Thursday, July 3, 2008
Change Comes Softly
You have met the Savior and accepted Him in to your heart, now you are a new creation old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2Cor 5:17, NKJ) Why than am I still struggling with the same issues, why can I not change those behaviors which even I find unbecoming? Some behaviors have been around for years after my salvation has come. I am learning, I hear the word, I study the word, I go to women’s ministry, women’s conferences, I read the right books which tell me steps 1-10 to incorporate in my life. I want to change yet I see no progress. I think about the God-like behaviors I want to reflect, I commit in my mine to reflect those behaviors and to advance in ministry, to be the holy, godly woman God desires me to be daily. I find myself falling short, missing the mark. This leads to beating myself; this is right where the enemy wants me; believing I will never measure up to God’s expectations.
My sisters do this sound familiar to you. I am sure it does because I find when we talk and share us; we often find we are experiencing the same struggles and issues. We are often rowing in the same boat not sure how to get out and trust ourselves to walk on the water. I challenge you to stop right now and really take a deep hard, intensive look at yourself. As you search yourself ask God to reveal to you how you have walked on the water and how you are growing to be more and more Christ-like. Recently I realized in spite of my self assessment, God saw things differently and He showed me ways in which I had changed in behaviors and in desires. My focus and purposes have changed and though I am still far from the mark I am moving closer to it. I can see God working in me; But the one who plants in response to God, letting God's Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life. (Galatians 6:8). We all know this walk is a journey and real transformation comes not quickly in most instances but slowly as God continues to pattern and sculpt us into His image. My sister stand firm and don’t give up, the Message breaks it down for us it tells you to look at Your life, look inside, and what you will see is anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! (Paraphrased) Daily our Heavenly Father is working in you; He is creating and preparing you for more than earthly living but for eternal living. Be encouraged my sisters even when we cannot see day by day beneath the surface where He is working: the Spirit Woman, One day in a moment of monumental stillness you will reflect and know you have truly gotten out of the boat and Jesus has allowed you to walk on water, even if like Peter you doubted and sink, He picked you back up and helped you to take a few more steps and finally those steps added up and see the caterpillar has truly become a butterfly.
"When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there's no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain.
Creating change can be painful. We have to let go of the familiar and take on qualities that initially are unfamiliar but when the change is complete we tend to forget the pain. Think back to a change you made in your life or yourself do you remember the pain which accompanied the change? Do you now rejoice in the change?
Jesus said, "You're not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation - the 'wind hovering over the water' creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life - it's not possible to enter God's kingdom. Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
We must submit to the work of the Holy Spirit, be open, let go of your way of bringing change and let the Spirit if the Living God transform you. In this way you will see change and may even find it less painful for it comes slowly at God’s pace and becomes lasting into eternal life.
Going Even Deeper
The process of transformation into a new self is described by Paul in Ephesians 4:22-24.
22 Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything - and I do mean everything - connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life - a God-fashioned life, 23 a life renewed from the inside 24 and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.
What parts of the old life must be changed?
What type of life are you to take on?
Where does the transformation take place?
Whose character is being reproduced in you?
Make a list of all the things God want us to give up to become a new creation? Verses 25-32
25 What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretenses. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ's body we're all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. 26 Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry - but don't use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don't stay angry. Don't go to bed angry. 27 Don't give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. 28 Did you used to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can't work. 29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. 30 Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted. 31 Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. 32 Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
When you lie to others who are you really lying to?
How should you handle anger?
What are we to do with our earnings?
What things should not come from a godly woman’s mouth?
Verse 31 tells us to make a break from what things?
How should you forgive others?
What kind of words should we speak to our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and strangers?
What is the most intimate part of your life?
Who is making you fit for God?
Study Additional Scriptures
Father God, Awesome God, Holy God, upon your Name we call to give thanks and praise. Thank you for transformation, for continually working in us, creating Your very own image. Thank you for forgiving us of our doubts and helping our unbelief by taking us from our old selfish, sinful ways to Christ like ways. Father we ask you to daily help us put on the garments of Christ that we may bring glory to Your Holy Name. May each day end with Hallelujah; I have magnified my God today in all my speech, thoughts and actions. In the great Name of Jesus we pray. And so it is done!