Miles tells us that he was driving in the car with his wife. They were in bumper to bumper traffic. He said he hadn't been paying much attention and he suddenly realized he probably wasn't in the fastest lane.
He wanted to be in the fastest lane, so that his wife wouldn't tell him which one was best first. So he observed all the lanes to determine which lane was moving the fastest.
We can observe in a person or in ourselves to determine if God's transforming power is taking place. We know we are being transformed if we are ready and willing to do what God asks, when He asks.
Three Characteristics of a Ready Christian
1. The transformed Christian stays focused on ministering to the needs of others. Mark 8:1-3
As you are being transformed you will become less focused on yourself and more focused on the needs of others. Your heart becomes more like Christ's heart. You will see people as Jesus sees them. The more you are molded the more sensitive you will become to other people. You'll start asking, "How can I help that person?" You will have discernment from the Lord. You become in tune with what others are going through. God will send people in your midst that He wants you to help.
You will no longer feel sorry for people, you will feel compassion for them. There is a difference. Compassion actually feels pain with a person.
Miles gave us a challenge to think of one person in our lives who needs God's touch or healing or help. He said to focus on just one person. Pray for that person right now, and pray for them all this week. Ask God for the opportunity to do something for that person. Or make the opportunity by giving them a call or doing something for them.
2. The transformed Christian honors God with their resources. Mark 8:5-9
Jesus was speaking to the multitudes when all realized everyone was hungry and there wasn't nearly enough food to feed four thousand people. In verse 5 Jesus asks the disciples, "How many loaves do you have?" Whenever Jesus asks a question, He always knows the answer. He asks questions for our benefit. He wants us to reflect on the question. We underestimate our resources. We underestimate the power of working together to share God's love.
If you are being transformed, you will desire to stop hanging on to what you have been given, and offer it to God. Trust in what God tells you to do. Give God anything you want blessed. When you invest in the kingdom of God, God invests in you. It comes back to you twenty, thirty, fifty fold. God fed 4000 people with seven loaves!
Many of us live in our own power and wisdom, so we reap the blessings of our own power and wisdom. Give it to God and His power and wisdom, and reap His blessings.
3. The transformed Christian commits all of their works to the Lord. Mark 8:5-9
What if we decided that for one week we would all work together for one purpose? There would be incredible power! It doesn't happen in churches because we complain and have problems with each other. Why did Jesus start the church? To transform lives, and to use those lives to reach other lives for Him. He chooses to use us, even though we are not perfect. But we can focus on the One Who is perfect, rather than trying to be perfect.
When Jesus asked the disciples to feed the multitude with seven loaves and a few small fish they did not believe there was enough. They did not know what would happen, but they did obey. Is it okay to question God about how He will do something? It's okay, but not in front of others. We don't want to spread doubt, we want to encourage more faith.
As the disciples obeyed Jesus, the miracle happened right through their own hands. Do what God asks in obedience even when you don't know what is going to happen. That's how you know you are being transformed, when you trust God and step out without seeing the end.
A transformed person says --
I'll do whatever You want me to do.
I'll give up whatever You want me to give up.
However uncomfortable and difficult it is, I'll do it.
Whatever I have to sacrifice to accomplish Your goal, I'll do it.
When you walk with God you won't always understand. He knows your future and He is guiding you and directing you. Trust Him and do what He says. And very importantly, pay attention to what He does when you obey.