It’s not easy to change. If you’ve tried to transform yourself, you know it’s difficult. But there are two things sure to bring transformation in your family, in your weaknesses, and in your life.
Those two things are the church and the cross, and they are the two greatest elements of transformation in the world.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it”
— Matthew 16:17-18
Simon was transformed to Peter. Simon means weak, like sand, but Peter means strong, like a rock. You see, the church has transformative power. It can change the weak to the strong. The shifting sand becomes rock solid when we get in church. If we continue, the church becomes an element of change in our lives and in our families.
In 1 Corinthians, chapter 6, Paul gives a horrible list of sins, from drunkenness to fornication, and then he says, “And such were some of you” (1 Cor. 6:11).
Yes, such were some of us. But then we got into church. We got washed, we got cleansed, we got baptized. And now we’re not who we used to be.
Through the church’s power of transformation, Simon becomes Peter. Saul the Persecutor becomes Paul the Apostle. Zacchaeus the Extortionist becomes Zacchaeus the Benefactor. The woman at the well transforms from a prostitute to an evangelist.
How did this happen? It happened through the transformative power of the Gospel and the church of Jesus Christ!
People come into church with all kinds of ugly messes in their lives. They come in one way — but they leave another. They come in messed up by life, but they leave a beautiful bride of Christ.
That’s what church does. It takes the weak and makes them strong. It takes the defeated and makes them victorious. It takes the hopeless and gives them hope again. If we get into church, there’s hope for our marriages, hope for our addiction, hope in our weakest places. The church is a powerful element of transformation.
But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, “Alas, master! For it was borrowed.” So the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” And he showed him the place. So he cut off a stick, and threw it in there; and he made the iron float.
— 2 Kings 6:5-6.
Let me tell you something about physics: iron is heavier than water. Iron’s nature is to sink to the depth of the water. I can imagine that iron ax head going down, past the turtles, past the catfish, on down to the mire and the muck. The mire starts covering it up, and it looks like it’s all over for that ax head.
But along comes a prophet. He breaks a branch off a tree — representing the tree where Jesus shed His blood on Calvary. He throws that tree in the area where the loss took place, and everything changed. The axe head started to shake off the mud and the dirt. It started heading up. It transformed from a sinker to a swimmer.
That’s the transformational power that comes through the cross. Our nature changes. Our direction changes. When we can’t get the mud and muck off of our lives, the cross will lift us up to a place of transformation.
Because of the cross, our destiny isn’t down, but up. Down is not your destiny. The muck and the mire can’t hold you. A mistake can’t defeat you. Thanks to the cross, you have access to power even death can’t defeat.
Are you struggling in some areas of your life? Have you tried to change but can’t do it on your own? Get into church and grab hold of the cross of Calvary.
The church and the cross will completely transform your life.
Pastor Jentezen Franklin is the Senior Pastor of Free Chapel, a multi-campus church. Each week his television program "Kingdom Connection" is broadcast on major networks all over the world. A New York Times best-selling author, Jentezen has written nine books including his most recent, "Love Like You’ve Never Been Hurt," the groundbreaking "Fasting" and "Right People-Right Place-Right Plan." Jentezen and his wife Cherise have been married 31 years, have five children and four grandchildren, and make their home in Gainesville, Georgia. To read more of his articles — Click Here Now.