The Worship Quote of the Week for (10/16/2007):

Transformed Lives
Thankfully, our gracious God is in the process of transforming believers (Rom. 12:1-2) and perfecting us, shaping us more and more after the image of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 7:1). Today's WORSHIP QUOTE includes a portion of an eighteenth-century pastoral letter (George Whitefield) and a passage from Scripture; both talk about moving away from sin and moving towards God's kingdom values. In the excerpt from Colossians (which I have included without verse numbers), Paul uses the metaphor of clothing--taking off the old and putting on the new. Renewal takes time, and I suggest that faithful biblical worship is a crucial part in that transformation.

The renewal of our natures is a work of great importance. It is not to be done in a day. We have not only a new house to build up, but an old one to pull down. But then, methinks, this would be an odd way of reasoning, “Because a thing requires some pains, I therefore will never set about it.” No, Sir, rather up and be doing. Exert your utmost efforts at your first setting out, and take my word, your strength as well as resolution will increase daily. The means also which are necessary to be used in order to attain this end, our cursed adversary the devil would represent to us in the most hideous forms imaginable, But believe me, Sir, the difficulty here too, only lies in our first breaking from ourselves, and that there is really more pleasure in these formidable duties of self-denial and mortification, than in the highest indulgences of the greatest epicure upon earth.

— George Whitefield (1714-1770), Letters of Rev, George Whitefield, Letter VI to Mr. H, March 6, 1735. I notice that Whitefiled wrote this letter when he was twenty-one years old.

TAKING OFF AND PUTTING ON: Colossians 3:1-14
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

—Colossians 3:1-14, The Holy Bible: New International Version. Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1973, 1978, 1984.

Have a great week!

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

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