Gotta Stand Pt. 9

     Yesterday we concluded with a question. “How do we begin to live right for God?”

       Practically: If I’m a thief how do I stop stealing? If I’m angry how do I calm down? If I lie every time I open my big yap how do I quit it?What if I’m a fornicator?A nag? Abusive? Frustrating? Lazy? A slave-driver? In short, how do I go about changing all the negative ca-ca that is in my life?

     Some people would tell you that true change will only come by trying really, really hard. It’s the old Franklin philosophy, “God helps those who help themselves”.

     Others will tell you. “You can’t do anything. It’s all God’s work. Just wait and one day you will magically be ‘poofed’ into goodness.”

    So which is it? Neither answer is completely correct. They are both extremes; And extremes usually hold a smidgen of the truth and a whole lot of hot air.

        Let’s  skip out on the book of Ephesians for a post and turn to another of Paul’s writings, Galatians. The church at Galatia was a church Ben F. would have liked, a real work hard  kind of church. They believed that salvation could only be achieved by accepting Jesus and then DOING  everything the Jewish law required.

     Paul writes, “Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? …. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? ” Gal 3:1-3 NLT

    Paul indicates that not only is forgiveness of sins God’s work, so is making a person perfect. Does that mean we sit around and wait for God to ‘poof’ us? No! Just as God has a work in helping us to live for Him, the Christian has a part to play as well.

    Paul continues to the Galatians, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. ” Gal: 5:16 NLT

    To the church in Rome he writes the same thing another way, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.  Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ” Romans 12:1,2 NLT

 If we are to stand in victory, our part is to trust God and give ourselves to Him. God’s part is to work the change.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

10 thoughts on “Gotta Stand Pt. 9

  1. So good, Pastor J! I really appreciate and learn from the way you write. This may not surprise you, but Angela used that exact verse in Galatians recently in a comment. 🙂
    It does sound kind of mysterious, doesn’t it, in how it all works. I’m not studied and can’t explain it except to say it does work! He does change us as we keep going to Him. I even ask Him to change me often. Like everyday. I just know that I need to keep changing, to keep growing. I think staying in His word, praying, and fellowshiping are ways to give ourselves to Him so He can transform us and the way we think. (although poofing does sound nice! 😉 )
    God bless you as you continue to be transformed by God and encourage us to as well!

    • Thanks Debbie! I am glad you have received from these offerings. I do not know the way God changes me. I only know the way to bring myself to Him so that He can change me. I offer myself when I pray to him, when I study his word, when I open myself through the disciplines. Then He comes and changes who and what I am. Long way to go yet…but I am underway and laready arrived all at once by His grace!

  2. This series is so good, Pastor J. How awesome it is that our God gives us a helper. The amazing part is that we can call on him 24/7 and He is there. The key is that you have to call. I know for myself more often than I care to admit I forget to make the first call. This only makes my road to change that much longer. The great thing about God is that when you call Him to help He always turns it into something good. We don’t always see the good right away but when we look back, we can then say “Oh, I get it now, Lord.” Sometimes it may even take years to see how God used that situation for good. Thank you, Lord, for revealing your plan even when we choose the long road.

    • I am with you Debby! Just last night I needed His help with my attitude and what did I do? I tried to figure it out on my own. It wasn’t until the light of a new day hit me that I finally figured out I should put myself in His way! 😦 Ahh well His mercies are new and my attitude is adjusted! 🙂

  3. Thank you, Pastor J
    This is really great! I must say I have been exposed to both theories at different times in my life, but I do agree … it’s not my place to ‘work the change’ … I have to trust Him!
    Blessings much as you trust and obey 😉

  4. One thing is certain: try as much as I like, I could never change a bad habit or a sinful disposition or anything bad in me. I might improve for a while but my sinful nature would very quickly again gain mastery.

    Another thing is certain: my God is abundantly able to change me and He is willing and ready and desires to do so. All He wants is my permission and cooperation. He wants me to allow Him to change me. He wants me to claim the victory won for me by Jesus.

    When I do, He does!
    What an amazing God!

  5. Pastor J,

    As I read your remedy to the problem of our sinful nature, and our inability to stand the storms of life, and to stand against the wiles of the devil, I must say, that I was quite surprised! Beside me, is my notebook with the title of a post that I’ve been working on, “Change Your Mind.” A passage of Scripture in my notes is Romans 12:2-3! I don’t know how this particular study will turn out, or if I will be posting it, but I must say that I agree with your conclusion, “If we are to stand in victory, our part is to trust God and give ourselves to Him. God’s part is to work the change.” Bless His holy name!

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