Friday, November 28, 2008

Changed Means Changes

For not even his brothers believed in him.
(John 7:5 – ESV)

One of the toughest problems I have experienced in my Christian life and witnessed in the lives of others is the tension between the old life and the new. I mean to say specifically those times when you have to learn to leave other things behind, and, when necessary, things we have grown attached to. Sometimes it means we have to leave behind our friends.

Now, you don’t leave them totally, at least not all of them right away, but you cannot do the things you did, you cannot go to the places you used to go, and so forth. You have a new Master to obey. This can be hard. You know you have changed, but what some don’t realize is that they are still changing. Believers who say things like “The Lord delivered me from so and so and I never wanted to go back again” only confuse the issue. God doesn’t always take away our desires, or the desire for our friends.

Jesus’ siblings had seen Him all their lives before He went out into public ministry. Suddenly it would seem that He was doing miracles, and gathering disciples, and considering human nature and family nurture, no wonder His immediate relatives were skeptical. When people grow up with you, even if you were a decent kid, and then you identify with Christ, it will be as it was with Christ. They won’t believe you are who you say you are, a Christian. They will think you are out of your mind for “trying” to change, and your old friends will think you are weird for not running with the pack (1 Peter 4:4). They will test you, and the trouble for some is they see this testing in the wrong way. They think it means they aren’t saved, but what it really means is that they are, they are also just on the way, in the process.

Just because you haven’t changed all the way doesn’t mean that you aren’t changed and that doesn’t mean you aren’t changing. You may still feel the pull of the peer pressure but all this should do is prove to you that you do need to renew your mind (Romans 12:2). You do need to cast down contrary thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5), and think on good things (Philippians 4:8). You do need to realize that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33). You must water that seed, till that soil, and grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

You must learn to be a twig before you become a tree. A twig can snap easily that is why it needs nurture, which is all the things we mentioned before, including bible study, prayer, fellowship, and the like. Twigs grow into trees in the terrain of the church. Outside is bad ground. You may think you are a tree, but if you aren’t in church, you are still a twig, because all of God’s trees are in God’s greenhouse, the church. Plant yourself in that pew, till that soil, water that seed, and watch yourself grow.

Things are different now, but it is not the decision to start but the determination to stay that counts. Thank God that what He starts He finishes (Philippians 1:6). But let me also give you a word of encouragement friend. God is the author and finisher of our faith, but He is also the performer of it. He ordains not only the end result but also the means to that end. That is why we can act with confidence and with a full assurance of faith (Philippians 2:12-13 / 1 Thessalonians 5:24 / Hebrews 10:22). When you are changed, expect changes. It is your destiny.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

18 comments:

Paulie said...

"Jesus’ siblings had seen Him all their lives before He went out into public ministry. Suddenly it would seem that He was doing miracles, and gathering disciples, and considering human nature and family nurture, no wonder His immediate relatives were skeptical." (John 6:3)

I love the change you are talking about, JD, but as you also stated that change is not always a pleasant one. It's the end result, (I think) that spurs me on to continue. What is your opinion?

Even So... said...

The hope of heaven is indeed our greatest motivator..."Future Grace" is a great book by John Piper you should look at when you have a chance, Paul...

Even So... said...

Oh, and you mean Mark 6:3, which is in our reading for today, right?...glad to see you are staying with it...you know, we need to see how Craver is doing with his reading plan, and exhort and encourage our blogging brother...

Anonymous said...

First time I have seen this site. New to this blog stuff.

I really like your comment between the twig and the tree. Simple, yet the point comes across nicely.

Garry Weaver said...

Again, you have written powerfully and eloquently on a very important subject. Didn't you say that these posts would be published in book form? I sure hope so.

Even So... said...

Yes, Garry, and this year, Lord willing, under the title, "Why You HAVE To Go Church!"

Thank you for the encouragement...God bless you brother...

Mom said...

Wow! Good insight. I am enjoying these posts. I share them with Jean. Pray for her. She is very ill and is going to call the doctor today. Love and prayers, Mom

Paulie said...

Yea, JD, I meant (Mark)I was looking at your post when I was writing the comment. :? And yes I/we are trying to continue faithfully in reading.
Did I tell you that Melissa and I have an apointment March 26th to be in Miami at the (Miami Progect) to begin the process of conceiving a child.
If anyone wants to check out the site the address is, "www.themiamiproject.org"

Even So... said...

Wonderful news Paul, we are praying for you and Melissa...

Someone who loves Jesus said...

Believers who say things like “The Lord delivered me from so and so and I never wanted to go back again” only confuse the issue. God doesn’t always take away our desires, or the desire for our friends.

I am a little confused by this statement...maybe you can elaborate??
My own personal experience has been that God has taken certain ungodly desires from me, like hanging out with certain people and going to places that I use to go, of course, this was by way of spending time with God, reading His word and praying, seeking Him and the things of God.
Now that I have returned to my Lord and Saviour, I just don't want to be around people from my past. I am a new creation in Christ, old things have passed away, and all things have become new.
God really has put me in a place of solitude (totally away from the world) for some time. I guess maybe for me, I was so weak, that I needed that in my particular life at that particular time.
Sure, I still miss some of my former friends or co-workers, but my spirit rejoices when I am around Christian people at my church. I am very thankful that God started this work in me and he will complete it. Thankyou for your insight. God bless you.

Even So... said...

I mean not always instantaneously...for some, and with some things, yes, not for all and with all things...many times it is a process...

Craver VII said...

"Someone Who Loves Jesus," you shall be called SWLJ for short, okay?

I think I get what SWLJ is saying. And I am for encouraging believers to share their experience. That is, as long as they are not telling people that God will do the same for them. We are witnesses, right? And what do witnesses do, but talk about their experiences. This is something that a brand new believe can do, even though they do not have years of apologetics and soteriology training.

And yet, many times it IS a process...

Even So... said...

Yep, I get it too, and SWLJ is correct, and that was my point I think...Jesus does deliver us from some things on the spot, other things take a while...the problem is when someone who is struggling meets someone who triumphantly says they were set free in a moment and never went back, then the one person gets down and has a faith crisis, but the reality is as the article states...

Sista Cala said...

My pastor was preaching Sunday on the Exodus. He made a statement that fits w/your post. He said, "You will not reach the Promised Land as long as you are looking back,longing for Egypt."

Someone Who Loves Jesus said...

Yes, I know that God will not do the same for everyone . I was just doing that, sharing what God has done for me. I just misunderstood what even so said about how we confuse the issue, but after reading it back and reading the comments, I am enlightened. Thank you for your insight and may God bless you and keep you, may He make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.

Sista Cala said...

To: SWLJ My pastor has said this:
Just because you get saved doesn't mean you stop dancing. You have only swapped partners. You don't quit drinking, you just switch to the 'new wine' of the Holy Spirit. You don't stop hanging out, just the places you hang and the group you hang with.

To: Even So I just had to leave this comment. Your posts are right on target. Keep up the good work.

MrsEvenSo... said...

So... do you really trust God and His sovereignty or yourself? And if the answer is the only one you can trust in life is yourself, what does that say about you? You think you're smarter than God?

Even So... said...

Appreciate that sista!

True, honey...it would seem we are wise in our own eyes...