Sunday, October 26, 2008

~I'm Changing~

"In the Lord's name, I tell you this. Do not continue living like those who do not believe. Their thoughts are worth nothing. They do not understand, and they know nothing, because they refuse to listen. So they cannot have the life that God gives. They have lost all feeling of shame, and they use their lives for doing evil. They continually want to do all kinds of evil. But what you learned in Christ was not like this." ~ Ephesians 4:17-20

Do you believe that God changes people?

In principle it’s easy to say that God can work on anyone, but it gets risky to say He can transform the people you know. Then it’s personal. Can God change people in your family and in your church? Have you ever met up with someone you hadn’t seen in a while, and they seem different—in a good way? That’s God at work.

Is God changing you? Are you the same person you were 2 or 5 or 10 years ago? Think about a habit or a character issue that used to be a serious struggle. Is it still a battle, or have you seen victory over it? If you can point to something specific and say, "That used to be a problem for me, but it’s not anymore," then praise God! He’s changing you!

The apostle Paul offered the same encouragement to the followers of Christ at Ephesus. He drew a line and said, "Do not continue living like those who do not believe. . . .But what you learned in Christ was not like this!" (Ephesians 4:17, 20). In your days before salvation, you had no choice but to "walk the way Gentiles do." You may have been involved in any number of dark things. But, according to Ephesians 4:17, your life shouldn’t be like that anymore. Once you’ve come to Christ, you’re on a different road.

I believe that people change first when they admit their need to change and then when they identify and articulate specific areas on which to focus. Let me ask you to do this: Name three things that God is working on in you right now. Ready?

Do you have an answer? If you had to make up a scenario, or couldn’t think of anything specific, then you’re not taking seriously God’s offer to make you more godly. Change is not some mystical something that descends on you while you’re eating breakfast. Change happens because you see your sinful tendencies and allow God access to your will. Then you can yield to His Spirit when you come to those forks in the road when that inclination in your old nature is to do wrong. You can choose to turn around and act differently.

It is the grace of our long-suffering God at work in you and me that transforms us day by day. It’s an amazing testimony to His mercy that He keeps coming after us, pointing out the things that keep us from knowing the fullness of His joy. Ephesians 4:22-24 continues the process, "You were taught to leave your old self—to stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self becomes worse, because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do. But you were taught to be made new in your hearts, to become a new person. That new person is made to be like God—made to be truly good and holy." That’s the goal we’re going after—changed to be more like Him.

Devotion ~ Dr. James McDonald

Hope you all had a blessed, restful Sunday!


Debra said...

Cheryl Kay,

Praise the Lord ~ what a Spirit filled post! There are so many things that the world and we can argue with each other about but THE CHANGE that Jesus makes in us is undeniable when we will truly yield.

Very convicting post, my friend. I'm a richer person for being here. Blessings to you!

Tracy said...

Wow! What a powerful post. Got me thinking tonight, and that's a good thing. When God is at work in our lives, we are constantly changing (for the better) and those changes should be perceptible by those around us.
The song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "The Change" (one of my favorites) speaks about this same thing. Thanks again for sharing. I love James McDonald's teaching!


Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Oh Cheryl,
You'll never know how much I needed to read this! How beautiful and it's something I will think on... in the days to come.
Change me Lord!!!
I want whatever the Lord wants of me.... all of me.
Blessings Cheryl!
hey, what kind of bible do you use... is that from the message?
Please reply, I'm really curious!

Counting Your Blessings said...

Praising God for the changes He's made in me and the blessings He's given me! And though I worry about my children now, I know that He promises if I train them up in Him, they will not depart from it.

Thanks for a great post.

Blessings... Polly

Laurie Ann said...

What a great devotion! God is changing me. He is dealing with my heart on a specific issue right now and I'm so glad I'm clay in His handsd and not some hard piece of rock.

Denise said...

This is such an amazing post, thanks for touching my heart.