How Can You Experience the Power That Drives Transformation?

You are here

How Can You Experience the Power That Drives Transformation?

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×

It advances earth-changing events. It transforms certain defeat into joyous victory. It energizes us with power at the least unlikely moment. It takes those who are hopeless and consumed with self-hatred and inexplicably fills them with new life and enduring strength. It never fails.

This complex, spiritually necessary, power-filled characteristic of God is known to us in English by a four-letter word: love.

All of us, from the least to the greatest, want and need more of it. We never have enough! It is often the sole difference between a tragic relationship and a highly successful bonding of minds and purpose. It allows us to forgive and even pray for those who harm us. A successful marriage and a vibrant family cannot exist without it.

It represents the very essence of Almighty God, for as the Bible reveals, God is love (1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version×
, 1 John 4:16 1 John 4:16And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.
American King James Version×
). Remarkably, love of God—redirected in the form of personal worship, admiration and emulation—embodies the first and greatest commandment that Jesus Christ gave each of us (Matthew 22:37-38 Matthew 22:37-38 [37] Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment.
American King James Version×
).

Far from a mushy sentiment, love often possesses the character of steel alloy. It gives us strength and comfort that leads directly to the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7 Philippians 4:7And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
American King James Version×
).

Unconditional love reflects a God of love

Love—the inexplicable power that makes things different and transforms lives—has been the subject of thousands upon thousands of songs, poems and narratives. People who are filled with love—particularly the love that comes from God and Jesus Christ—stand out. They attract others to themselves. We want to be around them.

As we read the Bible, the inspired Word of God, we may be surprised to find that while God freely gives lavishly of His love, He expects it to flow through us—we are to love one another in a profound capacity that seems impossible.

Love, unconditional concern that results in the unselfish setting of another's needs before our own, appears as the chief "fruit" —the outcome or result—of the inward presence of God's Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
American King James Version×
). As the apostle Paul tells us from across the ages, if we don't have real spiritual love, then we are as irritating noise, repositories of worthless knowledge, or reservoirs of failed prophecies (1 Corinthians 13). Without love, Paul asserts, we are "nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2 1 Corinthians 13:2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout).

God Himself sets the standard for unconditional and unfailing love. As we read, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×
). That verse is so common in Christian circles that it's easy to bypass its weighty meaning.

Readers of The Good News who are fathers or mothers themselves can have some sense of the degree of sacrifice that God Himself made. Amazingly, God allowed His creation—puny members of the human race—to torture and ultimately execute His only Son, all so that we could have undeserved reconciliation and a direct relationship with Him. That standard of love—making possible the undeserved gift of eternal life—represents the highest form of love known to humanity.

Powerful reminders of God's love

Ironically, it is in that ultimate sacrifice that humanity can not only receive love, but can also receive the astonishing capacity to love others! How is that capacity received? How do we learn to love another?

Here's a fact you may not have previously considered: God's annual biblical festivals are assemblies saturated with God's unfailing love for humanity!

How can ancient biblical festivals hold deep meaning of the power of transformation and God's love for us today? We invite you to reflect on these remarkable facts:

The writers of the New Testament clearly demonstrate how Jesus became the ultimate Passover lamb—the once-and-for-all atoning sacrifice for human sin—on the day of Passover, shortly before the beginning of the Days of Unleavened Bread. Paul told the Christians at the Greek trading harbor of Corinth that "Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
American King James Version×
)

At the moment of Jesus' death, when He fulfilled His role as our Passover—the ultimate sacrifice for sin—the Jerusalem temple's finely woven and heavy veil supernaturally ripped from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-51 Matthew 27:50-51 [50] Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. [51] And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
American King James Version×
). The priests present at that awe-inspiring moment would've been shocked beyond measure. Where the elaborate and impenetrable veil once hung, now they could see directly into the Holy of Holies, a chamber where previously only the High Priest was allowed to go once a year (Leviticus 16:1-2 Leviticus 16:1-2 [1] And the LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died; [2] And the LORD said to Moses, Speak to Aaron your brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is on the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud on the mercy seat.
American King James Version×
). Now, as the torn veil signified, direct access to God Himself was available!

Indeed, the very plan of God for humanity—outlined in powerful detail by God's annual festivals and Holy Days—advanced mightily in that very moment. Jesus, the foretold Messiah of Israel, at that instant became the "High Priest of the good things to come . . . Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption . . .

"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh . . . let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Hebrews 9:11-12 Hebrews 9:11-12 [11] But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; [12] Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
American King James Version×
; Hebrews 10:19-20 Hebrews 10:19-20 [19] Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, [20] By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
American King James Version×
).

Now, upon His miraculous resurrection three days and three nights later, the real work for us could begin!

Shortly before He was gruesomely tortured, subjected to a mock trial and summarily executed, Jesus gave every Christian a near-impossible command. In fact, the open fulfillment of this command was to be an identifying sign of His disciples. What was it?

While Jesus previously validated the power and authority of God's law of love as summarized in the two great commandments and the Ten Commandments (Matthew 5:17-20 Matthew 5:17-20 [17] Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. [18] For truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one stroke or one pronunciation mark shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. [19] Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I say to you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 19:17-19 Matthew 19:17-19 [17] And he said to him, Why call you me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if you will enter into life, keep the commandments. [18] He said to him, Which? Jesus said, You shall do no murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, [19] Honor your father and your mother: and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 22:37-40 Matthew 22:37-40 [37] Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
American King James Version×
), here He showed that the standard was His own example and that it must be demonstrated among His followers: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35 John 13:34-35 [34] A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. [35] By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
American King James Version×
).

Can we grasp this? As the clock was ticking down toward a series of prophetic events, all of which involved personal pain and outright agony, we find Jesus instructing His disciples that they must openly demonstrate godly unconditional spiritual love!

This is so important, so pivotal, so powerful for our personal salvation that God placed it first in the series of annual biblical observances that He expects all to discern and take part in. Jesus' sacrifice was the ultimate expression of love, as He told His disciples: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13 John 15:13Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
American King James Version×
). The Christian Passover then is saturated, even overflowing, with the love of God for each of us.

Renewing the capacity for love

As we move each year from the recognition of Jesus as our Passover to the next of God's festivals, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we again renew our powerful capacity for spiritual love. We do that through the recognition of personal character issues that lead to sin, which impedes our precious relationship with God. As Paul further instructed the Christians in Corinth, "Let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:8 1 Corinthians 5:8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
American King James Version×
).

Why would God use bread with no leaven—that is, no agent that causes the dough to rise in baking, such as yeast—as a symbol of spiritual transformation and require us to eat it for this seven-day period?

God's annual biblical festivals and Holy Days are disruptive. They require us to stop straight up in our daily habits and purposely consider where we stand in our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ.

The Bible points out how Christians prepare in advance for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They are to remove all leavened products from their living quarters.

Why? Because leaven over the course of these days biblically represents spreading sin and wrongful pride, an ungodly "puffed up" attitude of thinking that we're good enough and don't need God (1 Corinthians 5:2 1 Corinthians 5:2And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
American King James Version×
, 1 Corinthians 5:6 1 Corinthians 5:6Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
American King James Version×
). Paul explained that "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Corinthians 8:1 1 Corinthians 8:1Now as touching things offered to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies.
American King James Version×
, New International Version). And, as we saw earlier, we can have "all knowledge," but if we don't have love (the unconditional and unfailing love that comes from God), we are nothing.

So we heighten awareness of our never-ending capacity for sin and self-deception by physically cleaning our homes of leaven. While doing so, we can meditate on how easily we can embrace conceit and leave off important spiritual issues. Then, as we begin the actual Days of Unleavened Bread, we are physically and intimately reminded of this every day for seven days.

Instead of consuming regular leavened bread, we eat flatbreads and crackers that have no baked-in leaven. We are thus purposefully and directly reminded of the need to constantly be in an attitude of spiritual humility, surrendering our will, minds, thoughts and actions to God Himself, which is our "true and proper worship" (Romans 12:1 Romans 12:1I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
American King James Version×
, NIV). These days help us to recommit ourselves to surrendering to God and overcoming (Revelation 3:11-12 Revelation 3:11-12 [11] Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown. [12] Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write on him my new name.
American King James Version×
).

How do we show evidence of love?

So how do we know we possess and are exercising the very love of God in our lives? We must of course be obeying God's laws: "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments" (1 John 5:3 1 John 5:3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
American King James Version×
). But are we doing so in the full spirit and intent, following Jesus' own example? Let's see how the Bible describes unconditional spiritual love that comes from God in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 [4] Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity braggs not itself, is not puffed up, [5] Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; [6] Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; [7] Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
American King James Version×
(NIV):

• "Love is patient."

• "Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud."

• "It does not dishonor others."

• "It is not self-seeking."

• "It is not easily angered."

• "It keeps no record of wrongs."

• "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth."

• "It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

Do you reflect these godly attributes? No? Maybe some? Don't be discouraged. Read here God's promise to each of us: "Love never fails"! (1 Corinthians 13:8 1 Corinthians 13:8Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
American King James Version×
). Spiritual progress and overcoming remains our daily goal.

Given the human capacity to relax and slip a bit, is it any wonder why God lovingly created a whole series of festivals and Holy Days to regularly strengthen, refresh and remind us of His love and purpose for us?

Further, consider this critical fact: God's annual festivals and Holy Days possess real transformational power! They make the Bible come alive and show how you can tap what the Bible calls God's "incomparably great power for us who believe" (Ephesians 1:19 Ephesians 1:19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
American King James Version×
, NIV).

The Bible instructs us about seven different yearly festivals, and only two have been introduced here. We invite you to read and learn more. The next one, called Pentecost, holds particular importance for those interested in the power of love. Why? Because it is through the power of God's Holy Spirit—given at the inception of the New Testament Church on the day of Pentecost nearly 2,000 years ago—that we can bear the spiritual fruit of love! God's Spirit gives us the power to love as we are "transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2 Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
American King James Version×
).

The Bible was written for all mankind but also for you personally, and you need this critical knowledge. As Paul wrote long ago for us today, "Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13 1 Corinthians 13:13And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
American King James Version×
).

God already loves you unconditionally. Why not begin today to learn how to love Him back, thus receiving the wonderful and incomprehensible benefits of being in a direct relationship of unfailing love with your Father and your Elder Brother Jesus Christ? Yes, God's love drives real transformation. Begin to experience it today!