2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
The beauty in becoming a true Christian is the change that comes with it. God, in His love, actually changes us when we become Christians. As His Holy Spirit dwells within us, we have the luxury of not only seeing our lives and purpose in a different way, but pretty much everything around us. We become a new person. What do I mean? Well, let’s look.
- Our thoughts change when we become Christians. Ephesians 4:23, Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. As a Christian, I don’t entertain the thoughts I used to. I recognize their wrongness and have to make the decision to refuse to dwell on such things.
- My life is no longer about me being the center of attention. My decisions are no longer about how only I am affected by them, but how others are. Philippians 4: 3, Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
- Desires change as we become new people. The things of earthly value begin to diminish in appeal as you grow in your relationship with God. And obtaining the newest thing or things in general just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. 1 John 2:17, And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
- Your purpose in life takes a turn. You begin to realize how much you matter and how much serving your purpose matters for God’s Kingdom. 1 Timothy 6:12, Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.
- Lastly, your view of sin changes. You practically ache from the reality of the distance that sin has placed between you and God. You can’t help but thank God for the opportunity to repent for the sins committed. Ezekiel 36:31, Then you will remember your past sins and despise yourselves for all the detestable things you did.
And while there is much more that takes place as we become new persons, these are just a few of the things that have taken place in my life. Won’t you accept Christ today to experience all this and then some?
Today is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:2 For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
1Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
I love the story of Zacchaeus. I love the lessons in it. The truth that if you want God to change your life, He can, and will. Zacchaeus knew what he was. He knew what people thought about him. But he wanted Jesus. He wanted to change. So how does he teach us to do that?
- Lesson 1: Want to see Jesus, no matter what it takes. (v. 3)
- Lesson 2: Put your pride aside. It would have to be a humbling experience to be so small that you have to climb a tree to see. (v. 4)
- Lesson 3: Accept His invitation and answer His call. Jesus calls to us, but few answer. Be willing to accept and answer. (v. 5)
- Lesson 4: Meet Him with excitement and joy. This is your Savior! Be excited about Him, be excited about salvation! (v. 6)
- Lesson 5: Let Him find you and change you. He can. (v. 8, 10)
So there you have it, five simple lessons from Zacchaeus. They worked for him, I’m sure they can work for us too. Zacchaeus was lost, until he found the Jesus that had been looking for him.
You know, I really get tired of people coming to apologize for things they’re not going to change. I don’t feel like forgiving a mistake that someone is probably going to make again in the next hour or day. The whole I’m sorry, I won’t do it again, I’m sorry I did it again routine gets so old.
But, what I really can’t wrap my brain around is how God does it.
I can’t remember how many times I was sorry. Or how many times I was sorry, again. Or for that matter, how many times I was sorry and this was the last time. So, what I’m saying is, God forgave me knowing I would sin again. And His “know” isn’t a gut-instinct like ours, He really knows. Yet, He forgives.
So, the question is, who am I not to forgive you for some of the very things I’m asking God to forgive me for?
Colossians 3:13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Matthew 7: 3-5 (NLT)
And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
Christianity is not a spectator’s sport. It’s almost like we treat it as a way to justify watching and pointing at people and their sins.
Now, I’m not saying we should have a blind eye to sin. As Christians, we are to speak the truth in love and recognize sin for what it is, sin. The issue lies in my blind eye to my own sin. If I’m so busy telling you what you do wrong, it doesn’t leave much time for me to see my own faults.
In doing so, I’ve lessened my sins and focused on yours. Instead of seeing you as a brother/sister in need of truth and love, I’ve turned you into a spectacle.
The more I maximize your speck, the more likely I am to increase my log. So, what would cause all of this? Pride. And I believe we don’t need any more people who sit around and pridefully watch wrongs. And we certainly don’t need any more that refuse to see their own wrongs.
In essence, pride see what you’ve done as worse than what I’ve done. It seeks to compare and to judge. Pride is the very log that sees the speck as being the problem.
In fact, pride refuses to realize that it’s easier to remove a speck than it is to remove a log. Pride is the spectator that makes a spectacle of your sin.
There are some scriptures that have concepts that overwhelm me. It’s just that they’re so good and promising, I can’t even fully grasp the perfection of them.
Jude 24 (NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.
- God is holy. I am not.
- God is glorious. I am not.
- God is sinless. I am not.
However, in spite of all that I am not, this verse tells me that God is going to bring me into His presence as if I were. In the end, I will be in the presence of my Savior, sinless, and joy-filled, with Christ.
There are no words pure enough to describe that moment. How can a person express the moment that they will be faultless before a perfect God? The only word that comes to mind would be: Heavenly.
I don’t think we could ever overdo the conversation of obedience. Obedience is love. It’s such a big deal that God compares disobedience to witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23). So, since we’re talking about obedience, let’s talk about Abraham.
Most people know the story of Abraham and Isaac. And the test he went through to prove his love and obedience to God. This test ended with Abraham not having to sacrifice his own son, as was the original command from God.
What I believe, is that Abraham’s obedience saved Isaac’s life. Let’s think about it.
Abraham didn’t know which mountain he was supposed to go to. “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you” (Genesis 22:2). God told him to take his son, go to Moriah and then he would show him the mountain. And of course, as the story goes, once Abraham was there a ram was stuck in the bushes which in turn became Abraham’s sacrifice instead of Isaac. But, what if?
What if Abraham wasn’t obedient? What if Abraham didn’t go to Moriah? Even simpler, what if he didn’t go to the mountain God showed him? He would have only partially obeyed God’s command and partial obedience is still disobedience.
You see, I understand the foreshadowing details of this story. I understand the parallels. I understand the test. But what I’ve recently learned is that it was complete obedience to God that kept Isaac alive. Not the ram, not perfect timing, and certainly not coincidence. Obedience.
In essence, what I believe is that God will always provide a ram in the bush, it’s just that we keep on going to the wrong mountain.
Why do we get upset with God for questioning us when He knows us better than we know ourselves? When He knows our past, present, and future, how do we find room to get testy with Him?
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
I find it interesting that Peter was hurt that Jesus asked him the question three times. Coming from a guy that denied Jesus three times, you would think he would understand the need for the repetitive questioning. But, we do this too. We get impatient with God and quickly forget the eternal patience He has had with us. We get bothered when we have to receive the same lesson, but neglect to mention that we’ve refused to learn from it. Yet, when God asks us do we love Him, we have the nerve to get offended. As if the offenses we’ve committed against Him wouldn’t be reason to ask.
God sees our hearts. So it’s not like He doesn’t know if we truly love Him. I just think that God likes to reveal our hearts to us. So sometimes He has to ask. Sometimes you have to retest. Sometimes you have to repeat. As my friend says, you have to revisit and revise. And it’s what you find on the retest that reveals what you are. It’s in those moments that you get the answers to the questions God asked you.
Every now and then, the third time really is the charm. You just don’t know it yet.