Great article on something most of us struggle with. I especially like his four point summary of the tools God has given us…
Remember, the darker it gets, the brighter and farther our little light shines!
Maranatha, Lord come quickly!
By Grant Phillips
How many times have those who really want to change their attitude and mental lifestyle asked themselves that question? How many times have we tried over and over to be a better person? Even many who do not know Jesus as their own personal Savior would like to be better than what they are. Unless we are a narcissist with an ego problem we want to be kinder, more loving, more patient … just a better person than what we see in the mirror.
We cannot change ourselves, at least for the long-term. Why is that? Could it be because the change needs to take place in an area of our being that only God can ‘fix?’ Legitimate change must be from the heart of man, and only God can change a heart.
Those without Jesus as Savior must come to Him first, in order for any change to be made that is worthwhile. Millions try to accomplish this on their own, or they serve the many gods of this world hoping for a change, but it never comes. All need to come to Jesus in child-like faith to be born again, trusting Him and Him only. Those who do that are on the road to an exciting new life.
Peace fills the vacuum of fear, and fear is no more. Hate and indifference is replaced with Godly love. Does this happen overnight? No, not while in these earthly bodies, but the transformation begins immediately. Jesus takes up residence in the new born-again believer by His Spirit and strengthens our spirit. He nourishes it and guides it along the right path, and we grow a little each day. The change, the permanent change, is taking shape. One day when we’re with Him in Heaven, the change will be complete.
What about Christians, true Christians that have become stale? Why aren’t they feeling the warmth of God’s presence? Maybe they have stepped away from the heat source.
I was raised in an era that heat for our home in the winter months came from something called a fireplace. Generally speaking, fireplaces today are a luxury item. Back then they were a necessity of keeping warm or freezing to death. I remember many times I had to go out in the cold and refill the coal bucket with coal for the fireplace and the pot-bellied stove. One lesson I learned early on was this; when I was near the fire, I stayed warm, but when I moved away from the fire, I got cold. Hmmmm. Profound, isn’t it? Maybe to change our life for the better we just need to draw closer to the heat source, the fire.
Many Christians today are wandering away from the heat source that their spirits need for warmth. Growth is stagnated because cold, especially extreme cold freezes everything into place. Read of the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2-3 and notice how many had grown cold in heart because they were away from the fire and embracing the cold flagpole of rebellion against God.
How can we, as children of God who need a new direction in life, return to the warmth of our Savior’s embrace? I’ve said this a thousand times (figuratively), but I must repeat again that the Lord has given us very important tools for growth. They are (1) the Holy Spirit the moment we are saved, (2) His Word, the Bible, (3) prayer, and (4) the fellowship of other Christians. If we do not make use of these, we get cold, but when they are a serious part of our everyday life, we stay warm and cozy in His presence.
Jesus made it clear in many Scripture passages that He would not leave us alone to flounder on our own. Following is just one example.
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:15-21 NIV)
So, can we change? Not on our own, but we can be changed by the working of Almighty God in our lives. We just need to do what He says and trust Him. Are you afraid of failing? Don’t be. I fail all the time, but our God never fails, and that, is what we must depend on. Call on Him, and He will make a change you’ll cherish forever.
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Click on the article title for a link to full original referenced article.
In Romans 10 Paul lays out how salvation is open to all, Jew and Gentile. He writes:
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” – Romans 10:4-5
What he is saying is now it is not about works or how closely to a “T” you follow the law. But that it is through God’s gift of grace through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. It is really that simple, and yet a hard step for some of us.
“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9
Christ is the narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14), through faith in Him you will be saved. It is the only “works” that God requires for eternal salvation.