Hi everyone, Rob here.
When David and I visited New York City as part of our U.S.A adventure last year we walked on the High Line. The High Line is a 1.45 mile long public space that’s been built on a disused rail line in West Manhattan. From a derelict structure covered in weeds and rust the area has been transformed into a park filled with new plantings, views over the city and the Hudson River, performances, art, rest areas and more. Thanks to a dedicated group of people with a vision of what could be, the High Line has experienced a transformation. Without that vision it would have become either a massive eyesore or demolished and absorbed into the urban landscape. Instead it has become an asset to New York. It has added a new dimension to city life and made it better.
All over the world transformations like this happen. Old dumping grounds become golf courses or parks. Disused churches become theatres or cafes. Former industrial areas get cleaned up and become vibrant new residential areas. When there’s a vision combined with commitment transformation happens. Here’s the good news: God has a vision for our lives and is utterly committed to our transformation. He wants to make us into people who are assets to his kingdom and give life to his world. Here’s how Paul puts it in Ephesians 1:4-6.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
God is committed to creating a holy family in Christ; people who are loved and who love, who receive grace and give grace. As George MacDonald has said, ‘Since we are sons of God let us become sons of God.” That is, people who reflect the goodness, love, joy and peace of the Father. As we come to the Father through the Son we too become sons and daughters caught up in the love of the Trinity. We become transformed through that love. We are made mature through that love. The love may come as discipline for a time and mercy at another time but it’s all love. It’s designed to help us become sons and daughters who bear the family name, bear the family likeness and show others the welcome mat into the family home. We start to let go of old ways of doing life. All the ways we used to control our world, comfort ourselves in hard times, cope with difficult people and create a name for ourselves become less appealing as we come to see that trusting Jesus is the way to more and better life. We become more at home in God’s kingdom than we do in Satan’s world but we also learn to bring the kingdom to bear on our world because God is using us to reclaim what is his.
Just as the High Line is now an integral part of Manhattan we become an integral part of God’s plans to change the world. The High Line was transformed and now it plays a part in transforming the city and it’s people. Businesses exist because of it. Workers gain a bit of space and beauty and refreshment for their souls. I’m sure it makes them better workers! The planting helps with pollution and the performances bring joy. In the same way our transformation happens for the good of others. As we become better workers, friends, parents, spouses and citizens we make an impact that is felt through eternity. As Paul says in Ephesians 2:4-10:
But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
May you feel and know God’s transforming power in you this week as you become the sons and daughters of the Father that you already are.