Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Transformation: Catastrophic Drainage

Catastrophic drainage stands in direct contrast to gradual outpouring. While gradual outpouring is a slow almost imperceptible process best observed by looking over your shoulder, catastrophic drainage is like a train wreck! It creates serious issues and burning questions in your life. You are confronted with the terrible knowledge that you are wrong—sinful! It is a very painful time and most people avoid it at all costs.
And yet, it is a great opportunity for spiritual breakthrough. Notice the life of Saul, persecutor of the early church. His self-identity was built upon his embrace of the Pharisee’s version of Jewish faith. He was full of great zeal, and yet his zeal lacked knowledge. When Jesus confronted Saul it shook his identity to the core. If Jesus was not a blasphemer, but Lord, then everything in Saul’s life had to be reconsidered. Jesus leaves Saul blind for three days to do this painful work of reconsideration. Saul knew what he had done to Christians in God’s name. Did Saul also know at that point that “You reap what you sow?” If so, then he must have been preparing for the worst!
But when Ananias came, he came not with judgment but with an amazing offer of grace. “You will be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And he was. This began the transformation of Saul the Persecutor into Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles. This time of catastrophic drainage was followed, of course, by years of gradual outpouring, leading to the mature Paul who could write such amazing letters. The grace of God always produces great fruit in lives where it is accepted.
The result of catastrophic drainage in Paul’s life was to orient him from keeping rules to valuing relationships. His understanding of faith shifted from “his performance” to “God’s empowerment.” He valued people more than anything. No longer were people to be beaten into submission, rather they were to be loved and served into discipleship!
Saul died because of catastrophic drainage, but Paul was resurrected from the grave. And Paul “got it.” He knew that salvation is by grace through faith. He knew that love is greater even than hope and faith. He knew that without Jesus no one has a chance. He knew that by allowing Jesus free reign in your life, you will be more than you ever thought possible—your potential will be reached by becoming everything God dreamed you would be on the day you were created.

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