Effortless Change in Christ

By: Evan Beecham
From: September - October 2013
Found in: The Gospel of Grace
This world teaches us that to be loved by someone we must deserve it; we have to behave a certain way to be qualified. It is so easy to bring this attitude into our relation with God, but God’s view and opinion of us is totally different.

Why do we desire change in our lives? Usually because we are discontented or unhappy with something we see in our lives.

We have been told as Christians that we need to become like Jesus; that we need to change. Is this true? No. Actually it is not true! When we came to the Lord, we were born anew in Christ, and everything Jesus did for us at the cross became ours. He became sin, so that we could be righteous. He became us, so that we could become Him. We are complete in Him.

In fact “trying to change” involves condemnation. Romans 8:1 tells us there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ. None, period!

Stop trying to change your behavior - the change is in your beliefs.

Stop trying to change your behavior - the change is in your beliefs. All lasting change in your life will be effortless based on what you believe. If you believe you must change something in order to be qualified, loved and accepted, then you will attempt change based on a lie. This produces performance-based Christianity. You are already qualified, loved, and accepted.

Understanding God’s view and opinion of you will help you see yourself the way you really are. Our opinion of ourselves is usually pretty low. In fact, years ago I read a book by Dr. Maxwell Maltz who was a plastic surgeon. He described a trend in many of his patients who had a physical feature they did not like and wanted him to correct. He describes that even after the correction was made, many of them had amazing transformation in their appearance and beauty, and yet they still hated themselves. He even described that in many cases even those deemed very beautiful by society invariably had something they hated about themselves and wanted fixed so they could feel whole.

When you are forever picking yourself apart, feeling that you need to change to be accepted by God (and even others), you end up living your life under condemnation.

You see when there is something about yourself that you don’t like, then you won’t feel whole or complete until it is changed. You will end up focusing on, and condemning yourself over whatever it is you think needs changed. When you were born from above, you were made whole and complete as a result of what Jesus has done for you. When you are forever picking yourself apart, feeling that you need to change to be accepted by God (and even others), you end up living your life under condemnation. Discovering who you are now, as a result of the finished work of the cross and believing this good news, brings about contentment and rest. Whereas constantly feeling that you need to change, because you’re not good enough by your standards (or those placed upon you by others), produces self-condemnation. It causes you to return to performance-based Christianity (law) to change yourself into the image or likeness of Christ. John tells us in 1st John 3:20-22 that our heart condemning us causes us to lack confidence before God. He also continues that “if our heart does not condemn us, then we have confidence before God, AND whatever we ask we receive from Him.” What was the instruction given in 1st John? That we believe on the name of His Son (the finished work).

How can YOU change yourself into the likeness of Christ? You can’t! God created you in His image and likeness, and you had nothing to do with it. Jesus then completely and perfectly redeemed you, and you had nothing to do with it. So what can you do by your own efforts to become like Jesus? Nothing. Except to believe what He has already done for you, and discover His view and opinion of you as a result of the finished work. You see, He made you complete and whole at the cross, and if there is something that needs to be changed in your life, that transformation will take place effortlessly. Yes, I said effortlessly!

Faith is not something you must do for God. It is something that happens to you when you know what God has done for you.

Romans 12:2 says transformation comes from beholding, or gazing into the perfect law of liberty (righteousness by faith). Faith has nothing to do with our effort to impress God. Faith is an awakening of our heart to how eternally impressed our Father has always been with us! He is ever mindful - and eternally in love with you! Faith is not something you must do for God. It is something that happens to you when you know what God has done for you.

God’s view and opinion of you

Let us first look at God’s view and opinion of us. The word glory (Doxa), particularly in 2 Cor 3:18, means view and opinion. “...we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed (metamorphosis) into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

In other words, as we stare or gaze intently into the mirror of the word of God, to discover God’s view and opinion of us, then we will be transformed into the same view and opinion. Transformed from our view and opinion to His!

We are not trying to become like God - we are like God.

It is important to know what God’s view and opinion of you is. Actually it is critical to know who you really are in Christ to enjoy the victory given you in Christ. Identity is everything, and your identity was stolen in Eden and restored at Calvary. Sadly many Christians think they have to work to become like Christ. Not so, your identity was fully restored in Christ. You are righteous and complete in Him. There is nothing for you to do but believe. Everything really begins to become clear for us when we understand God’s unconditional, no-obligation love that He has for us.

God’s view and opinion of you simply put is this: “as He is, so are we in this world.” We are not trying to become like God - we are like God. We have been made in His image and likeness and fully redeemed. Understand God’s view and opinion of you, and in this view of His, He is content with you, and well pleased with you. Sometimes we look at ourselves in disgust and with disdain. What has happened is that we have allowed our twisted view of ourselves to override God’s view of us. This is simply unbelief; you don’t believe what God says about you and that your identity was restored in Christ Jesus. Unbelief prevented Israel from going into the promised land, and the same unbelief will prevent you from entering into His rest. Why? Because you think there is work to be done before you can fully qualify for God’s acceptance. Therefore, you cannot rest because of the work (self effort) to be done.

Because you think there is work to be done before you can fully qualify for God’s acceptance. Therefore, you cannot rest because of the work (self effort) to be done.

In reality, our view and opinion of God has been twisted, and we think that God is hard and has many requirements for us before we can be fully accepted and blessed. This opinion was propagated by religion; originating from the accuser himself. If you want to enjoy effortless change in your life, therefore effortless success, then a revelation of God’s unconditional love will open your eyes to God’s view and opinion of you.

This gospel of grace is simple - don’t let religion complicate it for you! Paul said in 2 Cor 11:3: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” What was this deception? The deception was that the serpent deceived Eve into believing that she wasn’t like God, and therefore by her own efforts could become like God. So she partook of the fruit so that she could become what she already was. An ancient Moroccan legend records the story of Eve deceived by the thought that she had competition in another woman more beautiful than herself. She was offered the magic fruit of a tree that would make her more beautiful than what she already was. The deceiver led her to a mountain where this “other” woman was supposed to be “in hiding” and prompted her to look into the cave. What she saw there, reflected in a pool of water was herself, but she believed it was someone more beautiful than her and immediately took the fruit and ate it! The legend concludes by saying that whoever is not deceived by the reflection in the water, remains in paradise!

The deception is that you are not, and therefore must become. My friends, this revelation can transform your life! When you are born from above, believing what God has done for you in Christ, then you realize that you are not trying to become like Christ, you are like Christ - Complete. This word has absolutely no negative influence. When God made the earth, it was complete. When he made the heavens, they were complete. When he made all the creatures, they were complete. Has he done anything that wasn’t complete? When he made man - yes, that’s right, complete! Completeness is our original design but man gave up completeness for a lie. Then Jesus came and did what? Made us complete again. He restored us to our original design. It is finished. No more needs to be done. The lie again is that God made something incomplete.

Love is the anchor

Knowing God’s love (Eph. 3:18-19) for you will anchor you and bring you security, and God’s perfect love is the only thing that will cast out fear.  Most people don’t understand the agape love of God because they have never experienced it. They have never experienced a love that is non-performance based, unconditional, wanting to bless you no matter what you’ve done, no conditions set, no disqualifications. NO obligation! (We love because He first loved us.)

Most people don’t understand the agape love of God because they have never experienced it.

Think about this for a moment. The very essence of Adam and Eve’s unbelief was that God must not truly love them. If they believed that God was holding something out on them (and they must have, they ate of the fruit), then they would have questioned God’s love for them. I submit to you that the very heart of all unbelief is the belief that God doesn’t really love us, or He loves us with the same love we are most familiar with - “conditional love.” This was true of Adam and Eve, and this is equally true of us. Many Christians’ opinion of God’s unconditional love is that “He is willing to tolerate you until you change,” and they are so unhappy and discontented with themselves that they never sit down at His feet and let Him love them. Our Father’s love for us is such that He leads us to rest, where He is perfectly and completely content with us! That is why your very foundation and security rest in His love for you. God IS love and that is who He is. The twisted conditional and manipulative love most of us have known and even taught our children is nothing close to God’s love for us, and doesn’t even compare. Simply put, that kind of “love” is a mixture of law and grace at best. Do good get good; do bad get bad.

God loves you and wants His best for you. Believe what He says and thinks about you today, and soar to new heights!

He does not see you as a failure - He sees you as a success.  He did not see you as without value, but he saw you as “to die for,” which makes you priceless!

He doesn’t see you as broke, but He sees you loaded with all of His blessings, fully supplied in abundance to meet every need and, yes, even your desires.

He doesn’t see you as sick and broken down, but as vibrant and full of life - His life!

He doesn’t see you as a nobody - He sees you as somebody very special to Him with unlimited potential!

YOU are the object of His love; a love that has no conditions, a love that is so intense that He gave His very best just to be with you, a love that would stop at nothing to restore your innocence, make you righteous, never ever hold your sin or shortcomings against you! A love that destroyed and disarmed your enemy. Why did He do all this for you? Because He LOVES YOU!

The beauty of His love is that you don’t have to earn it, you don’t have to deserve it, you are always loved by Him

He loves everything about you - your personality, your hair, your smile, your sense of humor, He goes to work with you, He has given you His grace; you are highly favored and have been greatly advantaged because of Him! Because of His love for you, you have an unfair advantage over the world in all that you do! He is your Father, your Daddy!

The beauty of His love is that you don’t have to earn it, you don’t have to deserve it, you are always loved by Him, you are always highly favored by Him not because of anything you have done, but because of what He has done! You are completely innocent and you are His!

The love of God is God for God IS love, and yet so many Christians feel that it is just basic and that they already know this subject. “Let’s get into the deep stuff,” they say. I can tell you that most Christians have not experienced this love and were not correctly taught this love.

Stop trying to change yourself. Instead, discover who you are and God’s view and opinion of you and all change will be effortless!

Therefore, we could spend the rest of our lives teaching His love, and what would we gain? We would be filled to the FULLNESS of God! When we grow in His love, we then experience His love. Once we experience it, we experience His rest; then others begin to experience it through us. So embrace the teaching of His love. When you discover Him, then you will discover yourself! It is our very foundation because it is WHO God is - for God is love!

Forget about trying to find His plan for your life As you can see by His intense love for you, your life is His plan; He is perfectly content with you. Stop trying to change yourself. Instead, discover who you are and God’s view and opinion of you and all change will be effortless!

By: Evan Beecham

Evan Beecham is a Pastor and Business owner, he owns an Insurance and Financial Planning Service, for the last 20 years, and has been in various aspects of ministry for 31 years.

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