Summary: The changes God wants to see in us.
March 12th, 2006
This morning we’re going to continue our look at Extreme Makeovers. Not the stuff we see on TV. Not the makeovers that cater to the society that we live in that tells us what makes a person beautiful and desirable is the outer package that they’re born with or that they spend thousands of dollars to fix up. Those are the makeovers that may make us look different but they don’t change who we are nor do they really give us happiness and security. No, we’re looking at something different, we’re looking at the changes that God wants to make, we’re looking at what God wants us to look like on the inside. We read last week that comments that Jesus had for the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law, men who went to great lengths to look good on the outside. He compared them to cups that looked clean on the outside, but on the inside they were filthy and useless. Outer change alone is worthless but when we allow God to do a work on the inside, it will transform us and change us and move us towards being a reflection of Christ in this world both inside and out!
Last week we looked at where this makeover begins. The heart, the center of who we are, the center of our emotions, and as the Bible calls it, the wellspring of life. God’s makeover begins with a broken heart. A heart that is broken over the sin in our lives and over those areas that we fall so short of the Glory of God. Once that work has begun in our hearts, once God has taken that hard, calloused heart and replaced it as He promises in Ezekiel with a heart of flesh, a heart that beats for Him and for His Truth and His ways, then we can turn our attention to the other areas that need to see change happen. God wants us to have a broken heart, he also wants us to have calloused knees.
Now for most of us, calluses are something that we try to avoid. They form when there is repetitive friction on the skin, usually on the hands or feet or on the elbows and knees. They have lotions and creams and even files to smooth out the skin to avoid these calluses. My wife uses this thing, it looks like a cheese grater, to smooth out the skin on her feet, I suggested an orbital sander, but she wouldn’t go for it.
For some, who work with their hands, calluses are a testament to their profession. I’ve just begun to learn the guitar and for the first few weeks, I could only play for a few minutes at a time because the strings would bite into my finger tips. I have pretty wimpy, sensitive hands. After a little while, calluses formed on my fingertips and I was able to play for a longer time without experiencing any pain. For a guitar player, calluses are a necessity, they protect your fingers and keep them from getting sore from having to press down those little strings but they only come from repetition and practice and dedication. The same is true for what we are going to be looking at this morning. God wants us to have knees that are calloused from the repetitive action of a life spent on our knees in prayer. Once we have experienced a broken heart, the next step for us is to open up a constant line of communication with God and that comes through the prayer life of a Christian. What we look at in the coming weeks will feed off of this, off of the idea of prayer in our lives, because for God to address the changes that need to take place in our lives, communication has to happen, we have to be consistently coming before His throne and falling to our knees and talking with our God.
Prayer can be a touchy subject. When Catherine was three, just last year, we were having dinner at the home of some friends from our old church. We had just sat down to eat and the father looked at Catherine and asked if she would like to pray for the meal. She looked up at him with those beautiful brown eyes and a very serious expression on her face and replied, “No, we don’t do that at our house!” Of course they all thought that was hilarious and Erin and I are just mortified.
Prayer can be an embarrassing subject for many of us. The vast majority of Christians are dissatisfied with their prayer lives and feel that they don’t pray enough or about the right things or in the right way and it keeps them from effectively communicating with God. For some Christians prayer is a chore, for others it’s a mystery that they don’t quite get, for some prayer can become a cliché, “Oh, I’ll pray for you!” and then we go about our day and forget all about it. Whatever prayer is to us, the reality is that for a Christian, it is to be a way of life. It is to be as much a part of us as breathing. A Christian who doesn’t pray is a contradiction.