by Pastor Tim Burt
I recently heard someone say “People really never change.” I know why people say it. As a Pastor in a very large church, I've been around thousands of people weekly for many, many years. There have been a few people that I have seen fallen prey to the devil repeatedly in the same area of their life and I've been tempted to think “They’ll never change.” I say tempted to think because I can’t allow myself to think that. Mankind’s only hope is to change. That will only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the only enabler of real and lasting change. Without recognizing the Holy Spirit within you as God’s gift of help to change, you won’t change. Too many don’t and thus the statement – People really never change.
Over the years, I have learned the value of having quiet time. For me, they are atmospheres I create where there are no distractions – no phones, television, computers, people, anything but quiet where I can be still before the Lord and talk and pray with Him. I take time for at least one or two days a year where I have this kind of atmosphere and then on an ongoing basis, I create pockets of it – an hour here or an hour there – every week. These times have become so critical to my life. I use them to reflect honestly and sincerely before the Lord about how I am doing in Him. I don’t beat myself up, but, I do try to sincerely evaluate what is good and what is not good in my life that needs change.
Why do I do this? I do this because our spiritual maturity is a life-long process that God highly values and desires for us. Its goal is continuous methodical change. Let’s make sure that this is scripturally true so you don’t think I am putting a trip on you.
When a person receives Jesus Christ into their heart as their personal Lord and Savior, something instantly happens. A miraculous force begins. The moment that prayer to God was prayed, the ultimate rescue mission happened. That person was instantly forgiven and adopted by God. It’s like he/she has been adopted and snatched from a horrific orphanage and brought home to a new and wonderfully loving family – His family! God's Holy Spirit comes to live inside of them and for the first time, they begin to see life through God's eyes. Everything becomes new in their life. These two verses describe this experience. Romans 8:15 (NLT) says, So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) says, This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! This is true and beyond what any of us can fully comprehend.
There is something else that happens that is vital to understand. That person has been taken out of the Satan’s grip and power. Col. 1:13 puts it like this – “For God has rescued us from the one who rules in the kingdom of darkness (Satan,) and he has brought us into the Kingdom of His dear Son” (Jesus.) They've been adopted into the family of God and infused with God’s power – the power of the Holy Spirit.
Before our life in Christ, we are enslaved to sin. We can’t find the power to change. This is why when you are walking into a hospital you notice medical staff outside having a cigarette break. They see what it does to people daily but can’t stop in their own life. This is why all people in bondage to vices feel powerless no matter how much they hate it and want to escape. Without the Lord, people not only lack the power, they are enslaved by Satan’s power. When they give their life to Jesus, the bands of slavery are supernaturally broken and they are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is the teacher, the comforter, the power of God working in them the second they give their life to Christ.
The question comes up, “What about Christians who can’t seem to change?” That’s a valid question and why I am writing this. Why is it that Christians still struggle after they have been released from Satan’s power and been infused with God’s power? The reason is, because their minds have not been renewed. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” What you think has everything to do with who you are. You have the power through the Holy Spirit to change, but you have to change your thought-life! Romans 12:2 confirms this saying, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Hebrews 11 tells us that faith is what pleases God. Faith is what we believe about what God says. What we believe good or bad – God or the devil – is what actuates our faith and affects every part of our life. Christians aren't stuck or slaves to sin any longer. But they have to know that is God's truth for them. You have the Holy Spirit in you. God wants you to learn how and what He thinks – including what He things about you. He wants you to have faith in what He says about you and become what He wants you to become. For example, I used to have addictive behaviors in my life as a young adult. When I gave my life to Jesus, that changed. But, I used to say and tell people, “I have an addictive personality.” I said that because I believed that. Well, I did before my life in Jesus but that wasn't the truth any longer. But, I didn't know that for a while. One day the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “Don’t say that ever again. I have said in my Word that you should “Let your moderation be made known to all men." (Philip 4:5) You are moderate and not addictive so don’t say that or believe it any more.”
When the Lord spoke that to me and helped me see that in His Word, my mind became transformed by that thought and I changed. Now I am the most moderate person you’ll ever meet. Change – ongoing change is supposed to happen in our life. It is a part of our spiritual maturing process. Is it happening in you?
John 8:36 (NLT) "So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free"
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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