As a Christian, change is something that I have always felt was to be a constant in my life. In the early stages of my Christian walk, the need for change was more than obvious to me. I had filled my thoughts with the world’s way of thinking and my actions reflected it. Prior to receiving Jesus into my life, I knew nothing about the Bible and so, in a way I was my own god. By that I mean that I based my standards and ways for living on my philosophy of life—the philosophy that I had shaped mostly to fit what pleased me. I started reading the Bible and realized that God had much higher standards than I did. Over time I could see the wisdom in them and wanted them as my standards. If I was serious, then that meant change! Saying it was easy. Doing it wasn’t.
When you accept Jesus into your heart, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within you. As you begin to read and learn God’s Word, He begins to reveal God’s ways to you. That was happening to me. I didn’t want to change just one thing. I wanted to change multiple areas of my life. I wanted to treat people kinder. I wanted to be more truthful. I wanted to stop doing things that were unprofitable and contrary to God’s word. I wanted to do things that were profitable for my life. I wanted to serve God in practical ways. I wanted to quit using profanity and stop being cynical or sarcastic. There was so much I wanted to change! Over time I yearned to be pleasing to God. I wanted to be an example of His love – not the hypocrite I too often felt like.
I’m somewhat of a multi-tasker so I thought, “Why not make all these changes at once?” That is where I learned the reality of something I probably knew deep down inside but seemed to continuously forget. I remembered that just because you want to do something that is right and good, doesn’t mean it comes easy. If you have ever gone on a diet, tried to change your eating habits or start an exercise program, you know what I mean.
As I started to make changes, there were some changes that were so supernatural in their working that they could only be attributed to God. For example, having been an alcoholic for years and then one day I just quit drinking. The desire was gone and out of my life forever. To never touch alcohol again was a touch from God that can only be described as miraculous. There were a few things like that, but the majority of things that needed change did not come easy. It often felt like they were chained to me. It was in this place that I learned the meaning of commitment.
I deal with Christians that know they are engaged in thought and behavioral patterns that are harmful or destructive but can’t seem to find a way out of them. I don’t think people realize that commitment—true commitment—is a spiritual thing. What Jesus did for us was born out of pure and perfect commitment to His Father. No other man or woman that ever lived upon the earth could do what He did. That is why He came for us. What did Jesus know about commitment that caused Him to succeed where we so often fail?
The first secret Jesus knew was that He did not live His earthly life for Himself. He lived His life for others. That flies in complete contradiction to the gurus of today that tell you to get the most out of every day for yourself! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reveals our life isn’t our own! It says, “What? Don’t you understand that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who resides within you, whom you have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Skeptics call this a cop-out but Jesus knew this life was but a vapor. He knew that because of sin manifesting through all mankind, this life would not be the life that God wanted for us. There would be another to come. This life’s purpose changed in the plan of God from His original intent. Sin would create havoc and confusion for mankind. God would craft a plan of trust, peace, and promise for us to share. We would instead help people know of God’s love so they could enter into the life He would prepare for us—being forgiven and becoming His children. Jesus is preparing that place right now for each and every person who will receive Him. He said this in John 14:2-3. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Prov 16:3 says, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” The ability to keep a commitment is understanding that the strength to do so is rooted in your life’s purpose being committed to something greater than yourself. It has to be rooted in you being a contributor the plan of God and the blessings of those around you. When you realize that the lives of others can be changed eternally because of your commitment to change and serve God, your resolve and commitments will be strengthened and YOU WILL change AND your rewards will be eternal. This is the first secret that, when understood, has the potential to bring great change in your life. Succeed not for yourself, but for others! More later…
In His love,
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.