Change is coming!! How do I know? Two things.
One, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow on February 2nd, 2020 so he is predicting that spring will come early this year.
Second, we celebrate Easter on April 12th and that is the day we celebrate not only Jesus resurrection from the dead but our resurrection to new life. God is working His resurrection power in each and every one of us as Christ followers in order to glorify Himself and to make us into the image of His Son Jesus Christ.
Change comes to us when we begin by confessing our sin. Confessing is agreeing with God about our sin and asking Him to forgive our sin. Then, God grants to us the gift of repentance. Repentance is being remorseful for offending God by our disobedience to Him and His commands and doing something about it. Turning away from our sin and turning to the Spirit to fill us and take control of our lives as we obey God and His Word.
Change comes when we realize we are dead to sin.
Romans 6: 5-11 tell us “5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
We must identify with Christ in His death. As our substitute, He took on Himself the penalty of all of our sins and when He cried out “It is Finished”, our sin was dealt with as far as God is concerned. We are no longer slaves to sin!! It no longer holds power over us unless we allow it. We can say no to sin and allow change to occur by building new habits into our lives if we will see ourselves on that cross with Jesus and letting sin die in our lives. Boy, that is so hard to do. Easy to see but hard to do.
We struggle with temptation when it comes because many times it feels so good and our flesh wants to participate in it. But for our long term (eternal) good and for our good on this earth, it is good to die to ourselves.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
The great news is that we do not lose our identity when we are in Christ!! Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and other religions say when they die, they are absorbed into Brahma or another god but we will have our identity forever in eternity.
Why is that significant? Because God took special care in making you and I who we are and our identity is found in our position with Christ. We are all unique and have a very special purpose and work in God’s Kingdom. Don’t ever forget that and don’t ever think your life is not valuable. We are much more valuable than we could ever imagine. He paid for our lives with the precious blood of Jesus. He was willing to die for us so that we could be holy and be in heaven with Him somedeay!!
Confession, repentance, asking God to fill us with His Spirit, and walk with God understanding our purpose in this life with our personality, talents and spiritual gifts makes for a very fulfilling life.
As God chisels away the flesh to reveal more of Christ in us through trials and tribulations, we know He is working all things for our good so that we can fulfill to the best of our ability the purpose God has us on this planet.
So, as we change and become more like Jesus, it should become more and more apparent to us and the world around us that we have been changed.
Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Lastly, let’s remember and go back to as often as possible the source of the power within us that brings about change.
Philippians 3: 10 – 11 “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”
The more we identify with Christ, the more our life is hidden in Christ, the more positive change we can see growing in our lives as we surrender more and more to Him.
This is the way of change and the purpose of God conforming us into His image. May we turn to obedience instead of giving into temptation. May we choose the way of change more than just reverting back to our feelings and the way of the flesh that leads to death as we move into this Lent and Easter season.
The challenge throughout this Lent season is to decide what you will give up for the 40 days of Lent or what you will start doing during the 40 days leading up to Easter / Resurrection Sunday!! Christ is risen!! He is risen indeed!! May we walk in that power of change this Lent season and into the spring of 2020. I am faithfully,
Yours and His, Pastor Ed Hedding