Change

<<adjust, alter>>

Change is an essential component of the Christian life as we transition from sinners to saints. Paul wrote, “I am confident that God who began a good
work in you will carry it on to completion until we meet Him” (Phil 1:6).

Repentance requires change

Repentance is a change of heart, an about-turn. The old previous way of life was about me, how to cater to the desires of the flesh while the new way of life in Christ is about Him, how as a new creation I can serve and bring Him honour (1 Cor 10:31; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:8; Eph 2:3; Tit 3:3). It is only as we take ownership and apply the truth we can be changed.

 Am I being changed more into the        likeness of Jesus or of the world

Don’t let the world infiltrate and slowly change (lower) your beliefs, standards and commitment for the Lord. Whatever is of this world deteriorates, moving further from the divine standard and doesn’t bring lasting satisfaction (Mt 6:19).

Discipleship involves change

Repentance and following Christ will result in changed thoughts, attitudes, words and actions.  God will continue to change us inwardly as we ask Him to and obediently follow by responding to the Holy Spirit when He points out various things in our lives that need to be addressed.  However, if we make excuses to justify or rationalise our wrong the transformation He desires cannot take place.

The Holy Spirit aids change

One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of the need to change (Jn 16:8). This should lead to a decision backed up with an ongoing commitment to God’s personal transformation plan (Rom 12:2; Col 3:1-14). As it is a process, persistent effort and determination are required to bring this about. Discipleship, fellowship and study along with accountability to others are valid helps. “As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him…being conformed to the likeness of Jesus”
(Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 3:18).

The processes of change

Several important factors come into play as God begins to change us:

 1/. He often uses a crisis to get our attention. We won’t change till the pain becomes greater than the
fear to change.

 2/. When we confess to ourselves, God and (ideally) another significant person in our life that we have a problem. It is when we are open, honest and transparent about our weaknesses we can become spiritually healthy.

3/. When we are fully committed to persevere; ‘I’m sticking with this struggle till I benefit from it as I’m not running away’ i.e. taking ownership. Although we want instant release, the situation grew over a period of bad choices. It will take dedication and time to remedy.

 4/. We have to co-operate with what He wants to do in our lives. God does His deepest work in our identity – our concept of ourselves and self-esteem – i.e. how we view ourselves, as this influences how we will act. It is getting rid of the old self and putting on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness (Eph 4:22,23). We’ve all had painful life experiences and we all have incorrect beliefs about ourselves, others and God. Salvation should be the beginning of a lifetime transformation journey.

The nature of change

1/. Changing church, job, neighbourhood or even spouse will be futile if the problem is within us. Most problems are internal and this is where we need to center our efforts so confront the issues and have a change of heart. Although we may have little control over the situations and circumstances that buffet our lives we do have the choice as to our response to these trying factors in our lives. In fact, God arranges the affairs of our lives so we are given the opportunity to at least address our reaction to these events with the express purpose that we might learn and adjust what is wrong, display the fruit of the Spirit and become better people through the experience.

2/. If we are yielded to Christ, the present circumstance is the best instrument to shape us for eternity. There will be a time period between the process of change being set in action

       He doesn’t change but I should

and any visible difference; the situation might even get worse as it did with the Israelites (Ex 5:7-22). However, be confident that the final objective is to ‘present you faultless’ before God himself (Jud 1:24).

3/. As change brings uncertainty and apprehension, we should be firmly grounded in God and His word. It is a futile exercise to expose ourselves to the truth of the Bible if we do not put into practice what we read (Jas 1:23,24). Without some form of conflict or crisis, issues are seldom addressed, yet lasting change must come from within, not pressure from external sources. Don’t fight or run from these turning points but adapt and embrace them, in faith anticipating the benefit that will result. We choose if we see ourselves as a victim of the unavoidable challenge or a recipient of a positive opportunity to further develop our abilities.

Although we should be desirous of and assisting others to change, the emphasis should be us. Jesus said, how can we endeavour to take a speck out of another’s eye when we have a glaring great plank in our own eye (Mt 7:3-5). As Christians, we should be change agents for God and all that is wholesome so don’t resist good change; prepare for, adapt to and embrace it as appropriate, without jumping from one new fad to another. Everything has its positives and its drawbacks.

With truth people's minds can be changed, and their hearts and wills through prayer. 

God’s commands remain constant regardless of man’s changing values and morals. Sin is still sin and the penalty never changes.

See also: application, conviction, comfort zone, co-operation, crisis, desires, fear, motive/motivation, put off/put on, repentance, transform/transformation, unchangeable.

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