When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.
2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” 3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him,
4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” Genesis 17:1-8
For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13
Just when you think you have things all figured out, God may have significant transformation in store for you. At 99 years old, Abram must have had a good grasp on his lifestyle. He was a prosperous nomadic shepherd, a successful manager of a large family business. He and Sarai always had hoped for children, but as much as they tried to remain faithful to God, the promise never came to pass. Then one day, Abram had another theophany, and this meeting with God began to change everything. Abram and all men in his household would henceforth be circumcised. They would come to inhabit permanently the land they had been traversing. And the most marvelous transformation of all, Abram and Sarai would have a son! That one tickled Abram to the bone, and he fell on his face laughing. So God told him to name the boy Isaac, which means “son of laughter.” (God has a great sense of humor about our notion that we know it all already.)
Another major part of Abram’s transformation was his name change. No longer would he be called Abram (“exalted father”), but now through the birth of Isaac he truly would become Abraham, “father of many nations.”
It was a powerful statement of what God was about to do soon and would continue to bless for generations to come. Imagine, from a 100-year-old father and a 90-year-old first-time mother would spring something new – a nation dedicated to faith in God.
Think of blessings from God that give FBC its particular identity. How settled are some of those characteristics? What transformations in FBC can you recall? What did the process of transformation involve?
Transformation occurs around us constantly. Electrical power is produced at high voltage levels well suited for transmission over long distances. It delivers great resources of energy capable of affecting thousands of people and accomplishing substantial amounts of work. But the powerful voltage that has potential for significant results must undergo transformation in order to be applied to daily tasks. All of those chargers for our myriad electronic devices are transformers. They change voltage from standard 110-120 v. household current to the levels used to operate or charge devices for use throughout our worlds. Without transformation, we might have enormous potential power available, but limited practical application for powering work that needs to be done.
Think of powerful resources FBC has accumulated for serving God and blessing and making a difference in the world. How can some resources be transformed to become more effective for blessing people in today’s world? How fixed are your resources? Is transformation due in your life in order for you to serve God more faithfully or effectively?
Transformation most often is not as simple as plugging a USB charger into an electrical outlet. Even in that case the change generates heat that has to be dissipated. Careful design and understanding often determines how well transformation can occur. For Abram, the transformation to Abraham was not simple or immediate. Many of God’s promised transformations did not happen even in Abraham’s lifetime. But God was faithful to bring about generations of descendants and a nation of people known to belong to God with potential for blessing others.
God continues to be in the transformation business. The changes in our lives and our use of resources needed to be effective in sharing God’s blessings with others do not depend solely upon our own ingenuity. Paul affirms that “anyone in Christ is a new creation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) What we have been before is transformed by our faithful relationship with Jesus. Paul also says that God’s transformation in our lives is accomplished by his power and not our own. Philippians 2:13 reminds us that “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” And Romans 12:2, Paul assures us that God’s transformation of our minds equips us to “be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.” But, like Abram, we must faithfully allow God to transform us in order to become God’s blessing for our world.
- What transformations are in process right now in your life?
- Are the transformations drawing you more closely in line with your understanding of the life God is leading you to live?
- Can your family and friends see any signs of change in your life because of your practice of faith in Christ?
- How can your employment of the resources God has entrusted to you be transformed to bless others through the FBC GENERATIONS endeavor?