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I need to change

 It is not about you changing.... or me changing you... it is all about how I need to change.  When I was an infant, my mom and dad did everything for me... it would not have been good for me to have them continue to do that  for the rest of my life... I needed to grow up... I needed to change.

I was taught by religion that God will do everything  for me and then I will go to heaven  to boot ... at least as long as I stopped sinning too much.... and went to church.. studied my bible... paid my tithes... prayed... fasted... and witnessed every day... then Daddy and Mommy will give you everything you need.... ask for whatever you want and God will give it to you... you have not because you ask not... so ask away... I was taught that God surely will give me  the desires of my heart... absolutely everything I need... which is very true... except that...  in the beginning that translates to mean "everything I want"   .... I was never taught to actually grow up...  growth was determined by learning more about God  and doing more things for God...

Wrong!  Spiritual growth has to do with understanding that what I need in order to grow up is totally different... all throughout the growth process...  with a helpless infant what I want is what I need... but if I carry that on for the rest of my spiritual life... what I want  will turn me into a selfish, self centered little brat... where life revolves around me and mine... what I need as I grow up is totally different.... and... if I am not prepared for that change.... it can be quite a shock.

My marriage fails... my business fails... my health fails... my friends fail... I don't get the things I ask God  for.... instead I get... what?   How about some of these that Paul got.... don't hear much about these verses on Sunday morning from the pulpit...

Paul...you know... that apostle guy... apostle means sent ones... not special ones... Jesus says "so send I you"... we are all "sent ones"... in order to be sent, we need to grow up along the way... a few of the things Paul needed to have happen in order to do that...

" in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses,  in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger..."

That is how he grows... so he can change... he needed to change... I need to change... in order to eventually get here...

"in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true;  as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death,  as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things."

And Paul was not alone.....

"and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection;   and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated, wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground."

We need to preach a different Gospel... so we can begin to change... so we can grow up into all things....

And it never stops... T. Austin Sparks said it this way...

If we live as long as ever man lived, we shall still be only on the fringe of this vast fullness that Christ is. 

:)
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