Have you read the book by C. S. Lewis called, The Great Divorce? Lewis describes a young man tormented by a red lizard that sits on his shoulder and mocks him. For Lewis, the lizard represents the indwelling sin all of us struggle with. An angel comes and promises to get rid of the red lizard, and the man, for the moment, takes great joy in that. He’s thrilled. I can be rid of this thing. And then he realizes the way the angel will get rid of it, as the angel begins to glow with a fiery heat. He will kill the lizard. Beginning to recognize the implications, the young man says, “Maybe you don’t have to kill it. Maybe you don’t have to get rid of it entirely. Can’t we do this another time?” The angel says, “In this moment are all moments. Either you want the red lizard to live, or you do not.” The lizard, recognizing the young man’s hesitation, begins to mock and plead simultaneously.
“Be careful. He can do what he says. He can kill me. One fatal word from you, and he will. Then you’ll be without me forever and ever. It’s not natural. How could you live? You’ll only be a sort of a ghost, not a real man as you are now. He doesn’t understand. He’s only a cold, bloodless, abstract thing. It may be natural for him, but it’s not natural for us. I know there are no real pleasures, only dreams, but aren’t they better than nothing? I’ll be so good. I admit I’ve gone too far in the past, but I promise I won’t do it again. I’ll give you nothing but nice dreams, all sweet and fresh and almost innocent”.
These words characterize for us the way we compromise and allow sin to live on. It’s almost innocent. I don’t want to be a legalist. God will forgive me. I won’t let it go too far. It is a new time and age. It is not all that bad. Everyone is doing it. And with such words, we allow the lizards to live that torment us.
Ephesians 4:20-24 says, “But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God truly righteous and holy.”
Transformation is a constant process of “putting off” and “putting on.” Ending old habits, thoughts and attitudes is not enough unless we replace them with new patterns, thoughts, and attitudes. It’s not enough to “put off” looking at pornography unless we also “put on” a weekly small group meeting that involves prayer reading Scripture and deliverance. If we don’t, before long, we’ll be back with the same video clips, pictures, and websites. It’s not enough to “put off” selfishness unless we also “put on” serving others, helping and doing for others.
Transformation is like a sailboat that takes its power from the wind. Sailors don’t create the wind but do learn how to harness it to move them forward. So it is with us—we have to create new habits that tap into the POWER of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…”
“Let God transform” is from the Greek word “metamorphoo” which means to transform, change.
Guess what? It is never too late to change! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Believers in Jesus are not reformed, rehabilitated, or reeducated–they are recreated. We are a new creation, living in vital union with Christ (Colossians 2:6-7). As we receive Jesus, we become believers who are not merely turning over a new leaf; we are starting a new life under our Savior and Lord.
It is my experience that there is no miracle like the miracle of changed life: how God touches the SOUL of a person transforms the BODY, MIND, and HEART of a person is unlike anything else in life. It is amazing!
Ezekiel 18:31-32 says, “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says the Lord GOD. Therefore turn and live!”
The Holy Spirit transforms our lives as JESUS IS IN US AND WITH US. To watch a heart that was wounded, cold, or bitter become loving, warm, and kind is a miracle. To witness a broken and bruised soul come to receive healing, redemption and peace is the most amazing moment we can watch.