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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Change Requires Making Choices

In review of Ephesians 4:21-24 it says, “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God, truly righteous and holy” (NLT).

Today’s passage is the same as yesterday’s. In Ephesians 4:21-24 Paul tells us how to live as a child of light. He explains that since we have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, We are to throw off our old sinful nature and former ways of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes. Then put on our new nature, created to be like God, truly righteous and holy.

Paul reminder is that the Good News will seem foolish to those who forsake faith and rely on their own understanding. However, others will be able to see a noticeable difference in the way I live. For I am to live as a person of light. Therefore I leave behind my old life of sin. Although I have a new nature, I will not always automatically think good thoughts and express all right attitudes. But if I keep listening to God, he will be working in me to change my nature. Although this change may be slow, it will come as I trust God.

My old way of life, before I believed in Christ, is now completely in the past. I should put it behind me like old clothes to be thrown away. My decision to accept Christ's gift of salvation, was a once-for-all-time decision and is a conscious commitment I make each day. My life is not to be characterized by a drive for desire or impulse. I must put on a new nature, head in the new direction, and have the new way of thinking that the Holy Spirit provides.

It’s not enough to want to change. It’s not enough to desire to change. It’s not even enough to say, “I have a dream of changing.” Dreams are worthless unless you wake up and act on them. I’m not going to change until I choose to change.

How am I going to be different six months from now? Will I be emotionally stronger, mentally sharper, physically healthier, spiritually deeper? None of this will happen automatically. I won’t just get healthier by accident in any category of my life. A lot of times I’m think I’m waiting on God to change me. Well, the realization is that I’m not waiting on God. God is waiting on me.

There will be no growth without change. And there is no change without loss. Which means I have to let go of some old stuff. And consequently there is no loss without pain.

I need to consider if I’m stuck right now because I haven’t learned how to let go. That’s a choice. Ephesians 4:22 says, “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception” (NLT). The good news is: Once I became a believer, I have a new power in me that is greater than those old tendencies.That power is the Holy Spirit. Philippians 2:12-13 says, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (NIV).

This doesn’t mean that I’m supposed to be afraid of God. Rather, I should be afraid that I’ll miss God’s best and waste my life. Be afraid that I will go my entire life and never know God’s purpose.

The secret to changing my life is not willpower. It’s God giving me the will and the power through the Holy Spirit to do what needs to be done.

Bottom Line:
When we accept Him and His teaching, we can throw off our old way which was corrupted by lust and deception and let the Spirit renew our thoughts and actions.

What this means to me:
Since accepting Christ and learning the truth that comes from him, I can throw off my old sinful nature and former way of living, which had been corrupted by lust and deception. Now, I should let the Spirit renew my thinking and attitude. Put on that new nature, the one created to be like His character.

As I follow Jesus, he teaches me truth and gives me the power through the Holy Spirit to throw off any of my old ways of selfish thinking. He will use the Spirit to remind me of what he had taught allowing me to renew my thoughts and attitude. I would like the goal of how I live my life for him to be visibly noticeable and to be an example and cause for others to be curious.

I need to take action to change, which means to put into practice what he is teaching me. I've come to realize that I’m not waiting on God, rather he is waiting on me. Substitute my selfish nature to be caring like him. He has given me the Spirit to be present with me.

As I pray for assistance in things, I need to remember that he may give me the assistance by putting me real life opportunities to work out what I need help with. I need to recognize and embrace those opportunities. As such I don't want to miss out on what God has intended for me. I want to know and do his purpose in my life. This morning Father, I pray that you “give me the will and the power through the Holy Spirit in me to do what needs to be done. Also grant me the patience and wisdom to make decisions, respond to others and help guide and encourage my team as we work to accomplish the goals and tasks set before me. Amen!”

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