And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. Eph. 4:24
Simon Sinek is a leadership expert and author of multiple leadership best-sellers. It all started with his hugely popular 2009 book, Start With Why, and his subsequent TED Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” which remains the third most watched TED Talk of all time with over 61 million views. His surprisingly fresh views struck a chord not only on a leadership level but how we conduct our personal lives.
Quotes from his book articulate in capsule form the power of his words:
“Regardless of what we do in our lives, our why—our driving purpose, cause or belief—never changes.”
“All organizations start with why, but only the great ones keep their why clear year after year.
“Charisma has nothing to do with energy; it comes from a clarity of why. It comes from absolute conviction in an ideal bigger than oneself.”
I don’t know about you, but if you asked me years ago, ”What is the Christian life all about?” I would have had some pretty good ideas, but my thoughts would be random and scattered with little or no cohesiveness. You may have walked away a little confused. Starting with the “why” of the Christian life can bring clarity and conviction to our life with God.
If someone asked you the same question, what would you say? Following Jesus can be unpredictable, joyful, frustrating, and full of ambiguity…and more. The “why” helps keep things simple. We should be able to articulate the “why” of the Christian life in an idea or a few words that make sense, are easy to remember, and gives shape and influence in our everyday lives.
We should be able to articulate the “why” of the Christian life in an idea or a few words that make sense, are easy to remember, and gives shape and influence in our everyday lives
So let’s start with why: The scripture verse we have been walking with over the last two days articulates the “why” of the God-fashioned life: A life renewed from the inside out and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
Hopefully, by now, we have come to conclude that the Christian life is not, in the first place, a decision we make or something we do. It is something we become. The “why” of the Christian life is the ongoing formation of our lives by the Holy Spirit; it is nothing less than the total transformation of our hearts and lives, conforming us into the likeness of Christ. When I wrote about the personal, dynamic, creative, continual, dwelling, daily work of the Holy Spirit in our lives yesterday…this is the “why” of the Spirit’s activity: who offers healing for our wounded hearts; carries our burdens, releases us from those things that hold us hostage; redeems our shame; gives us eyes to see…that we might be transformed into the character of Christ.
A renewed life is also the “why” behind all the spiritual practices, like self-examination, fasting, praying, confessing, repentance, and generosity of Lent. Without starting with this transformational “why”, the spiritual practices can devolve into ways we try to manipulate the spiritual life to appease or impress God; or to commend ourselves for being so diligent. The ”why” behind the spiritual practices is to train our hearts to keep company with Jesus (abide) in a way that His indwelling presence becomes the shaping influence in our lives. In other words, spiritual practices help us to be with Jesus so to become like Jesus.
Many of us are familiar with Romans 8:28 where the Apostle Paul writes about how God makes all things work together for our good. (We love that verse because we have our own definition of what good should look like in our lives.) In the next verse, however, Paul articulates what that good is: “God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son” (Rom. 8:29, MSG).
We also read a similar testimony from John the Baptist: “I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. The real action comes next: The main character in this drama—compared to him I’m a mere stagehand—will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out” (Matt. 3:11, MSG). (See similar accounts recorded in Lk. 3:16; Mk. 1:7-8.)
How do we know we are becoming like Jesus? It’s not by doing more and more religious things. Taking on the likeness of Christ means that our lives will be noticeably marked more and more by love for others.
So, our thoughts today lead us to consider another “why.” Why does our formation matter? That’s for tomorrow, but just know that the answer to this question really matters especially as we consider how we become participants in God’s kingdom purposes and finding a secure place through pain and suffering.
A reminder for days of endurance and days of disappointment. Itâs not us. Itâs Jesus in us, still doing his work.
Itâs also a reminder for days of excitement and opportunity. Itâs never us. Itâs always Jesus in us, still doing his work.
Thank you. R
YES!! You just articulated a follow-up post I am going to make!! Good words.