2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NLT)
For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
A close friend expecting her third grandchild went to the hospital in the early evening ready to meet the little man. As the morning sun crept into the November sky, still no baby. Usually with subsequent deliveries, the sibling finds their way a little faster than the first but not him. He is stubbornly still waiting to make his grand arrival. So this morning, I woke up to a message to pray for change. It is time for the labor to become progressive for the safety of the mother and child. Stalled in the birth canal, his little heart is taxed by all the effort to make his first appearance. It is time for a change. We are praying for change. In fact, I have been praying for change for quite some time now. Not for this certain situation but in my own life. I know that this season is ending. It is as evident as the leaves falling from the trees that surround my house. Some days I embrace the thought, ready to make the leap of faith that will be required. On other days, I wonder if it will be worth the effort. By faith, I know that it is the Lord who is pressing my heart and making a way for the change that is coming. What must I do to be ready for a change?
Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is – there is freedom. Freedom to be all that God has preordained us to be. Freedom to live in the abundant provision of the One who supplies all of our needs with enough to share. Freedom from the oppressive weights called fear, worry, stress and anxiety. We were created to reflect the Glory f God. God makes the necessary changes in us so that we can do just that without changing a thing. We must only be willing to change. Willingness sounds so easy until it pushes us out of our comfort zone, pressing us to do more and persisting in eliminating compromise. The Spirit of the Lord is in us and He is intent on changing our life from the inside out. It is time for a change.
Romans 2:28-29 (NLT)
For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.
Religion produces an outward change that is manmade. A relationship with God through Jesus Christ produces a change of heart. God wants to give us the desires of our heart which will be consistent with His Word and Will concerning us because He will give His Children nothing less than the best. The Spirit of God living inside of us is a gift from Jesus Christ. It is the Spirit who takes the Word of God and cuts through the thickness and hardness imparted by the world to expose the things that were hidden there from creation. God created you with a good plan. It contains a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) He also planted Eternity in our heart which connects us to Him making us desire to be where God is. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) The only requirement is a change of heart. This is the most painful of all. We are stubborn and rebellious people bent on having our own way. So God in His Infinite Wisdom and Jesus in His Divine Grace have given us the Holy Spirit to work on changing us from the inside out.
Malachi 3:6-10 (NLT)
“I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed. Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?’ “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’
“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
The greatest characteristic of God that is most easily forgotten is the fact that He does not change. God is Sovereign. Stop and think about that for a moment. We are raised to believe that everything is subject to change. This is a true statement with God being the constant variable. Everything in our life will change except for God. God is perfect and so He is incapable of lying or changing His Mind. (Numbers 23:19) So why have I referenced Malachi 3 today? Isn’t it about tithes and offerings? Yes, it is. Human beings make the tithe about money. God makes the tithe and offering about our entire life. We cheat God in our promise to give Him our life even a tenth of it. But the Lord is challenging us to test Him today and submit our whole life as a tithe and offering including treasure, time and talent to see what He has planned for us. He promises to open the window of Heaven and pour out His Blessing in our life. All because we repented and stopped withholding our life from Him. Change comes with submission to God. As He changes the desires of our heart, the Lord will position us in our willing obedience to have all that He promised. Grace did not change the fact that God wants all of us, it enabled us to give Him what He wants.
I Peter 1:3-5 (NLT)
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
What if we dared believed enough in the Lord to allow Him to change our life even if it had nothing to do with our lifestyle? Would you be willing to accept the changes that the Lord is making in your life to receive a priceless inheritance rather than a healthy bank account? Would you be just as happy if it resulted in complete joy and peace with little monetary return? God is changing our heart to desire things that are beyond the reach of change and decay. He wants the Fruit of His Spirit to remain a constant in our life. God wants us to be saved. His Spirit works in us to make us strong enough to endure to the end. The Lord is not concerned with our finances. He gives us everything we need in abundance. Sometimes God will withhold finances from us, if He thinks it will hinder our process. If there is the slightest possibility it will take His Place then why would He give it? I believe that just as the Lord motivates us – He can manipulate the situation to keep us close to Him. For example, people around us may change. (Genesis 31:1-3), a battle may ensure (Exodus 13:17-18), our pattern of worship may change (Deuteronomy 12:8-11) and most of the time it is our attitude that must change from stubbornness to willingness (Jonah 4:1-3) It is seldom a surprise what God is doing. We have His Spirit who shares God’s Heart and Mind with us freely. (I Samuel 10:5-7) Change requires God’s Spirits so we know it is coming but are we ready for it to get here?
I Thessalonians 5:2-4 (NLT)
For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape. But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief.”
What changes are you experiencing in your life? What changes do you desire today? What is the Lord attempting to do that you may be squelching by unwillingness to change? If you were pregnant, would you stop the labor process when it is time for the baby to come? No, of course not. You welcome it along with the pain because you desire the promise attached. Willingly you will deliver that gift that has been given to you. I know, I have been there five times. I would not change the pain for a second because the promise was worth it. God is changing us to reflect His Image. It is a process that often is uncomfortable and even downright painful as we allow Him to change us from the inside out. It is worth it but as a reminder. In the third and final phase of labor called transition, it is not uncommon for a woman to decide that she is done, forget about it, the baby can stay forever because she is over it. Are you feeling that way today about your dreams and desires? Good! It means that you are closer than you think to fulfillment and soon the Lord will deliver that which you have been expecting! Don’t give up. It is time for a change.
Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.