Changed Lives

    Last week’s journal was about ‘change in our lives’ and how we can grow closer to God by embracing those changes; but Praise God! when those changes result in drastically ‘changed lives’. Lives lived for Christ!

    The Apostle Paul is probably the most dramatic example of a ‘changed life’ in the Bible. In fact, a large majority of the main characters in the Bible led very dysfunctional lives before they allowed God to transform their lives. (A few even fell away a couple of times, which demonstrates to us that God still loves us even with our mistakes and we can still surrender to Him for work in His Kingdom.)

    I’m sure you’ve heard testimonies and even witnessed someone whose life has drastically changed by God. I remember when I was younger, I knew of some of those people. I heard comments from non-Christians like “They got religion and now they’re a ‘Holy Roller’ ” or “They’ve become a ‘Jesus freak’.”

    Well, if being a ‘Holy Roller’ or a ‘Jesus Freak’ is the path that will lead to eternal life and a life transformed, sign me up! Being concerned with what others think of us won’t help us to fully serve God nor experience the blessings of His love and grace.

So, what is this ‘change’? Jesus said “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 4:17

    Repentance in the Bible means to not only turn away from your sin but to also turn to God. Acts 26:20b Paul declared, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” This is not something you do in your mind, it must be done in your heart. (and sometimes it seems like it’s a LONG way from my mind to my heart!)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds,
so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
  Romans 12:2a

    Accepting Jesus into your heart is not just a one-time decision. Repenting and renewing of your mind should be ongoing, daily, even hourly. It’s a process. You should be continually growing in your relationship with Jesus. Constant renewing your thinking through the power of the Holy Spirit results in life transformation not just salvation.

If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  2 Corinthians 5:17

    2 Corinthians 5:17 says that we are a new creation. He wipes away our past sins and makes us new. In fact, according to Jeremiah 31:34, he doesn’t even remember them. If God doesn’t remember them, we shouldn’t hang on to them either.

for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:34b

    Because of our sins, the mistakes we’ve made, and how we’ve acted and treated others in our past, it’s challenging to see ourselves as God sees us. God doesn’t have any trouble seeing who we really are and who He created us to be. Many (or most) of us seem to like hanging on to our past. There is no freedom in that, in fact it’s like dragging a ball and chain.

If we could see ourselves as God sees us….imagine the faith we’d have and the transformation within ourselves that we’d experience.

How ‘changed’ is your life? Do you have a transformation story?

What part of your past is keeping you from being the person God created you to be?
~Joanie Lawrence-Cain