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Faith Bloopers | Christian Living

Free to Live - Trapped in Change

Christina Walker

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

This morning started off in an old classroom.  My professor was talking in a pirate accent while waving a sword wildly at the board.  “Arrrrg, ye scurvy dogs! Turn in yer homework now, or I’ll make yer walk the bloody pla - BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!!

I groaned as I flung an arm at my alarm to quiet the monstrous sleep-hating machine.  Why? I thought, Why in the world did I decide that working out in the morning was EVER a good idea?  The truth is, I’ve been trying for a looooong time to establish a regular workout routine.  Unsuccessfully, I might add.  I do OK, getting a workout in at least a couple days a week.  Sometimes.

As I crawled out of bed and searched around for my workout clothes, the whining thoughts continued.  Why can’t I just already have a workout routine down?  Why can’t this just be easy, I shouldn’t have to work this hard to get in shape… it’s so easy for some people!  If I could just LOVE to workout, then all my problems would be solved!

Change has always been hard for me.  It is for most people, I think.  The most affected aspect of my life has always been my struggle to create changes needed to live how Jesus wants me to.  You see, the thing is that I have always believed that only the Holy Spirit working in a person can create the changes needed to live a Godly life.  

Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them,” John 6:14

And Paul writes, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through FAITH- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

And for years, I used this as a cop out for making Godly changes in my life.  I was of the understanding that if I tried to live according to God’s will, that I would fail because only He could draw me to Him.  There was nothing I could do.

And still I tried!  As I mentioned in my last post, I have fought against a vast variety of temptations my entire life, only to repeatedly fail.  I struggled and struggled trying to live the life I thought God wanted.  I was worried that my failures meant that I really had not received God’s gift of the Spirit.

I want to offer you hope, if you have struggled in vain as I did for so long:

We are not meant to make Godly changes in our lives

in an attempt to earn His love and forgiveness,

but we ARE meant to make Godly changes

as a way to show Him that we love Him.

When you buy your girlfriend tulips because you know they’re her favorite flower, are you doing that to earn her love or to show her that you love her?  

When you make your husband’s favorite meal after he has a long day at work, is your purpose to win his attention, or is it to show him your love?  

If you hug your child at night and talk about their day at the dinner table, are you trying to buy your child’s love, or are you demonstrating your love for him or her?

I spent so long trying to earn a love that was already mine.

We cannot do anything to earn God’s love.  Thankfully we don’t have to because He already loves us!! So if you have placed your faith in His Son and have decided to live a life that reflects Christ’s, then you have already been washed clean by His blood.  You have faith that He has forgiven every last sin you have ever committed or will ever commit, no matter how bad the sin.  He has already given you His Spirit and brought you close to Him.

And now, you must live a life worthy of Christ.  Not because you have to.  Not because you think that will earn you a place in Heaven.  But because you desire to show God your love for Him.  And that will take work.  It will be difficult, you will struggle, and sometimes you will fail and sin again.

That’s OK.

God knows you’re not perfect, and He doesn’t expect you to be.  And - this is the best part - He’ll help you live according to His will!  The Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak, equips us with the gifts needed to fulfill our purposes, provides a community of support, gives guidance and understanding, and ultimately intervenes with God on our behalf (Romans 8:26-27; 1 Corinthians 12:4,13; John 16:13).

Now, we also cannot fall into the trap of believing that because we have been forgiven, we can just continue in a life of sin.  The Bible says,

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24

If you are still not convinced, check out Matthew 10:38, 26:31-46, Luke 6:43, 14:27, John 14:15, 15:1-8, Galatians 6:8, James 1:22, 1 Peter 1:14, 4:1-6, and 1 John 1:6-7, 3:9-10.

If you want to finally break the cycle, there are just a couple things you need to ask yourself first:

1. Have I accepted God’s gift of grace - the Salvation of my spirit - through Faith in the blood of Jesus Christ?

This first question is a basic necessity.  If you have accepted Jesus’ sacrifice through faith, then you are a Child of God and hopefully desire to come closer to Him.  If you have not, then I encourage you to read an upcoming post titled: Accepting God’s Gift.

2. Am I really ready to show my love for God through my everyday actions and choices?

This question will help determine if you are, in fact, ready to make difficult changes in your life.  The Spirit will certainly help you, but carrying a cross is not easy.  If you do not really desire to make necessary changes, then you will continue to be unsuccessful in living a Godly life.

3. What does living a Godly life look like to me?

And the final question gets you started thinking about what God really wants your life to look like.  It’d be a shame for you to make the struggle to change your life, just to realize that the changes you made do not reflect God’s will.

The purpose of the next posting will be to find a way to begin living - actually living - the life God has designed each of us for.  We are His lights on a hill, so let’s be sure to shine brightly for Him!