Andy Taylor, Ellel Ministries International Director
We are constantly changing. Physically, emotionally, experientially, intellectually and spiritually – change is happening all the time. Often it happens slowly and we can only really see the changes as we look back at where we have come from. At other times things happen abruptly which bring significant change in a moment.
In life we might resist change – or the thought of being conformed into a certain way of living – as we are immersed in a culture that tells us that no-one should ever tell us what to be or to do.
His immense power is at work ‘within us’ so how can we possibly stay the same?
In our Christian walk we might have given up on any prospect of change and so we have settled with our mess and pain and just see each day between here and heaven as an endurance test. We might wonder at God’s ability to change us as we consider the life-long issues and struggles we have had with things like depression, addiction or anxiety. We might even have been taught that God isn’t currently in the business of changing peoples lives, and that the gospel accounts of Jesus healing people was just to somehow kick-start the Church. But the truth is that God is all about change. Not just for the sake of it but in the sense of transforming us and restoring us so we can live an abundant and fruitful life with and for Him. His immense power is at work ‘within us’ so how can we possibly stay the same?
Ephesians 3:20–21 (ESV) Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
I expect God to work in my life and to mend what is broken.
During an event at Ellel Grange earlier this year, someone mentioned during a group discussion session that the slogan for their church was ‘Come as you are but don’t stay as you are’. I love that. It just about sums it all up because I can only come to God as I am – a messed up, lost sinner in need of a saviour – but it also says that I expect to change. I expect God to work in my life and to mend what is broken. I expect God to transform the way I think about other people or about myself so that there is less distortion and more clarity and truth. I expect God to change my view of even my own identity so that it better matches the blueprint of how He made me. I expect God to help me change my behaviours and patterns of sin.
2 Corinthians 3:17–18 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
This scripture tells us that transformation is a work done by the Holy Spirit because where He is, there is freedom. God is at work in us to strip away the grave-clothes that engulfed us through life so that we can better reflect the image of God – because that is what we were made in, the image of God (Romans 8:29).
The fact that it is God doing this work of transformation doesn’t mean we get to sit down and do nothing – we are required to be active too. This starts with our surrender to God and His work in our life. It means moving away from me determining who I am (or even other people determining who I am) so that my Maker can show me who I am. It means being willing to change the way I live my life – not moulded by the ways and lifestyles of this world (Romans 12:2), but choosing to live in a way that pleases God. It also means being willing to let Him in to the dark and shameful places in our hearts and into the wounded and painful places too. This takes courage, but God is so kind in the way He restores us – like the potter with the lump of clay, gently moulding and shaping us with joy in His heart for what is taking place.
So, don’t settle for the condition you are in today. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can work out who you are and that no-one gets to change you. Don’t dig your heels in and allow yourself the misery of stagnation, but rather ask God for renewed expectation and faith to believe that He can transform you, heal you, restore you and give you purpose. Change is possible… we just have to reach out to the One who can do it!
If this article spoke into your heart, you may want to consider the following event:
10 September – 1st October
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