You know what it is. You know that it isn’t a physical change you’ve made, but it is a change that is being made deep within you.
Perhaps it is a change that is so subtle it caught you off guard. You notice that you don’t fly off the handle like you used to. Or you have more patience with a difficult person in your life. Or you discover yourself caring about… even loving… someone you used to envy or dislike. And you never thought you’d be the calm one in chaos, the peaceful one in uproar, the voice of reason in disaster. You know this is not how you were even a little while ago.
But perhaps there’s an attitude, an area of your personality or a specific place of disobedience that you’d like to change but no matter how much you try to change it, you too easily revert back to the old you.
I know that frustration all too well. It’s like I’m living in the power of God in some areas of my life; but in other areas, I can see barren spots where nothing changes and nothing is growing.
What causes the dormancy? I know there is life there, because I have been reborn, I am not spiritually dead, I am alive. I know God is not a God of dead things, he is the God of the living. He is the God of the resurrection. He is the God who gives life and brings life. He is the God of second chances, of changes… of new growth.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” — 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
So why are there areas of my life where there is no growth? Why can’t I get over some hurdles? I think there could be several reasons but primarily, I think it is because in my heart of hearts I don’t want to surrender those areas to God’s sovereignty. I want control. I say I want change but if I really wanted to change, I would listen to and obey God. And when I did, there would be new growth. Things would change.
When I accepted Christ as my Savior I was regenerated — my dead spirit was reborn, made new — in an instant; but God didn’t change my habits, attitudes, personality and thought process immediately. He regenerated my spirit and gave me a new heart, but I must work with him to affect the outer changes that reflect the inner change.
To work with God means that I do what he tells me to do. But in those areas of my personality that are not changing… well, it’s because I don’t do what God asks me to do. I ask for things to change, but when I’m given the chance to do things differently I choose to do things the same old way I always have.
“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” — 1 Peter 1:14 NIV
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” — Romans 12:2 NIV
Working with God means spending time with him, studying his Word, listening to and heeding the still small voice of his Holy Spirit, and spending time with other Christians. As I do these things God plants small seeds of change. Those seeds will take root in a renewed heart and will grow, producing a beautiful harvest of righteousness.
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified… For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” — 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 7 NIV
Not only does God change us as we work with him but he also breathes new life into relationships, dreams, and hopes.
Is there something in you that needs to change so that you can grow? Will you bring it to God and ask him to pour his life into it? Will you work with him so that the old you is completely swallowed up in new life.