by Pastor Tim Burt
Have you ever heard the old saying, A tiger can’t change his stripes? That’s usually a reference to the fact that a person rarely changes his nature. He is what he is and there is little change that changes that. That may be true for the world, but not for Christians, that should not be true.
In Romans 12:2 NKJV, God calls for us to be “transformed by the renewing of our mind.” In 2 Corinthians 11:15 NKJV God’s word says to be “transformed into ministers of Christ.” Romans 12:2 NKJV says we aren’t “to be conformed to this world” but Romans 8:29 says we are to “be conformed to the image of His Son.” So, though the stripes of a tiger and worldly people don’t change, change is what our new life in Christ is all about. If we don’t change, it really reveals that we are not learning and growing in Christ. Our stripes are to change!
In my old life before Christ I was a cynic. I was always looking for people’s real motives and reasons for doing what they did. The Lord wanted me to change that stripe and spoke to me about it. In a private time of praying and worshiping God, I heard the Lord speak to my heart. He said, I am going to teach you how to see the best in people and it will transform your entire life. He said, That is going to happen by you learning to see others through my eyes. I died for them just like I did for you. They have good in them though it’s been tainted by sin. I know who I created them to be. Can you see the good and beauty in them underneath those layers of sin? I can! Purpose to see them through my eyes and it will transform your life and help you to love them in a greater way. He continued to say, People that do not learn of me through my word and fail to worship Me, never really see or experience an intimate depth of love for me or others in their life the way they know they should. But those that do, know how to look deeper. Do that with me and you’ll be able to see the best in people. When that happens, you’ll be able to sincerely encourage and edify others and when you learn to do that daily, you’ll life will never be the same. Your favor will grow with me and with man, and your life will become filled with rich relationships. Then the Lord reminded me of His word in John 13:35 (NKJV) “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
These words exploded in me and really gave me insight. Before long, my cynical side was completely gone. It was replaced with a deep and sincere love for people that was formed in me.
There are always a few people in life that take the time to see the good in others and find ways to express it. They aren’t complimenters or people that just say something nice. They are true edifiers. They look for and notice the good in others and tell them. This is a God-given stripe! These kinds of people help make life so much sweeter!
And then there are those that struggle to even notice when someone has said or done something nice for them. They are so self-absorbed that don’t see it and seldom say thank you for something someone has done for them much less edify someone for anything good they see in them. That is their stripe and they don’t change. And probably won’t because they don’t do the one thing that could change their stripes—they don’t become a true worshiper of God and see others through His eyes.
When I read in Revelation 5:13-14 of those worshiping the Lord, I see that this is not lip service or obligation going on. Their worship is heartfelt and coming from the core of their being, like it should from us. “And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They also sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.” And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped God and the Lamb.”
Spend time learning, thinking about, and worshipping God for His love toward you and all He that had Jesus do for you out of that love! Think about His magnificence and the glory of everything He has created. There is no shortage of things to praise Him over. Think about all the ways He has and is transforming your life! It will help you have grace toward others! As you do, this will teach you how to look and see deeper. You’ll also be able to look beyond the surface and see the beauty in the people around you so that you may encourage and edify them. Worship is a sincere expression and reaction from a heart of love to Almighty God. It changes you! It opens the eyes of your heart to see more of God with love and appreciation, and it changes your stripes as a person. God has always wanted us to become conformed to His image. This is how that begins—by becoming a worshiper of God, seeing others through God’s eyes, and becoming an edifier and encourager of others. It’s just one of the stripes we are to change in becoming Christ-like.
Psalm 95:6-7 NKJV “Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our maker, for He is our God. We are the people he watches over, the sheep under His care. Oh, that you would listen to His voice today! “
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NKJV “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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