I encourage you to embrace change for God’s purposes
While we believers stand secure in God’s unchanging character, we need to deal with the reality of change in the world and within our personal lives. One of the many ironies of life is that while we may require others to change, we often think of ourselves as exempt. Although by nature we tend to resist change, it’s an inescapable part of life, especially the Christian life.
Sanctifying change is redemptive by nature; “now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Romans 6:22). Change is at the heart of sanctification, it’s the purpose of God’s Word, and it’s the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
We sometimes sing as worship, the words penned by Eddie Espinosa;
Change my heart oh God
Make it ever true
Change my heart oh God
May I be like You
While expressing a genuine heart attitude towards God, these words also speak of our need for change through sanctification. Certainly, change in our thoughts, our beliefs, and feelings, are the most difficult, yet they are also the most needed. Our internal reasoning is the arena of our greatest battles, with the greatest potential for resistance and pain. But change we must if we want to live like Christ!
Paul, having undergone enormous change, cut it straight with the Roman Church; “be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God” (Romans 12:2). He recognised the necessity of ongoing internal change as the path of testing and discovering God’s will. Its sad how often Christians set boundaries for this vital ministry, unconsciously informing God of what He can and cannot change within them.
Change Flows Out of Salvation
You see, salvation was the spiritual metamorphosis that entered us into a life where “we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV). This involves no small amount of growing pain as pride, ego, selfishness and inappropriate preferences are lovingly, yet determinately changed by the Holy Spirit. Resistance is futile. And rejection of this divine work of grace only proves that we were never redeemed in the first place, but we’re simply trying the ‘religious thing’ to see if it would give us what we wanted.
For the believer, we relinquish the role of deciding what should and should not change, and hand over that role to the Lord Jesus Christ. The choice is now out of our hands. We simply follow His lead, as He shows us in His Word, and convicts us by His Spirit. Often scary I agree, but necessary!
As humans, it’s all too easy to be “stiff-necked people,” who “resist the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51) as Israel has been guilty of. We do so to our peril, and to the demise of those who follow our example. Instead, as Christians; “the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
Today, embrace change for God’s purposes. Doing so will bring Him glory, will flood your soul with refreshment, and will lead others to greater blessing as they follow your example.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz