritual work of transformation, we'd all sure love to hear about them. Share your thoughts on the blog as we try to "spur one another on" to love, good deeds, and holy living (Hebrews 10:23-25).
You can find the place to respond at this address: http://blog.heartlight.org/phil/2006/07/when_more_than_change_is_neede.html