At the beginning of the New Year, many of us are thinking of changes we would like to make in our lives. Some of those changes are rather small and insignificant, maybe even silly. Other changes may be desperately needed—a relationship needs to be mended, a destructive habit needs to be kicked, or a health or financial concern needs to be dealt with head-on.
The Bible says a lot about change: changes in nature, families, governments, etc. The most radical change the Bible speaks of is the life-change of one who belongs to Him. One of the reasons God saves us is to change us. He sees us in our sinfulness, weakness, and foolishness, and yet God makes us as His own and doesn’t leave us the way He found us. He loves, purifies, prunes, and refines. What an amazing God we have! Personal. Powerful. Life-penetrating.
One of my favorite verses is Philippians 1:6: “For I am confident of this very thing that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Dear Christian, the God who saved us is the One who will change us to be like His Son—Holy. He promises us that we will not always be as we are today, struggling with sin. When we are plagued with doubt or self-condemnation, we can rejoice knowing that God promises to finish the good work He started in our lives. Day by day He is transforming us to overcome our sin. Sometimes we see leaps in our growth and sometimes we barely see baby-steps, but we can be assured that the transformation He began the day He saved us will continue until we are perfected in Glory.
Our salvation (God forgiving our sin and declaring us righteous) is the work of God alone, but we are responsible to actively pursue obedience to Him. Growing in godliness (or sanctification) is achieved by both the Holy Spirit and us working together: ” . . . work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). As we pursue a life of obedience, the Lord produces godliness in our lives. It is He who transforms our desires and life to please Him, and He calls us to participate in this transformation.
I have been reading and studying a little book that helps explain biblical change and its pursuit. I highly recommend it if you are done with playing around the edges of sanctification and are ready to dive in to experience life-altering change. The book is Stuart and Zondra Scott’s Killing Sin Habits: Conquering Sin with Radical Faith. I pray that it will bless you as it has me.
Happy New Year!