ABCs of Transformation Series: Freedom—As Simple as ABC
by Rolfe Carawan, MEd and Lea Carawan, MA on March 13th, 2023
Adapted from the Transformed Living Blog
How often have you heard someone say, “I have asked Jesus so many times to change me! And yet, no matter how hard I try, I am still stuck. It’s exhausting!”? How often have you experienced that feeling yourself? We hear of God’s miraculous power; we hear testimonies of how God instantly delivered someone from X, Y, and Z; and yet, that isn’t everyone’s experience.
How many of us have jumped through all the hoops we were told to jump through, but are still bound and enslaved to unwanted thoughts and behaviors? With every successive attempt and failure, hope is diminished. Thankfully, God is generous and loving, providing continued opportunities and pathways forward in our life journey. Let’s unpack three elements that contribute to real and lasting change—the ABCs of Transformation.
Consider Saul before he became Paul. Before his fateful trip to Damascus and conversation with Jesus, he behaved according to his deeply held belief that Jesus and all His followers were a threat to the true God; however, when God revealed the truth to him on the way to Damascus, everything changed! And we see his radical change. The power of some revelations can move us in a new direction. It can change everything. The “A-ha” is the first element in the ABCs, and it is often the first step, although not always enough for real transformation.
At times, there is something else keeping us from being able to align our behaviors with our new beliefs. Spiritual strongholds may have formed, and it is here that we need “Breaking free” by the power of the Spirit, the B in the ABCs. Scripture tells us that, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4–5 NIV).
A third powerful component of the ABCs is the “Commitment to change.” In James, we are instructed to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22 ESV). James explains why we need to choose to do the right thing because “whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (James 4:17 ESV). We have a role to play in our own transformation. It is by engaging our wills; however, willpower alone is not enough.
After his transformative moment, Paul cried out to the Lord in frustration because he continued to do the things he didn’t want to do and didn’t do the things he wanted to do. He committed to changing, but lacked the power in and of himself. Paul’s prospect of changing, as well as our own, is wholly dependent upon the grace of God as offered through Jesus. Yes, you read that correctly—God is the One who changes us!
Every part of the transformation process is dependent on God’s grace. When walking with another person through their personal epiphanies, we find it helpful to ask questions that uncover their understanding of God and the role of God’s grace in their change process. We might ask questions such as, “What do you need to hear from God about ______?” “If He said _____, how would that change things for you?”
It is God’s grace that conforms us into “the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29 ESV). Remember, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV). The One who made us can be trusted to transform us progressively and decisively.
So, as we come alongside others to cooperate with what God is doing by His grace, let us go forward in confidence that “he who began a good work” (Philippians 1:6 ESV) in us will complete it, “to the praise of his glorious grace” (Ephesians 1:6 ESV).
Rolfe Carawan, MEd, is the President of LifeMatters Ministries, which focuses on discipleship, Biblical principles, and tackling relevant issues of our times, as well as the cofounder of Carawan Global Group. Inspired by his passion to relieve suffering and release potential, Rolfe brings his real-world experience and strategies to individuals in all walks of life. Known for his contagious enthusiasm, his coaching draws out the best in people, igniting a renewal of energy, engagement, and productivity, as well as successfully transitioning people through change, transforming human behavior, strengthening relationships, and overcoming generational gaps. His winning strategies have been developed over 30 years of successfully coaching, training, and motivating people. Speaking to organizations ranging from Fortune 500 and high-tech companies to healthcare and nonprofits, Rolfe has spoken to nearly a million people throughout America, as well as audiences on four continents. He is an author (Profiles in Character and Character Revolution), teacher, coach, trained counselor, and uses experiential learning methods to create healthier relationships at home and work, effectively implement change, and strengthen communication. Rolfe is passionately committed to discipleship and helping people through the process of creating lasting change. He, along with his wife Lea, established Transformed Living. Rolfe has worked and volunteered his services in Brazil, Ghana, Israel, Ukraine, Russia, Canada, and Mexico. He is currently on the Board of Reference for the International Christian Coaching Institute (ICCI) and is a certified DiSC Behavior Assessment Trainer and Certified Transformed Living Coach Trainer. See more at: www.transformedliving.org
Lea Carawan, MA, is the founder of Transformed Living, a ministry that provides Bible-based resources and services designed to make disciples who love God, walk in freedom, and build life-giving relationships at home, work, and play. She and her husband, Rolfe, built a successful speaking, coaching, and consulting firm serving organizations ranging from Fortune 500 and high-tech companies to healthcare and nonprofits. For nearly 20 years, they helped leaders implement winning strategies that brought out the best in people. Lea was the cofounder and served as the Executive Director for the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation. For over a decade, she led the effort to equip and mobilize the largest network of federal and state elected leaders—nearly 100 sitting members of Congress and 900 state legislators—who are committed to standing for faith and implementing proactive strategies to advance religious freedom, prayer, and America’s Judeo-Christian heritage. She is a speaker, consultant, ordained minister, and multi-certified life, relationship, and spiritual formation coach and trainer. With a career spanning three decades, Lea has transitioned seamlessly between entrepreneurship, fashion, consulting, ministry, and motherhood. Lea has been a frequent speaker at women’s meetings, conferences, and marriage retreats around the world, including countries such as Brazil, Ukraine, and the United Arab Emirates. Lea is currently on the Board of Reference for the International Christian Coaching Institute (ICCI) and a Certified Transformed Living Coach Trainer. See more at: www.transformedliving.org