To Be Changed
May 20, 2016
2 Corinthians 3:16-18 (NLT) But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 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.
I am ready for change. I feel the pressure for release. The anticipation of that which is coming moving the now out of the way to embrace the future. The Lord is always working in us to increase borders and enlarge territories. He lovingly and gently presses our humanity out of the way to make room for more of His Spirit. Will I relent? Will I succumb to the pressure? Will I turn into that which I am called and created to be by the divine direction of God? Sometimes it is demanding situation or unfortunate situations that give us a desire for change due to desperation. Other times, it is mundane mediocrity that leaves us empty and searching for more due to a lack of fulfillment or chronic dissatisfaction which causes us to test the doors and challenge each barrier in our life. There is more to life than this but only in Jesus Christ.
When the scale creeps past an acceptable number and my clothes begin to get tight, I diet. If I need to clear my mind, I go for a walk. If spending begins to drain my account, I follow a budget. Every adverse reaction in life can be changed by an opposite action. Human beings are powerful in creation and design. The flaw in our development is one thing – sin. It is a general term that covers every fault and failure produced in our life. Our downfall is not to be blamed on others but we must take full responsibility for those unacceptable things in our life and do that which is necessary to be changed. For many years, my sister weighed closed to 300 lbs. She is a beautiful woman inside and out but the burden of obesity was taking a toll on her life. It was limiting her from doing the things that she wanted to do so she decided to make a change. She began dieting, exercising and even running. Over the course of time, she lost an amazing 110 lbs. and has managed to keep it off. She did it with willpower but also relying on the Power of God living in her to change the things in her heart and mind necessary to make better choices. What is the “weight” in your life today? Those things keeping you from changing or being changed by the Lord to step out and achieve that which He has called you and ordained you to do. How do I facilitate change in my life?
Hebrews 12:1-4 (NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
What is the “weight” that is slowing me down today? Sin will always be the first culprit in heaviness and burden in our life. The idea that there is something, anything that God is not capable and willing to handle for us is a lie that traps many and steals freedom from a believer. It’s a trap of the enemy to keep God’s People in their weakness rather than relying on God’s Strength and Power to change us from the inside out. Jesus is our Champion. There is nothing that I need to do other than keep my eyes on the Lord and follow Him to live in the fullness offered to those who live for God’s Glory. God’s Grace is enough for me. It is sufficient for you. (2 Corinthians 12:9) If grace was a one-time deal, there would be no need for new mercy each day. (Lamentations 3:22-23) However, the Lord releases new mercy each day which means the acceptance of God’s Grace and living by faith is a process and quest rather than just an overnight sensation as some would like us to think. To be changed, I must only release one more weight and burden to the Lord and take one step deeper in His Presence and closer to His Side. The only thing standing between me and Jesus will always be sin. Apart from sin, I am free. Completely free and totally welcomed into God’s Presence to experience His Glory.
I Samuel 10:5-7; 10:9 (NLT)
When you arrive at Gibeah of God, where the garrison of the Philistines is located, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the place of worship. They will be playing a harp, a tambourine, a flute, and a lyre, and they will be prophesying. At that time the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person. After these signs take place, do what must be done, for God is with you.
As Saul turned and started to leave, God gave him a new heart, and all Samuel’s signs were fulfilled that day.
Samuel had just anointed Saul as the ruler over Israel. Immediately following this ordination, Samuel instructed Saul under the anointing of God. He told Saul “at that time the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you.” He went on to tell him, “you will be changed into a different person.” Encouraging Saul, “God is with you.” In verse 10, the process by which the Holy Spirit begins to change us is clearly defined in just two simple steps. He “turned and started to leave.” In that moment, God gave Saul a new heart and complete fulfillment “that day”.
Do you desire change in your life today? Not just a temporary change or momentary relief of those burdens that are weighing you down, but complete fulfillment from the Lord? It is possible. You can have it. There are only two steps required and demonstrated by Saul. Though they may seem hidden, they are jumping off the page as the Lord yells, “Hey, look over here. I am doing something. It is bigger than you can comprehend and far greater than you ever imagined.” Are you ready? The two things needed to completely change your life forever are repentance and faith. Are you letdown by this ideas? Well so was the young man who had many things and no interest in selling them and giving to the poor so he turned from Jesus and went his own way.
If we break down these two ideas of repentance and faith, they become practical. To repent means to turn. In Hebrews 12:4, we are reminded that we have “not yet given our lives in the struggle with sin.” It’s true. No matter how hard we try not to sin, we still do. (Romans 7:21-25) If it is not possible to completely rid our life of sin, what is the point? Repentance is a process not a project. A project is defined by completion, but repentance is a process which remains ongoing. This is good news because it means no matter how many times I mess up, if I remain committed to change – it will happen. Not overnight, but day by day as He promised. When Saul turned, God changed his heart. Are you struggling today to make a heart change? Do you want more of God but don’t know where to find Him? Just begin to repent. Decide today that there is one thing you will avoid and do differently simply because it is contrary to God’s Word. Surrender that one sin to the Lord and do everything you can to turn from it avoiding it at all costs. God will honor your faithfulness. He will reveal more of His Kind and Compassionate nature in this one thing so you will become confident in taking the next step to turn one more thing over. We must repent or turn our life over to the Lord beginning with sin.
Acts 2:38 (NLT) Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Daily repentance and commitment to turn from anything that is offensive to the Lord is the process of salvation. Not motivated by fear, but freedom. Love is a free gift that no one can produce for themselves. I must love Jesus. It must be my motivation for change or I am not changing into His Likeness as His Child but instead an impostor.
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.
True circumcision is a change of heart produced by the Holy Spirit. If only we would commit an equal amount of time to our relationship with Jesus as we do to religion then we would see the marked change that we desire and long for. I can do nothing to save myself. In fact, I can do nothing of worth apart from Jesus Christ. The Spirit of the Lord lives inside of me. By repenting and turning our life daily to the Lord, we allow His Spirit total access to every area of our life for recreation, renewal and full restoration according to the same resurrection power that brought Jesus to life again. Do you feel alive today? Would you like to experience God’s Power? Let the Holy Spirit write God’s Love on your heart fresh and new today. Just turn and He is there.
Philippians 3:17-21(NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
You’ve got to start somewhere. In I Samuel 10:9, Saul didn’t just turn but he started. What are you waiting for? Are you afraid? Apprehensive? Unsure? What is keeping you from just one step of faith? The starting line is faith. The finish line is called hope. Faith shows that we believe in what we hope for to run the race without seeing the finish line first. (Hebrews 11:1) I don’t even know where it is I just believe that if I run the course, I will arrive there at some point. Saul didn’t just turn but he started. Hebrews 11:6 indicates it is impossible to please God. Faith is a movement that requires motion rather than emotion. (James 2:17-18) If doesn’t matter how loud I profess that I believe, if I do nothing I am only fooling myself. “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.” (Hebrews 10:37-39)
Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT) I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
For those who do not know the story of Saul, he would forfeit his crown to David due to disobedience. Funny how that happens sometimes. We think we are following the Lord but somehow become distracted, disillusioned or detoured. There is the idea in the church today that grace is all we need to see the Lord. Live how you want. Do what you want. Go in any direction that you see fit. You don’t have to follow Jesus to get into heaven. Everyone gets a trophy for just playing the game. No, no, no.
Many, many, too many years ago, my dad and I went to see our favorite football team play in a bowl game. It was the first time I attended a college football game. We stood the entire time. The game was close and exciting. When the fourth quarter timer ran out, the score was tied. Everyone began to gather their things and leave the stands, the roaring crowd was now silent. I didn’t know that the rules didn’t allow for overtime. The game ended in a tie. I have never been so disappointed. After all that, nothing. No winner. No loser. Just a bunch of frustrated and letdown people, I cannot imagine how the players felt after laying their lives down on the field and fighting to the finish to discover that there would be no celebration of victory or agony of defeat. It was as if we all just wasted, three hours of our life. Life doesn’t end in a tie. Everyone does not get a trophy for participating. You live forever or die eternally. There is a prize but it requires change now. Just as those kids had to practice and win many games before the bowl game, we live our daily life to the Glory of God to see Him face-to-face. There is not a wasted moment. No effort to turn and repent or start walking by faith is overlooked or discrediting as small or insufficient. Each one is heavily rewarded as His Glory is manifested in our life. Ready for change today? Will you turn? Repentance removes the barriers of our life and allowing us to face Jesus just a little more. Faith is the steps through life to get to where He is. You have to start somewhere. You must begin sometime. Why not today? I am ready for change. Lord, I am ready to be changed.
Philippians 1:10-11 (NLT) For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ[a]—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.