Change

on 9/12/2011

I've been thinking about the idea of change for months now. I've essentially stumbled upon (by God's grace) one of the greatest realities of Christianity. Like most revelations, this is obvious and old news to many people, but it's essentially new and exciting to me. So I want to share it with you.

For her birthday I got my wife a card that basically said I'm a lucky man to have my life. This is true, and while she's wonderful, I have to give God all the glory for my life. However, there are numerous things I would change. I would change where we live, for example. My point is that when I think about change, my first thought goes to things outside myself, and things that I could change through my own efforts.

But there is another type of change, one that I've discovered and find far more exciting, and that's the change that's occurring in me. I'm sure I've touched on this before, but today let's discuss it in greater detail.

Let's start with some verses that clearly say God expects us to change.

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2)

"For whom he (God) did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29)

God wants change and God wants a certain kind of change. God wants us to change according to a certain image, the image of Jesus Christ. Let's face it, that sounds a little crazy. A few months ago I passed a guy walking down the sidewalk obviously dressed and adorned to look like Jesus. But I don't believe that's what God's talking about when He tells us to change. We change on the inside. We change by renewing our minds to God's Word and by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us.

But let's just talk about this on a very simple level, and hopefully you'll catch some of my excitement.

I've wanted to change certain aspects of myself for years. Some people don't care how they feel or how they act, but I do. I want to be pleasing to God. David said, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight o Lord." (Psalm 19:4) I don't just want to act right, but I want to feel right and think right. Philippians 2:13 says God will empower us both to do and to want to do those things that please Him. That's what I want.

Men, I hope you know what I'm talking about. We don't want to lose our temper. We don't want to look at women. We don't want to say ugly things. Therefore we begin fighting against our minds and our bodies. We seek to control them and deny them. We still want to say certain things or look at certain things, but we know we shouldn't so we work to avoid such behavior. But then when we inevitably fail we feel terrible.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, I believe God appreciates all our efforts to live according to His Word. But what if we could change? I mean what if we could completely and fundamentally change so that we didn't feel that way or want those things? What if it wasn't a struggle to act correctly or speak correctly? What if our natural (first, instinctive) response to anything was the one God approved and desired.

My friends, this is why I'm so excited, we can change. Or to put it more exactly, God can change us.

Let me first discuss the far-reaching implications of this reality. Maybe you don't like church, but that can change. You can come to love it. Maybe you regularly lose your temper, but that can change. You can come to be patient and peaceful. Maybe you still want sinful things or don't want certain Godly things, that can change too. Jesus said that His meat was to do His Father's will. What drove, sustained and excited Jesus was doing God's will. It can become that way for us too, if we allow God, by the Holy Spirit, to conform us to the image of Christ.

Now don't give into the devil's deception here, especially you young people. Don't picture yourself boring, wearing a white sheet and sandals. Don't picture yourself locked in church 12 hours a day while all your friends are having fun. The devil wants you to believe that being conformed to the image of Christ will ruin your life and end your good times. But he is a liar and the father of all lies. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am so glad to know that the greatest peace and joy available in this life comes when one is conformed to the image of Christ and following Him. There are no limits, no boundaries, and no natural rules that can stop the person walking in the power of God. There is no end to the wisdom and revelation that will bless you. There is no chill to the warmth of God's love that will invigorate you. In short, it is a new type of life that maybe you haven't felt, but it's there, available and wonderful.

I'm not saying I walk in this full measure. I'm just praising God that I see these truths. Now the trick, or the requirement, is that I be willing to lay down my life so that I can take up His kind of life. Glory to God. That can be difficult, but for the joy that was set before Jesus He endured the cross. We must do likewise, as this process of change conforms us to His image and radically changes us.

Spend time in prayer, especially praying in tongues. Spend time in God's Word. You've probably read it already, it's time to actually meditate and seek revelation. Draw closer to God and He will draw closer to you. Pray that God would change you and make you like Jesus, as His Word says He desires. God will never fail you. If you press in and let go then you will find this change, and you will never want to go back.

"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)

That's a powerful verse, but it won't just happen. If it did then the entire world would be different. Meditate that verse, study it, ask God to make it a reality in your life. It's time for change. And once you've changed on the inside, there are truly no limits to the changes God will help you make on the outside.

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