Wouldn't it be nice if God simply gave us everything our hearts desired? After all what better way to show people that He is a loving God than to grant their every request. I want to marry this lady; zap, it happens. I want this job, zap, I have it. I want to win the lottery, zap, time to go to the bank.
While it might seem to be wonderful for God to simply answer all our requests we know that it is not the best thing. All we have to do is remember that spoiled child we have run into. You know the one whose parents never say no and give him or her everything they want. That child is not better off because he or she gets their way. It could be argued that they are put at a disadvantage since they never able to learn how to work for or save for something they want.
Even before sin came into the world God intended for man to work and not simply given what he wanted. It is through this process of obedience and toil that we are able to grow in a relationship with God, becoming more and more of what He wants us to be. God isn't interested in making us simply happy; He wants to make us holy. If you come to God hoping to be made happy you will be disappointed. Happiness is not the goal, rather it is the product of the holiness we have.
Transformation doesn't happen by God zapping change into our lives. Transformation is a process, and it is process we have to choose to be a part of. If we are unwilling to participate in the process God is unable to transform us. Think about what Erwin McManus wrote in Stand Against The Wind:
If Rome wasn't built in a day, neither is character formed in one moment. There is a process in our becoming all that God created us to be. This is the human side of divine change. Transformation is both the miracle of God and the stewardship of man. Godliness is a result of both divine activity and human action. God promises to do what we cannot do ourselves, and He commands us to do that which He will not do for us. There is both miracle and responsibility. God entrusts us with His resources, and then He holds us accountable for what we do with them. (p. 46)
It is true that God has given us a new heart when we trusted in Jesus to take away our sins and united our lives with Him through baptism. We cannot believe that is the end of the transformation process. The writers of the New Testament were concerned that their readers would be good stewards of what God has blessed us with.
Read how James says we are to be good stewards:
7 Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. 8 Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable, mourn, and cry. Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:7-10; ISV)
It appears that James expects his readers to do something in this transformation process. We are to submit to God, to resist the devil, to cleanse our hands, purify our hearts, and be humble. If we are not willing to change God will not change us.
While we are to be good stewards of what God's blessings in our lives, including our new heart, it is still God who is responsible for the transformation. This is what the apostle Paul wrote:
Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. ~ Romans 12:2; NLTLet God transform you, the Apostle Paul writes. It appears to me that the process of transformation is just as important as the transformation itself. It is through this process of transformation that we ultimately learn faith and love. Just as if I were to take a pill that would remove 30 pounds of fat from my body might bring me down to my ideal weight but I will have missed out on gaining the discipline and work ethic that I need to stay there. While a pill would be nice, in the long run it is what I learn in process that really matters.
God's way is not my way. I want Him to zap me and remove all the temptation and all of the problems I have in my life. God wants me to love and trust Him, and allow Him to lead me through a process which will transform my life for eternity. To God, the process is just as important as the final result.