Change. It’s something I deal with a lot. I think about it. I want to see it. Sometimes I fear it. Often I pray: “God, change me.”
If everything were my way, I would be spending some alone-time. I would stop to think, and an area that’s not very sanctified in my life might come to mind. I would ask God to make a difference.
But that’s rarely the case. What about this? “Peace, you should hear what people are saying about you. They say you’re awful to work with. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong, you stick to what you think no matter what anyone shows you! You won’t say ‘I was wrong’ for anything!”
This came from a good friend. Immediately my mind went to excuses about the situations he was talking about.
I went away from this conversation feeling pretty accused and depressed. What’s that about? Am I really that awful of a person?
Naturally, I am good at lining up all my reasons why I am right: They don’t know my side. They don’t know what went on before the incident. They don’t know what the other person did to me. Besides, why are they listening to gossip?
I am realizing that in situations like this I’m being presented with the opportunity to change for the good. I don’t like it, but could this be an answer to the prayer, “God, change me”?
I can still hear the words ringing, “Deputy Faulkner with the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Department, stopping you for reckless driving.” If there was an ordeal in 2019 that made me angry, that was it. I really wasn’t going that fast.
The judge let me off easy if I could go six months violation-free. Guess what? I changed my driving habits. Could this also have been an answer to my prayer?
When I was in Africa I was stuck for the better part of two years with a teammate-a great guy who I am still good friends with. I remember several times being at the end of my nerves. We could talk about things, but being the stubborn person I am, it wouldn’t help. Only when I cooled down enough to see the bigger picture, I began to entertain the possibility that this too might be God trying to change me.
I saw a loving, suffering Savior. I saw a God working His glory. I saw how far I was from that. The way I was thinking was so selfish. I saw how stupid my petty grievances were in light of Him. I saw how I was hurting my teammate.
Stepping away from examples, I want to list a few observations, and then look into what God says about this phenomenon of “change.”
1.We change. We would like to think we’re the ultimate stalwart, but we’re not.
Gossip, speeding tickets, relational issues, and hopefully even the Spirit of God pushes us to crisis points. We will change.
- We will change for the good or for the bad. Granted, I’m not talking about little material choices; I’m talking about crisis points. All through Scripture, we see crises followed by choices and changes that led to either life or death.
- Good change is vital. We all know Christians who try to resist change. They can be active in ministry or just normal people. It’s a scary thought, but inevitably this results in a string of ineffectiveness and bad change. You are probably reading this blog because you’re interested in missions. Don’t even think about getting involved if you’re not willing to let those crisis points break you and continually produce good change.
- Seeing the big picture affects how we change. That’s what Scripture says. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
As we see God’s glory, that’s the “direction” we will change.
In summary, let’s let God change us. Let’s look at Jesus. Not being “conformed to this world,” but being “transformed [changed] by the renewing of our minds” (Rom 12:2). It’s painful, humbling, and doesn’t make good pictures or social media posts, but it’s wonderful and God is glorified.
We are part of an exciting story—let’s embrace the process and progression, especially when it gets personal.
“As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”