Forced change begins with me
When I was 10 years old, my family and I moved from a busy city in Northern California to a small town in the country, about an hour outside of Sacramento. Everything was new for me. I had a new room in a new house. I made new friends. I went to a new school. Moving to the country was a difficult transition for a kid going into 6th grade. And I made it even more difficult for myself, when I began trying to be someone I wasn’t.
I thought that in order to be accepted by the kids at my new school, I needed to make myself more like them. I was so wrong. Trying to become someone I wasn’t only made me less likable, because the kids at my school could sense it. Somehow they seemed to know that I was faking it. Later on in life, those experiences helped bring me to the conclusion that I can pretend to be somebody different than who I am, but does doing doesn’t produce authentic change.
Forcing myself to act like those around me only made me seem desperate and probably annoying to the other kids at school. As a result, I spent my middle school years trying to please others and ended up pleasing nobody. The struggle of trying to be someone I wasn’t continued through high school and beyond.
Authentic change begins with Jesus
A few years out of high school, I made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. This was the beginning of something new for me, yet my pursuit of this new relationship seemed strangely familiar. I pledged my life to the Lord, but I did so with the attitude that I needed to change myself to be like Him. Yes, I was doing the same thing all over again. Once again, I was trying to force myself to be like someone else. What I didn’t realize at the time was there was nothing I could do on my own to become more Christ-like. I needed Him to change me. And over time, God began doing just that.
It wasn’t until I allowed God to mold me into the man He wants me to be, that authentic change started happening. I needed Jesus to make three specific changes to my life, in order to experience authentic transformation.
- I needed Jesus to dwell in my heart through faith
- I needed Jesus to be the source of love in my life
- I needed Jesus to show me how amazingly deep His love is
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19
But that isn’t the end
The Christian walk begins with salvation through faith in Jesus, but it doesn’t stop there. In order for authentic change to begin, we must allow Jesus to do the work. However, once He does his initial work, the continued work is all about a relationship between us and Him. Christ is responsible for the change, but we are responsible for being obedient to Him and His will for our lives.
One reason that God changes us is so that we can prove to the world what His will is. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
God knows when we are faking it. Allow Him to bring authentic change into your life and live your life in obedience to His will. What changes need to happen in your life, so that your life will demonstrate what the will of God is?