encouragement

Change

“How can I not be changed, When Your Spirit’s in this place, How can I not be moved, When You’re all, when You’re all around me”  ‘Changing Me’ by Anna Golden

Are you looking for a change in your life? Like real change? Are you looking for a transformation in your character, in your mind, in your heart, in your life? Time and time again, I have gotten caught up in believing that I needed to change myself, and it is so easy to get caught up in that whirlwind. There are so many self-help books that will show us what to do and how to do it and how “you can be “fixed” in X amount of days”.  

But the issue with Self-Help is that SELF was never meant to help us and be our guiding force. As human beings, we are prone to error and without the guidance of God, the Holy Spirit, we are as lost as a ship without a sail in the middle of the ocean drifting farther and farther away from the shore. In the bible we are told to put no trust in man, in self and others, yet daily we lean more and more on our OWN strength and our OWN knowledge and the knowledge and ideas of OTHERS, rather than on the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the God who created us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

We have to be so careful because we can fight to change something we think is wrong when in all actuality, it’s perfect for the purpose God has for us; it may just need some fine-tuning. But we want change, so we lean on the advice of self-help books, that have no inspiration from our Creator, or we rely on our ingenuity to get there. But God never intended for us to be left to our own devices to figure this life out, but instead that we would lean onto Him to for direction, support, guidance, leadership, and wisdom.

“For the Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding” Proverbs 2:6

“Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.” Psalm 86:11

It is ONLY by God that real change, transformation happens. We see this with Zacchaeus in Luke 19; he was an evil and deceitful man, but with one encounter with Jesus, just from being in His presence, his heart was shifted and transformed.

“When Jesus got to that place, he looked up into the tree and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry on down, for I am appointed to stay at your house today!” So he scurried down the tree and came face-to-face with Jesus. As Jesus left to go with Zacchaeus, many in the crowd complained, “Look at this! Of all the people to have dinner with, he’s going to eat in the house of a crook.” Zacchaeus joyously welcomed Jesus and was amazed over his gracious visit to his home. Zacchaeus stood in front of the Lord and said, “Half of all that I own I will give to the poor. And Lord, if I have cheated anyone, I promise to pay back four times as much as I stole.” Luke 19:5-8 TPT

It was being the presence of Jesus that caused a change within Zacchaeus, not him doing it on his own or at the advice of others. He was a tax collector, and at this time tax collectors were known as cheats and swindlers because they would over tax the people to get their own cut. They placed heavy burdens on the people and because of their tactics they were hated by many. Zacchaeus didn’t begin wanting to change or even felt that he needed to, but after spending time with Jesus, it made him want to change. It did something within him, and this is what happens with us too. It is Christ who causes the desire for change to well up within us and spill over into our lives. And it doesn’t mean that he was perfect in all he did going forward, but the presence of Jesus caused a change in him, a transformation to his heart that cause a complete change to his speech and behavior. And this is what happens to us; the more we spend time in the presence of God, transformation happens and we gain wisdom and guidance and understanding of how to live the transformed lives we are called to.

True change takes place gradually. Just like a child grows little by little each day before we take real notice, the same is how we change spiritually. With each time we spend time with God something happens, we grow in the unseen until one day it becomes noticeable.

 “Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14

And we have to learn to have patience with ourselves (can I get an AMEN!…I can be so bad at this too). because when we don’t see the change we desire after reading one bible verse or going to one church service, we give up. And we do it with other things too. Like working out. We do it one time and then look in the mirror expecting to see a a major difference and getting upset because there’s isn’t one. LoL…I am so guilty of this, one diet change and everything is suppose to change. This is so unrealistic, yet we all do it. When need patience, my dear. Our habits and lifestyles didn’t become what they are over night, so they won’t completely change over night either.

God continues to remind me that it is a step-by-step process, as we lose the old us and gain the new us.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come” 2 Corinthians 5:17

It’s a daily decision to spend less time entertaining the things of this world that satifies the outward us, and spend with the One who satisfies the soul. Because true change doesn’t come from without (outside of us) but from within (inside of us) and spending meaningful, consistent time with God, in His presence will do just that. Naturally, we become like who we are around, so surely it’s the same with God. The more we are around Him, spending time with Him, drawing close to Him, the more transformed into the new us God desires for us to be.

“Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.” Romans 12:2 The Voice

But this only happens when we are willing to be still, pausing daily with the God who created heaven and earth; with the God that fashioned your days and spoke you into existence. Pausing with God places us INSIDE of His presence which creates changes within us day by day. Teaching us who we are and how to function and respond differently from what we have grown accustomed to. Learning new default responses to opposition, stress, and even triumphs in life instead of what we are used to. We learn how to draw near to Him with every need, concern, victory, &hope we have. And He desires this to be our permanent go-to.

 “Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:4-5

If you want to see true transformation in your life, spend time with the only One that creates everlasting and permanent change. And it only takes for us to step forward and He will meet us there. Stepping forward looks like pausing to pray instead of texting or FaceTiming someone. Stepping forward looks like taking your attention from social media and turning your attention to reading the Bible. Stepping forwards looks like sitting in the car a few extra moments before going into work or going into the house and asking God what He wants you to do that day and ask for the strength and desire to do it. Stepping forward looks like intentionally marking out time on your calendar to spend with God and keeping to it like a work meeting on your calendar. Stepping forward looks like running to God with a problem, even when you feel like you can handle it yourself, to get His perspective instead of doing it on your own. Stepping forward simple looks like pausing and asking God, “what’s next?”.

I’m not going to pretend to be perfect at this, because I am not; but I am learning with each day what He does is better than anything I can do on my own. Or anything I try to do in my own strength. On our own, it’s a temporary change, but with God, it’s a permanence that cannot be removed or altered no matter how hard something or someone rubs. It becomes apart of us like it’s been there our entire lives with no clear distinction of how to separate it from who we are.

God wants this for all of us, but do you want it? Will you step forward and receive the change you’re really seeking? And remember, we cannot do this alone, but with the Holy Spirit of God. It is the Holy Spirit that is at work; daily perfecting us for the purposes of God.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” James 4:8a NIV

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

“Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NLT