I love it when God says "Be!". We so often caricature him as unrelentingly saying "Do!", as if with a string impossible demands. But from the beginning, he has delighted in saying "Be".

"Let there be light!". And, wonder of wonders, light came into being.

So he says to us "Be holy. Like I am." Such an outrageous expectation. And he says, through the pen of the Apostle Paul, "Be transformed" (Romans 12:1). At first blush it seems such a burning obligation. It conveys an atmosphere of weight, for it is written in the imperative mood. But we need to hear not just the mood but the voice. Paul's words are in the passive voice. O the sound of that voice! There is none of the pressure of having to transform oneself. This is not something we have to do, but something that happens to us. We are transformed at the sound of that voice.

When he speaks, creativity is unleashed. When he says, "Be", things come into being. "You must be born again!" It's an absolute necessity, but the impossibility of it takes the pressure off it. Nicodemus knew he couldn't do it, but Jesus reassured him in John 3 that the Spirit that was hovering over the nothingness at the beginning of time is the same Spirit that is blowing and breathing the word that speaks a new creation into being. Being born again is not something we have to do; it is something that happens to us.

Like every true beginning since the beginning of time, the Christian life begins this way. And it is vital that we see that we must continue and end as we began. It is all of the Spirit and the Word from beginning to end. In the middle we must BE transformed. How? It's what happens to us by the renewing of our mind as the Spirit breathes into the Word. And at that end we will BE holy. We will BE like him when we see him as he is. In a moment of time, we shall all BE changed.

The Christian life is not a 12-step self-improvement program. There is no ladder to climb with a long list of things we must DO in order to arrive in heaven. Yes - the Bible is full of commandments and instructions. But the voice that spoke those Laws is the same voice that spoke the stars into being. And by the Spirit his voice continues to carry the same creative power. When 'I am' says "BE", we are.

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