Monday, October 28, 2013

If He Can Change Me... He Can Change You

Struggle: If God can heal the sick, raise the dead, calm the sea, then why is he not making a difference in me?

Scripture Truth: 
"If we walk by the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh." Galatians 5:16

Truth Encounter: I had accepted Christ as Savior of my life as a young girl but I had not been very successful when it came to the things in life that tempted me most. I had tried living the Christian life but it had been more about me doing "what Jesus would do," instead of "being like Jesus.

As Paul would say, I had done most of the things a good "Christian" or "church worker" would do. In fact, most professing Christians are not really Christian at all but are individuals who are living in the flesh and are domesticated to look and act like Christians. In other words, I was able to act in, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control,(Galatians 5: 22-23), when it was beneficial to me. Even though I could produce something that appeared to be these things, they were not my character. In fact, as I examined my heart, I realized that much of my actions were works of the flesh such as idolatry, impurity, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, dissensions, divisions, envy, and the like, Galatians 5:19-24.  Instead of finding my joy, power, and strength in God, I found joy in things of the world, and I operated out of my power and strength rather than in God's.

This was not what I wanted. I wanted His majesty, power, and strength working in my life, empowering me to live the life he had called me to live. Scripture tells us that "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires,"(Gal. 5:24), and, "if we walk by the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh" (Gal.5:16). We cannot make this transformation on our own. 1 John 4:4 tells us that God's children can overcome temptations because "greater is he that is in us than he who is in the world." In other words "we abide in Christ and he abides in us" (John 15:1-8). This means that we cannot passively sit back and watch it happen; we must be intentional about being a follower of Jesus. 

How do we do this? We must make James 4:7 our focus for each day, "Submit to God, and resist the Devil." Each time I am tempted to sin, I have the choice to "take my thoughts captive in obedience to Christ," (2 Cor. 10:5), or obey Satan. I am learning to act and react to God's Word, His truths, and His promises. 

I am not perfect, and there are times that I fall desperately short of what God desires of me, but I praise God that I am not the woman I used to be. Daily, I resubmit my life to God and asks Him to change me, to mold me, to complete the work He began in me. As I have chosen to abide in Christ, he is transforming my mind. Instead of producing works in the flesh, the Holy Spirit is actually producing fruit of the Spirit in me and through me.  I am seeing his transforming power, splendor, and majesty at work inside me, changing the way I think. The things that once affected me, causing me to act and react in unChristian ways, do not have the same effect on me. 

It was truly like experiencing a miracle, not before my eyes, but in my mind and heart. And, for the first time, I knew that God was transforming me, because never before had I been able to deal the negative reactions that were triggered by my feelings. To God I give the glory.

I have been transparent concerning how my life was filled with works of the flesh. My prayer is that you will allow the Holy Spirit to begin a work in you. Will you take a moment to read Galatians 5:16-24. Ask God to reveal the things in your life that is not of him.  Ask God to change your heart to become like his. If He can change my heart, He can change yours.

I came across a song that a pastor used to lead a group of worshippers in Barbados as they prayed for God to change them. I had never heard it before but it touched my heart. The words of this song was the words of my prayer as I cried out to God, seeking transformation in my life. 

How has God changed your life? Share how great our God is and how Jesus has made a difference in your life.