June 17, 2011
We often say that people don’t change. We warn those in relationships of that very thing. If you are in a relationship and think that you can change that other person with your love and care and nurture, you are wrong. You will never change that person.
Same is true with friendships. If you are staying in relationship that causes you grief, but you stay because you think that something you will do will change them, you are wrong. You might as well raise up the white flag and abandon ship right now. You will never change anyone.
But, people do change. I’ve seen the most despicable sinful people become godly men and women seeking after the Father. People I would have long since given up on become more than I ever thought they would become. I’ve had to eat my words.
I’ve also seen people once seemingly on fire for God have an event or something happen in their lives and they are suddenly adrift out to sea to parts unknown.
Are you frustrated that you are not seeing the changes or transformation in your life that you so desire?
So what happens? What is it that changes a person for the good? Is it our own willpower? Is it developing good habits and doing all the right things? What creates change that is not just temporary?
True transformation always happens from the inside out and never when you are watching for it to happen.
I’ve been going to church for 50 years now. I’ve heard ‘be good’ preached from every possible standpoint that a preacher could preach it from. So for years I tried to do all the right things. Many were easy, but many were short lived. No matter how hard I tried I seemed to always slip back into previous behavior.
I tried to live by the rules, you know, the 10 commandments and the teachings of the New Testament. But what I have found is that even if I force myself through my own self control, that is just me forcing me to be a certain way. And honestly this means nothing. For me to force myself to be ‘good’ without transformation mean absolutely nothing! In II Corinthians 3 Paul refers to the 10 Commandments at the ministry that brought death, but that there is a better way, the ministry of the Spirit!
II Corinthians 3
7 Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 9 If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! .” CLICK HERE TO READ IN FULL CONTEXT
What God wants for us is true transformation, a glory that will last. With true transformation we will automatically choose the things that are best for us. We will automatically live by ‘the rules’ naturally without thinking about them because they are written on our hearts.
The Pharisees and Sadducees followed all the rules and made a great show of it, but they were not transformed. They were living a lie and were spiritually dead. The only people in the bible that Jesus appeared to have no compassion for, but only disdain, were those who appeared to be doing good while all the while not being transformed on the inside. In fact he was almost vicious towards them.
So today if we say to a person good and charming things while in our hearts we are seething with anger towards them, are we transformed or just ‘following the rules’? If we go to church every Sunday and volunteer to help whenever needed but dread it or almost worse, do it to gain praise from God and man, we are not transformed.
If you are living by the rules because you know that is what you are supposed to do and not naturally from the heart, you have fallen from grace. For to live by grace is to live by the spirit and the unction of the spirit, not by rules, not even the 10 commandments.
So what are we to do then? Live lawlessly? Yes! We are to live rooted and grounded in Jesus. Become best friends with the Holy Spirit. Read the Word of God with a passion. Then and only then will true transformation come. You will become like who you hang out with. The more time you spend with Jesus the more you will become like Him.
18So a previous physical regulation and command is cancelled because of its weakness and ineffectiveness and uselessness—
19For the Law never made anything perfect–but instead a better hope is introduced through which we [now] come close to God. .” CLICK HERE TO READ IN FULL CONTEXT
I have said this to many people, but that seems overwhelming to them, almost like giving them another law to live by. Spend time with Jesus – check. Read the Word – check. So what is the key here? How do we desire to live by grace? How do we desire to spend more time with Jesus? How do we desire to spend more time reading the Word?
The key is in the ONLY commandments of the New Testament. If you live by these then transformation will begin and you will live a godly life, a life of transformation.
27 And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.” CLICK HERE TO READ IN FULL CONTEXT
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 “You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. 17 “This I command you, that you love one another. CLICK HERE TO READ IN FULL CONTEXT
So how do we just arbitrarily start to love Jesus? How do we develop a love that compels us to spend time with someone? How do we truly love others?
It begins with the realization of just how much He first loved us. We are all attracted to healthy love. But this is no ordinary love. It is a love that transforms, heals, protects, elevates to royalty, prospers, vindicates, admonishes, promotes, prefers, favors, comforts, and on and on and on.
The very first step to transformation is to learn about Jesus’ love for you. Learn about the Fathers love for you. Look in the concordance of your bible or go to an online bible and search out the term ‘love’. Read and re-read about God’s love for you. Read with an open heart, accepting and receiving.
As you soak in the reality of His love for you, you will begin to transform into a Jesus lover. Then you will want to spend time with Him. Then you will want to read the Word. Then love and joy will flood your heart and you will want to serve others.
Start today by seeking to learn more about His love for you.