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From a Mother's Heart

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By Bea Wallen

Yielding to the Spirit Brings Lasting Change

 

Many people, after putting their faith in Jesus Christ to save them, become frustrated because they continue to stumble and sin. Or they believe that they could be more effective if they could change certain behaviors, but the changers never seem to last. How can a Christian really change and become more like Christ? Let us look at some very essential points from scripture that can help us experience lasting change.

Proverbs 10:9 says, “He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.” If you walk in honesty- if you are willing to look at the values, attitudes, thoughts and beliefs that are producing your behavior- you will be secure.

David prayed in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart—see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” In this world, we don’t have the power to see an accurate picture of ourselves. We can only do it as we are aided by the Holy Spirit, and the word of God.

We need to have the proper motivation to change.

Not by guilty feelings or selfish desires, such as just wanting to be more acceptable, or more successful.

Here’s a biblical alternative for how to be motivated: first, the Bible teaches that God is going to judge every believer. This judgment does not have to do with our sin but with our works.

Once we trust in Jesus as our Savior, we are forgiven. But from the moment we come to Christ until the moment we stand before Him, we will be held accountable for our works. We will have to give account for every act, every thought, every dollar. We’ll be judged not only for what we did with our spiritual gifts, our time, our energy and our talent, but for why we did it.

The writer of Hebrews says to believers, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). He loves you, He is good, He is Holy, He is just. But God is a just, holy judge. This should motivate us to want to get serious about core issues in our life.

The second means of motivation should be to know the blessings of God. James wrote to a group of people living double lives, and he said that if you will sow fruit in peace, living a life of integrity, over time you will reap a harvest of righteousness (James 3:17-18).

According to James 3:2-12, if we can control our tongue, we can control our life. The ultimate mark of maturity and godliness is the proper restraint and positive use of our tongue. If our tongue is controlled, this is evidence that our lusts, passions, disciplines and character issues have come under the control of the Holy Spirit. Now we know that to change, you need integrity, proper motivation, and control of the tongue. But if we depend only on trying to change by trying harder to do these things, we will fail.

We have to turn to God for his mercy and grace. First, change is the work of the Spirit. If you try to do it yourself, it doesn’t work. Second, change is a by-product of a personal accurate and deepening relationship with God. Third, change occurs from the inside out. Change for a Christian is a progressive, ongoing process call sanctification. The process of becoming more and more righteous or holy in daily experience. So how do we become more holy?

We need to develop a training system of getting into the scriptures. A training system of prayer, of fellowship, of grace and discipline, of learning to yield to the Spirit.

Over time, as we learn to do these things, we’ll grow stronger and over time, we’ll experience real, lasting change.

From my heart.