Monday, April 4, 2016

Allowing Change

   What makes someone a "great Christian?" Think of someone you would consider a great example of Christ. Do they have any combination of the following characteristics:


   Do you think that the person you're thinking of achieved all or some of those characteristics overnight? Absolutely not. We receive Christ in a moment when we accept His forgiveness. He begins to immediately work on those things in our hearts that do not reflect Him, but it requires a little effort on our part. We do not become a "great Christian" without sacrificing things in our lives and striving for that Christ-centered life.

   In Romans 12, we are called to "present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." (v. 1, NKJV) which includes our minds and our hearts, not just our physical bodies. Christ works in our minds and hearts, making them holy and acceptable like Himself. If the Creator of the universe sent His Son to save this group of dirty, sinful people, shouldn't we give our lives back to Him? God is waiting for us to turn to Him and say "Take what is holding me back from giving You my all. Change me completely." Jesus has a beautiful and fulfilling gift of a life with Him, but we have to accept it and the changes it will make in us.

   So... change scares me to a certain extent. I like having a plan, being organized, knowing what's coming up next so when one day (fairly recently, by the way), I felt the Lord telling me that He was changing me, I kind of freaked out a little bit. He wanted to redo me to become more and more like Him but I would have to allow Him to have that control, not knowing what was coming up next. It terrified me, but... I knew I had to: there was a deep, burning desire within me. I was scared, almost petrified. But I realized that if I wanted to be a "great" Christian, it would take a great sacrifice. So I told the Lord "Yes, change me. Go ahead. Take control and begin to change me to be more like You."

Best. Decision. Ever. 

   Yes, it's terrifying. Yes, it seems uncertain. Yes, I don't understand. Yes, I still struggle. But it's fine... God's got me, my family, my friends, my future, etc. Sure the change is still scary and different, but in so many good ways. I'm still me, but I am becoming a more Christ-like version of me. He has placed within me this incredible desire for more of Himself within my soul. When I first began to notice a difference, it almost blew me away. There is a satisfaction and peace in Him that I am finding. I want to read my Bible more. I want to pray for people daily. I want to encourage others and spread His love more than ever. Any opportunities He gives, I want to take, even if they scare the living daylights out of me.

   Nothing in this world can compare to the incredible life in Jesus. Anything this world offers cannot compare to that moment when you realize Christ is all you ever want. You may still love those things and talk about them, but they don't hold a piece of your heart anymore... that's where only Jesus resides. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2 (NKJV).


   It would be so easy to let this all slip away. God is never going to let me go, but I could easily let go of Him. There are so many opportunities daily to turn away from this Christian walk and follow the world. I'm not talking about just the larger things, like turning away from our faith and denying Christ. This includes even the small things: role models, types of music, movies/TV shows, daily conversations, things we read, etc. The littlest things make the greatest impacts and those are the things that the devil uses to turn us slowly away from our walks with Christ.

   I'm not telling you to become a hermit and live in silence away from the world, but we have to work at this - if we neglect this gift of life in Christ, it will disappear. Our "Jesus-ness" will fade from our lives. It's like when you spend a lot of time with someone, you begin to pick up on their characteristics. I have a few friends like this: after talking with my one friend who lives down south, I always start to say "ya'll" and everyone knows who I was talking to recently. It's the same with Christ. We ask Him to change us and make our lives more pleasing to Him, but if we don't work at it, it will not last. It requires a sacrifice of time and energy on our parts. It takes work. The reward is worth every moment of effort.

   Look again at the list of characteristics at the beginning of this post. Do you need help with one of the in particular? Do you need all of them? You're in good company. No one possesses every single one, but that's why we need God to continually remake us.

   Lord, change me. Make me more Christ-like. Show me the rewards of the sacrifice. Give a me a deep desire to strive after a life with You.


Spirit of the Living God, 
Fall fresh on me. 
Spirit of the Living God, 
Fall fresh on me. 
Melt me, mold me, 
Fill me, use me.
Spirit of the Living God,
Fall fresh on me.
- D. Iverson & L. Alexander, 1997

PS - I apologize for the lack of updates. I was wrapping up a semester by the end of February, then March was ridiculous with work. I will try to update a bit in April. I cannot promise anything as I am starting a new semester tomorrow (actually today), but I will try! 

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