The Blessing of Change

Published on Jul 8th, 2015 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
The Blessing of Change

The Blessing of Change

One of the greatest blessings that God has given us is the hope of change.  In Christ we are new creatures and old things have passed away.  We have the Holy Spirit of God living inside us and through the power of the Word of God he brings change into our lives.  I often think of James and John, known as the Sons of Thunder.  Sounds like a WWE wrestling tag team.  As they walked with Jesus they were changed.  John became the disciple of love, a complete personality change.  David, in Psalm 51, prays, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  David prayed to be forgiven, cleansed, and changed.  The truth of change gives us hope.  Hope that we can change and hope that those that we love can be changed also.  This hope causes us to never give up on someone.  We always believe that the Spirit of God can use the Word of God to plant seeds in someone’s heart that will grow into lasting change.  When I was growing up I used to see this bumper sticker…PBPWMGITWMY.  I am not sure this was such a great testimony but for those who knew the secret code it said, “Please be patient with me, God isn’t through with me yet”. Horrible bumper sticker but a great truth; a truth that we often need to apply in our relationships with others.

Want to do a little more refining in your life?  Think through the relationships that you have where you are praying for someone to change.  Now think through the areas where you desire to see them changed.  How many of those issues in their lives are about them being conformed into the image of Christ and how many are about them being conformed into the image you desire for them?  Think of how dangerous that is.  Often our desire to see others changed is not about them becoming more like Christ but more in line with what will meet our needs.  We are praying for our children to measure up to our definition of success.  We are hoping our friends would be more giving of their time and attention.  We are desiring our spouse to be more attentive to our physical needs.  We sometimes wish that so and so would be more like…?  Are these the type of changes that God is working on in their lives?  Do these changes conform them more into the image of Christ?  I know that we can cloak these desires in a cloud of self righteous self talk… “Well, God wants my husband to be a better communicator”. Maybe, but, what if, not?  Then aren’t we simply asking these people to make us their idol and to be like we want them to be rather than into the image of God?  I know that is harsh and I don’t want to pile on those whose spouses really do need to change, but we need to be careful with this kind of thinking.  Let me give you a few thoughts as to why this is so dangerous.

1)  This kind of thinking often causes us to miss what God is doing in that person’s life.  We become so focused on the area of change that we desire to see that we miss the great things God is doing in their life.  We have this picture in our head of how our child’s life should go and we miss the amazing things that God is producing in their life right now.  This leads to frustration and often broken relationships with our children because their lives look different than what we believe they should look like.

2)  Dissatisfaction can become our idol.  Desires become perceived needs.  Even if our desire for that person is not an evil desire, i.e., “I want my husband to be a better communicator,” it can grow into our idol when we begin to allow it to deteriorate our relationship.  If we begin to justify our ungodly actions due to their lack of conforming to our perceived image of what they should be, if we begin to pull away or use ungodly methods to try and change them, if we make this one thing the all consuming measurement of how good our relationship is, then we begin to believe that we need this in our lives.  We soon find that this one thing, or these couple of things, negate all other good things in the relationship because what we want is most important.

3)  Often when we think we have failed to effectively communicate the change we desire to see in the other person (their lack of change is seen as a lack of effective communication on our part), we begin to use other people as examples of what we desire for them to become.  “If I can just give them a clearer picture of what I want, then they will know how to change.  How hard can it be?”  Our examples may be actors in a movie or TV show; or they may be friends that we believe are good at what we desire.  This is all kinds of dangerous in a marriage and will kill friendships and destroy the spirit of a child.  “See, that is what I mean.  Why can’t you be more like that?”  It is not until that person leaves our lives that we begin to realize all of the blessings they did bring to our life.  We overlooked all of those blessings because of the one or two areas we thought, but God did not think, were so important.

So what do we do with those desires that we have in our lives that those around us are not meeting?  Do we accept that no one person can meet all of our needs and desires and so we must diversify our relationships thus taking the pressure off of that one person?  Maybe.  But maybe we must also ask the Spirit to show us if our desires have become perceived needs or idols.  Maybe we need to ask the Spirit to give us a spirit of contentment and love as he opens our eyes to all that God is doing in our loved one’s life.  Maybe this desire is part of taking up our cross daily and following Christ.  We need to allow him to crucify some of these desires and give us new desires.  Maybe we just need to be humbled and realize that people are not simply here for our pleasure and that our loved ones are first and foremost created to glorify God and not to meet our needs.

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