Tuesday, January 25, 2022

           While reading a devotion prepared by someone whom I do not know personally, I came across a question he asked.  Can God change your life?  That is a good question.  And it is a big question.  Most of you (if not all of you) reading my words would likely respond in a way something like this: Yes, of course, God can change anyone’s life.  And that answer, or some form of it, would be biblically correct and theologically accurate.  I could line up hundreds of millions, even billions, of people who would give you a comparable answer.  But answering this question in an affirmative fashion presumes a few preconditions have been satisfied.
            First, there is the assumption that we desire God.  Not everyone does.  Or, perhaps more accurately, not everyone is willing to invest in a relationship with God.  We may say we want a relationship and that we desire to know Him but we rarely read His Word (maybe never), rarely pray, seldom worship and routinely follow the nudging of our desires and interests more than seeking to obey Him.  To say that God can change our lives is a recognition that we have to make a place for God in our lives.  He offers that to us but does not compel us to love Him, obey Him or even walk with Him.  Remember Jesus said that not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21).
            Second, there is the assumption that we want to experience change in life.  Often, people prefer to add God to what they already possess or pursue.  Like a recipe, some folks will add a dash of God, a pinch of His ways and a cup of His Word.  We toss that in and add some Christian music to the mix and call it a conversion.  But, is it?  Remember Jesus called His first disciples to drop everything and leave behind all that they had ever known.  Can we really pinch, dash and cup our way to a faith that is lasting and real?  Adding Christ to what we already are and insisting that we will only make a few marginal changes is not a conversion.  It is a human concoction.  The call to Christ is to die to oneself and be born again to live for Him.  We often describe a conversion experience as being born again.  We die to all that we once knew or we once were so we could enjoy the new life Christ alone offers us.
            Third, there is the assumption that we are the ones to identify the areas of life that need change.  Frankly, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to illuminate our sins and failures and to show us the better way.  It is the work of the Spirit to shape and change us increasingly into the likeness of Christ.  Paul wrote about the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.  That fruit includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.  These values are the yardsticks or tape measures of our relationship with the Lord.  We look to the Spirit to spotlight the places that need maturity, growth and refinement.  We cannot look at our faith as we might look at a used car.  We might determine that a used car has a few dents and dings, some paint chips and more miles than we like but, well, at least it runs.  We never want to reduce our faith to an “at least” posture.  The Lord has more than that for us.  And, if we call ourselves by His Name, we owe Him much more than “at least” this or that.  We owe Him our lives. 
            So, back to the original question, can God change your life?  Most assuredly He can do that.  He can do exceedingly and abundantly more than all we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).  But for God to change us, we must hand Him the reigns, the keys and the controls.  The life of a disciple is becoming less and less of ourselves and more and more like Christ.  Perhaps, in recent days, more and more of you have started to break through and take control.  Today, cede control back to the Lord.  Let Him do His work of change and grace as only He can.  Have a great Tuesday!

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