Judging by the number of self-help books that have been written on changing yourself, change is a relevant subject for today. It would appear that a large number of people are anxious to be changed. Secular and Christian books have very similar titles, ‘You can heal your life’, ‘how to change yourself’, ‘you can change your life’, ‘you can change all the bad, just talk to Him, bible verses about changing yourself for the better’. The essence seems to be that there are techniques you can follow, and you can change yourself.
However, some people are afraid of change and others don’t believe it is possible. Maybe you’ve heard someone say, “This is how I am,” inferring that they believe change is impossible. However, change is the key to sanctification and spiritual transformation which is not about changing outward things like actions or appearance but about being changed on the inside. It’s a change of heart – a divine work of the Holy Spirit. To be changed is to see life from God’s perspective – the Holy One who is other than us in every way and calls us to be holy as He is holy. When God asks or commands us to do something which is in Scripture, it is always possible, because He has made a way for His will to be done.
The Bible refers to this kind of change as circumcision of the heart by the Spirit (Romans 2:29) which means that the things in the heart which bring dishonour to the name of Jesus are powerfully dealt with at the cross. It’s about the cleansing of the heart by the blood of Jesus from all that is unclean in His sight. Another way of describing it is to live in the fear of the Lord, because this will keep us from deliberately sinning and from loving ungodly things (Exodus 20:20). Self-help cannot make this kind of change, neither can good intentions. It comes about by honestly facing ourselves and surrendering our all to Jesus who, by His death and resurrection has made the impossible a possibility.
We read a lot about the heart in Scripture. Each person’s thinking and acting is a reflection of the condition of their heart. We are told it is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9) therefore self-deception (when we believe something is right when it is wrong) is only changed by a revelation from the Holy Spirit. We are told to guard our heart because everything we do (and what we think) flows from it (Proverbs 4:23).The life we live reflects what is in the heart (Proverbs 27:19) and what comes out of the mouth is an overflow of the heart (Matthew 12:34).
Until we arrive in heaven, we will remain imperfect beings with the need to be increasingly changed from our sin deep within. As we can’t change ourselves, we can come in humility to our Father, confessing our deep need and asking for an encounter with Jesus who is the source of lasting change, freedom, joy and peace.
Prayer: Search me, God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Father, In the name of Jesus I ask you to cleanse my heart from any heart attitudes which are not in keeping with the nature of Jesus. Amen.
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