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A Changed Life

READ: Galatians 5:16-26 

A changed life is physical evidence that a person knows Jesus.  We don’t do the changing — He does.  Look at several ways God changes us when we surrender our lives to him:

  • He puts to death the works of the flesh. For example our desire for sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies…and things like these (Galatians 5:19-21).
  • The Holy Spirit lives in us (Ephesians 1:13-14).
  • By the work of the Holy Spirit, He produces a new kind of spiritual fruit in our lives.  For example we have a new desire for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Avoiding the Performance Trap

When we surrender our lives to Jesus we desire for Him to change us from the inside out.  We must be careful, however, not to place our sense of self-worth in our ability to change.  If we are slaves (doulos) of Christ, then all of our value comes from him and not from our own ability to serve (diakonos) Him. 

Paul faced the same challenge. He wrote in Romans 7:14-16, “What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.”  He goes on to imply that he can’t really trust himself. 

Where does all of this lead for Paul? He explains, “the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!  I realize I don’t have what it takes.”.  

That’s the beginning of true life change right there. I DON’T HAVE WHAT IT TAKES.  After realizing there is nothing he can do to change himself, he concludes,  “The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.”

Has your life changed?

“All that God requires of us is an opportunity to show what He can do. “— A.B. Simpson

Three options for life change:

  1. Try to stay the same. Uncle Ricco of Napolean Dynamite fame tried this. He tried to identify as a 16 year old football jock long after his prime and the humor of his character speaks for itself.  Try as you may, you are always changing: physically, socially, mentally and spiritually. 
  2. Try to change yourself. Our culture is big on this. Men trying to be women. One lady tried to become a human version of Barbie by having 37 different plastic surgeries. Didn’t work. Man’s best effort to change himself always falls short.
  3. Surrender to God and allow Him to mold you into the person He desires you to be. The testimonies of millions over a span of more than 2,000 years provides clear and meaningful evidence that trusting in the Lord leads to nearly impossible life change — time and time again.

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