Yes, You CAN Change!

iStock_000008202629Small.Under Construction

Lately, my daily commute to our office in downtown Franklin has left me meandering my way slowly through orange construction cones and dodging yellow bulldozers as Hillsboro Road is currently under construction.

Besides the challenge of accurately timing a commute, it is growing increasingly difficult to keep my Honda Pilot clean in all the dust.

Yet, I know that I will be very grateful as the road widens, the construction concludes, and I drive swiftly along the newly paved pathway.

Sometimes kicking up a lot of dust is necessary if there is to be any change.

In a similar way, our lives can feel pretty dusty at times.

Christ Enters Our Dusty Lives

It seems my life is always Under Construction.

I don’t know about you, but I can yearn for the finished product and the day change is no longer necessary. I long to be perfected in God’s sight.

It’s amazing now to think that by God’s grace this day IS coming for all who are in Christ Jesus. In heaven there will be no more sin, no more suffering, no more sorrow, no more pain — AND no more need to change… anything.

Amazing.

What About Now?

In the meantime, if I am honest, I will admit that I often struggle with the thought, “Will I ever change?”

That’s when I need to remember the gospel and the promises of God. The gospel is the best news in the world for people who are under construction.

The gospel tells me that Jesus Christ lived a perfect life which he credits to all who put their faith in him, he died a substitutionary death on the cross of Calvary, and he rose from the grave, triumphing over sin and death so that sinners can be forgiven of their sins.

Faith For Change

The gospel tells me that Christ accepts me just as I am, but he doesn’t leave me as I am. God’s plan for my future should give me faith to change in the present.

Just as construction is a normal part of daily commutes in everyday life, so change is part of God’s will for us as his children. One day we will be glorified. In the meantime, we are being sanctified (growing in Christlikeness).

In a recent sermon, Ray Ortlund, Jr. said, “The real Jesus offers both acceptance and change, and in that order always.” First acceptance, and then change.

The good news is that you don’t have to get your life completely in order before Christ will accept you. In fact, you can’t. The only way any of us are accepted by Christ is by God’s grace. Christ’s acceptance is a blood-bought gift from Calvary.

But we must never forget that Christ both forgives and gives power to change. We are not alone in this construction project. The Holy Spirit is with us, and God is empowering us daily for change.

Here’s what encourages my faith for the continual construction I’m going through spiritually in this life:

1 Thessalonians 4:3 “It is God’s will that you be sanctified.”

1 John 5:14-15 “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”

My change is a part of His plan. It’s God’s will that I grow in Christlikeness, and I can be confident that if I approach God in prayer and ask anything according to his will, he hears me, and if he hears me, I know I will have the request I ask of him.

O God, according to your Word and your will, help me grow. Help me change, by Your grace, and for Your glory!

You Are Greatly Loved

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“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin” (Romans 4:7-8)

“Why does God not count my sins against me? Because He has already charged it to Christ. As the prophet Isaiah wrote, ‘All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all’ (53:6).

“The only sin that can be successfully fought against is forgiven sin. We cannot begin to deal with the activity of sin in our lives until we have first dealt with its guilt. So here again we go back to the gospel and its assurance that God through Christ has dealt with our guilt.

God no longer counts my sin against me… God is for me, not against me. I am not alone in this battle with sin. God is not watching me from His heavenly throne saying, ‘When are you going to get your act together? When are you going to deal with that sin?’ Rather, He is, as it were, coming alongside me saying, ‘We are going to work on that sin, but meanwhile I want you to know that I no longer count it against you.’ God is no longer my Judge; He is now my heavenly Father, who loves me with a self-generated, infinite love, even in the face of my sin. That assurance greatly encourages me and motivates me to deal with the sin…

It is the gospel that motivates us to seek to be in our daily experience what we are in our standing before God.” (Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins, pages 35-36).

God’s love for you is greater than you can imagine, and He is able to make all grace abound to you. Look to Christ and learn to lean on his great love.

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