Episode 1. Total Transformation
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Each one of us at some point takes a look in the mirror and let’s face it we don’t like what we see. Sagging wrinkles and these days we’ve been conditioned to think ‘I need a …
Each one of us at some point takes a look in the mirror and let’s face it we don’t like what we see. Sagging wrinkles and these days we’ve been conditioned to think ‘I need a makeover’. So do you need a bit of a makeover?
We’ve all watched them on television haven’t we, the makeover shows. I remember when reality TV first became a phenomenon back in the 1990’s and way back then it felt kind of bizarre. But these days it’s the norm and we have reality makeover shows for just about anything and everything on television.
There are body and beauty makeover shows where they take a plain Jane through a little plastic surgery, even dental surgery, a nip and a tuck here and there, some serious work on her hair and her make up and a style makeover on how she dresses and all of a sudden voila, there you have it, Miss Universe.
There are some home makeover shows, renovation shows, surprise garden makeover shows, apartment makeover shows, even the current talent shows are all about makeovers. From the initial slightly dull boring guy that fronts up for the audition to the handsome buck all glammed up who sings his heart out in the grand final.
This idea of makeovers has become the new vehicle for reality television to thrive and to become an incredible phenomenon that it’s become. But the problem with reality television is that it’s not real, in fact there’s nothing much real about reality television at all, it’s carefully stage-managed and contrived let me tell you.
Look I’ve been on TV shoots. I remember doing a two and a half-minute spot that took eight hours to shoot. All that stuff that looks oh so spontaneous on television is carefully scripted, carefully choreographed, carefully constructed and we take this shot and that shot and we cut it and we try that again, all that stuff.
To put it bluntly reality television is completely an illusion, it’s a mirage, it’s not real and through this medium producers are pedalling the concept of life transformation, its aspirational television. It’s dangling the concept of total transformation under our noses and why do they do it? Because just as the age-old advertising adage that sex sells is true, advertisers have realised that they can piggy back their products off the back of this illusory seductive aspirational notion of total transformation.
That’s why people watch these programs because they scratch this deep itch, this deep desire for a transformed life. To be picked up on a magic carpet and whisked away to some new perfect idyllic reality. Just as cigarettes were the delivery platform for nicotine, to create an addict that will buy those deadly products, so the transformational message of reality TV is the delivery platform for whatever advertising message some company is prepared to pay for to get across to you during the program.
So to sum up my little social commentary rant here reality television has made us addicts to the idea of transformation and yet no amount of reality television is actually going to deliver transformation to you and me. As much as they promise a miracle makeover, as much as women in particular are flocking to cosmetic surgeons, as much as people go on fitness kicks and crash diets, as much as we got out and buy new clothes or try this and try that, none of it, none of it delivers the transformation that we’re really looking for.
Today we’re kicking off a series of messages that I’ve called God’s Miracle Makeover For You. Over this last couple of weeks we talked about the signs and wonders that Jesus performed and the deep powerful message each of those miracles have for you and for me and in fact last week we finished off the series on miracles, signs and wonders with what I called the greatest miracle of them all – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Not just as some historical fact although it is that but as a present reality for you and for me. Here again is how Paul the Apostle sums it up in Romans chapter 6 and verse 4:
We were buried therefore by baptism into his death in order that just as Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
The greatest miracle of them all is the newness of life that Jesus brings. Real life, newness, real transformation and that’s what we’re talking about this week on the program because this newness of life, it’s what’s available to each person who believes in Jesus. Problem is a whole bunch of people who do believe in Jesus aren’t living the new life, they’re stuck in the old life. They’re wrapped as it were in the grave-clothes of the past just as Lazarus was when he walked out of that tomb after Jesus raised him from the dead.
That’s why you and I need a miracle makeover. You can’t have this newness of life when you’re wrapped up in your old grave-clothes right? That’s why we need God’s miracle makeover, not in some shallow external sense but in a deep, emotional spiritual sense.
Look looking your best is great, do you want to look your best? Sure you do, I do, mind you for me it’s not an obsession as it is for some but I like to look good. And yet at the same time you and I both know that looking good only goes so far to making you feel good. It has some impact but it doesn’t deal with the deeper issues that so often holds us back from this newness of life that Jesus promises.
There’s a process of transformation that we can go through to ditch the hang-ups and the sins of the past so that we can actually experience this fresh new life that Jesus promises to bring. Theologians call this process sanctification, I don’t much like that word, it feels to hoity toity for me. I prefer rehabilitation or restoration, being transformed little by little back into the image of our Creator and for most of us, certainly for me, that requires a series of not so minor miracles because there are things deep ingrained in our nature that we can’t deal with on our own, things that only God can deal with.
Chances are you have a bit of a handle on the things that are robbing you of this newness of life that Jesus came to bring you. With me it used to be anger and pride, that was my Achilles heel. Now you learn to live with it but you always realise it’s robbing you of life. You have your own brand of let’s call it sin, that’s what it is, sin that’s robbing you of your life and Jesus, my friend, Jesus came to set you free. Jesus came to give you an abundant life, Jesus came so that you could experience a newness of life that completely defies logic and understanding.
So let me ask you, do you want that newness of life? Do you want His miracle makeover to be happening in your life? Again the Apostle Paul puts it this way in Romans chapter 12, verse 2:
Don’t be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may discern what is the will of God, what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God for you.
We’re so well adjusted to our culture, to the reality TV aspirations of transformations that we kind of run like a bunch of lemmings off that cliff only to realise it doesn’t deliver what it promises. It’s time to stop conforming, it’s time to stop letting the world and its flawed thinking squeeze you into its mould.
Listen, the only mould that you are ever going to fit into comfortably is the one God made for you. We’re never going to fit into the worlds mould right? Paul’s saying, in fact God’s saying to us here through Paul, come on stop trying to do that, it won’t work, instead go for total transformation, have a deep change of mind here, stop chasing after all the worlds failed systems and thinking and lay hold of God’s good and acceptable and perfect will for you and that’s where you’re going to find transformation.
There needs to be some new thinking here, there needs to be a change in focus from the world’s plan for your life which we know is going to fail, to God’s plan for your life. If transformation is what you’re after, if a fresh start is what you’re after this is where you find it and that’s why we’re going to be kicking off this brand new series this week called God’s Miracle Makeover For You.