“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
1 Peter 1:3
Some of us made the decision at a young age and others took the step in the middle of our adult life or even later. No matter when we make the decision when God comes into our lives it is life-changing and life-altering. This change affects every part of our being. Do me a favor, think about your personal story and the change you have seen in your life since that time. It might be a drastic turn from the old to the new or maybe a more gradual change over many years. Either way when God comes into our lives to be the center of all we have a heart change that is translated into a change of our attitude, moods, and soul.
For me, I accepted God into my life at a very early age and because of that, I don’t think I fully grasped what that decision meant at that time. Fortunately for me, over the years I have been given the opportunity better understand the true change accepting God brings to our lives by seeing that change in others close to me. I think it is extremely important to take the time to recognize the change that occurs in our lives so that we know who we were and who we are becoming. When I first believed, I thought the change in our lives who be automatic, I thought from the moment we made that decision our hearts would magically be changed. I thought that God would make us completely different in that instant but now I believe it is so much more magical than that. I believe that when we accept God, He opens our eyes to the greatness of His glory and grace, and because of that, we have the want to make the changes in our lives. We have the want to be closer to God and his plan for our lives. Instead of forcing the change on us, God gives us the ability to make the change for ourselves with His guidance. God plays the role of the parent in this equation, He shows us the make and then lets us do it for ourselves. In doing this we are given the strength and confidence to weather the world with the support of the Father. He wants us to make our own decision to love and follow His will without Him having to force it upon us. No one wanted to be loved because the other person “has to love them”.
The Bible is filled with many examples of people who were changed by the presence of God in their lives. First, we see the disciples who were just normal people, they were fishermen and tax collectors. They were nothing special and we actually looked down on in society but through their walk with Jesus, they learned from Him and learned the ways of God. Because of this, they became some of the best examples for us in the faith. Then there was Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus' closest friends. She was with Him through all of the hard times and all the way up to His crucifixion but when Jesus first met Mary had been cursed with evil spirits and was in need of healing. When God finds us we are in desperate need to be saved from ourselves and our sins but because of His love, we are able to heal and become great people of the faith. Lastly, we have one of my favorite examples and the most drastic change in the group. I am speaking of Saul who was killing Christian but through God's intervention on the road to Damascus became Paul the great missionary we read about in the last portion of the Bible. To me, Saul’s transformation into Paul speaks to God’s power to change everything in us. He can change our heart, soul, and life purpose with one simple word. Without God, we are heading down a road that only leads to death and destruction but the presence of God makes all the difference and leads us to fulfill our God-given purpose.
On top of the Biblical characters that illustrate this change, the Bible is also filled with verses that speak of the change. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” The old is completely gone and we have the ability to start over and be the people God has created us to be at the beginning of time. In this, we must actively fight the pull to fall back into who we used to be and pursue the new self. Although we might look the same on the outside, God gives us a new heart and a new outlook on life. Ezekiel 11:19 says it like this, “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Here we learn that our heart, spirit, and flesh are all changed to reflect the decision to follow God. We are given a second opportunity to see the world in a whole new way when we accept God. With this opportunity, we need to be trying hard to be the person that God created us to be. This takes work, it isn't just something that happens to us, we must be a part of it. In Revelations, we are told that we must be all in or we will be considered all out. Revelation 3:15-16 says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” We cannot love both God and the things of this world! That divides our attention and pulls us away from the true call in our lives.
I challenge you this week to think about the change that God has made in your life and what that really means to you. Are you accepting the changes that God is calling you in your life or are you fighting them? Are you trying to live in both the world and spirit? I encourage you to take a personal inventory of where you are and decided where you want to be. If you need any prayer in this process please reach out and we would gladly walk with you through this process. Let me end with this statement, we have to stop using our human nature as an excuse to continue to sin. Yes, we will fail and sin but we have to be putting real effort into changing and becoming the person God has called us to be.