When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord we receive a new life, and God promises to work in our life to bring about transformation. God is our Jehovah M’Kaddish—The Lord Who Sanctifies. To sanctify means to purify. God calls us to be holy; holiness requires purity; purity doesn’t happen without change. The change/purifying process is a lifetime journey toward becoming who God has called us to be. Even though we fall far short of his standard and often fail, he sees our end from the beginning and works in and through us as we develop a personal relationship with him. If there is something in your life that needs to change, you need more God. However, change is not all God’s responsibility; it’s not like a magic trick…whoosh you are changed. Neither is it all on us, because on our own we are not capable of significant and lasting change. We cannot change our hearts, only God can do that. Only by spending time with God, learning about him, knowing him, knowing his word and understanding his ways can change take place. So it is in cooperation with the Holy Spirit that we can change and continue to grow in our faith and mature spiritually.
Le 20:7-8; Ps 40:5; Pr 28:13; Ez 36:26; 2 Co 3:18, 5:17, 7:1; Eph 4:22; Phil 1:6, 3:12; 2 Pe 1:3
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (2 Co 5:17) God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns. (Phil 1:6)
How do we cooperate with God? 1) We cooperate by realizing that our sanctification is a journey. Change is a process, not an event. You will not “arrive” as fully transformed until that day when you leave this world and unite with Jesus in Heaven. 2) We must keep our sight on the destination. As a Christian our final destination is Heaven. Centering our lives on Christ and growing in relationship with Him keeps us on track and keeps our destination in view. 3) Ask God for help with the roadblocks. We encounter many roadblocks and sometimes detours and even wrong turns. Continue to ask God for guidance and don’t let the obstacles in life sideline you. Ask God’s help to remove the obstacles that are keeping you from moving toward him. Confess your sins and humble yourself. He will help you! 4) Learn to refuel. God makes available to us all that we need to keep us moving forward, but we must take time to refuel. Your car would not keep running if you didn’t take time to stop and put gas in the tank. You may be busy, stressed and overwhelmed, but until you make God a priority things will not slow down or get better. Be in church on Sunday and fill up the tank. Spend some time each day and top off the tank. God’s resources are available to you.
What situations has God used to bring about change in your life? Was it painful? Is there an obstacle that continues to stop or slow your faith journey? Have you ever been sidelined? What happened that caused you to stall? How did you get back on the road? How well do you know the Bible? How does that knowledge or lack of it affect your journey? Have you known someone who knows the Bible but isn’t living their faith? What affect does that have on society’s view of Christians? Have you known someone who has strong faith, but little Biblical knowledge? How does that affect society’s view Christians? How do you refuel?
Reflect on the past 6 months, year, 2 years; assess how God has worked in your life and how you have changed. Ask a Christian friend who knows you well to give you honest feedback about changes they have observed in you. Pray for God’s help to change in some area that continues to be an obstacle. Write down your struggle and look back in a few weeks and assess your progress as you continue to move forward.
Dear God, thank you for the gift of salvation and for your Holy Spirit. Allow your power to continue to change my heart and my desires. I want to keep moving forward on my faith journey so that I can be all that you have called and created me to be. Guide my thoughts, actions and desires. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.