A good friend once told me that the 18″ between your brain and your heart is the longest 18″ you’ll ever have to travel.
In my church and small group there is a saying: “Information leads to revelation which leads to transformation”. Essentially this means that just knowing and understanding God is not enough. You have to LIVE (like) God.
In the book of Philippians, Paul was writing from prison to the people of Philippi. He was writing to encourage them to continue their growth in Christ. Paul suffered many trials for being a disciple of Christ and he wanted the people of Phillipi to understand that there are bigger things going on than his struggles.
Throughout the book of Philippians, Paul talks about “Joy”. The joy of prayer, the joy of faith, the joy of new believers turning to Christ… Despite all the hardships Paul has endured, he still finds joy in everything. In Chapter 4 verse 4-5 Paul says this: 4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Paul tells us this after he reminds us in Chapter 2 of the importance of having the attitude (or mind) of Christ. This my friends is the transformation that I am speaking of. For me that transformation took my total mental, physical, and spiritual breakdown.
I was raised in the Catholic church and going to Catholic schools. I knew who God was, because they practically beat the knowledge into you. I had information. I also understood who God was, because of my morality. Once you know about God, you have an understanding of right and wrong, you have morality. The problem was that I had MY morality and that was not the same as God’s. I had revelation.
So here I am, walking around with the training and confidence of the United States Marine Corps, my own sense of morality, and a heart filled with pride. I was a very scary and dangerous weapon for the Enemy. Your own sense of morality combined with pride allows you to justify almost any action. You believe that you have control of almost every situation, or at least the belief that you can gain that control when you want it. This is completely and wholly contrary to the mind of Christ. Paul describes the goal best in Philippians 2:3-8.
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Until your revelation travels that 18″ from your brain to your heart, you can’t have transformation. Transformation like Paul is speaking of in the above text. Christ describes it to the extreme in Luke 14:25-35. In this text Christ is speaking to a large crowd that has been following him and he decides to let them really know the cost of transformation. Christ say’s: “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. 27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. Christ goes further to explain that to be a disciple it takes more than just knowledge, it takes commitment. The kind of commitment that can only come from surrendering your will to God’s Will.
What Christ is saying in Luke 14:25-35 is that as humans we will never be perfect, and we should hate that fact. Our goal, our yearning, should be Godly perfection. The only way we can achieve perfection is through dying to God. A popular way of saying this today is “Love the sinner, hate the sin”. This is easy to do intellectually, but very hard to do purely or spiritually, like Christ. Christ loved everyone, regardless of their position, actions, past, or even future because that is what God does. Christ just did these things as a human so we could see that, it is possible. I didn’t understand this until I was broken. God had to strip me of all my confidence and pride for me to understand that I was human. God had to break me to save me.
This doesn’t mean I am perfect, I fail everyday. However, now I hate that fact. I hate that I am human and susceptible to the temptations and enticements of the Enemy. I hate that I sometimes lose my temper, that I swear, that I covet nicer things, that sometimes I am not a good steward of the gifts God has given me. I hate all these things, but I know that because I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I am forgiven. I know that as long as I continue to turn towards God, I am saved and God is directing my heart. I know that I have been transformed.
Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Are you turning towards God and letting him direct your heart? Have you traveled that 18″ to Salvation? Have you been transformed?
If you would like to discuss this, please contact me. I am no preacher, but I can tell you my story and maybe that will help make your 18″ trip a little easier.