Need A Change?
God through the Holy Spirit can change you and others. You can grow in grace and knowledge. How is God impacting you?
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, that greeting establishes the fact that this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you to share from God’s Word.
We’re looking at 1 Timothy these days, and we’re into the first chapter right down to the last part of verse 15. A famous verse. “This is a faithful saying,” Paul said, “and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
I reminded us, I guess, the last time we got together, of the fact that Paul’s awareness of himself changed through the years. In writing to the people in Corinth, he said, “I’m the least of the apostles not meet or worthy to be called an apostle,” and then he said, writing to people in Ephesus, he said, “I’m less than the least of all saints,” and then he said writing to Timothy, “I’m chief of sinners.”
What does that say to you and to me, regarding our own development? Number one, you’re never quite the same any two days. You do change – your awareness, your information, your reactions to things, and the thrust of your life and decisions. All of these are subject to change as the years go by.
Someone reminded Abraham Lincoln, they tell me, that he had said certain things earlier in his career, and that now his position seemed to be in disagreement with what he had said then. He thought a moment. He said, “Well, it must mean that I disagree with myself.”
We do change. Give God a chance to modify your own awareness – number one, of yourself; number two, of Him; and number three, of others around you. God wants you and me to grow in our knowledge of Him, grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You grow in grace; that is to say, your awareness of God’s working in you and in the knowledge of our Lord. That is to say, you grow in your awareness of who and what God is and His purposes in working in your life.
Tell me something, as you look at your own life, can you see that you’ve changed some? That is for the better, hopefully, that God has been doing something in your life. You used to be a worrywart; are you still worrying, or have you gotten a measure of victory over that tendency? You used to be extremely jealous and resentful; are you still that way, or is God working in your heart by His grace? You used to be quite proud; “Me first” was your word always. Has God done something about that, or are you now willing now and then to play second fiddle while someone else is in leadership?
Well, that’s a good question to ask, isn’t it? The fact is that if we’re really walking with God, we’re going to be different. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
You follow that? When you walk with the Lord and when you keep looking to Him, dear friend, you will be changed. He will make a difference in you. He will make a difference in you. “We beholding are changed,” said Paul, “even as by the spirit of the Lord.” The Holy Spirit of God indwells the believer, and that indwelling Spirit of God does the work of reviewing Christ in you and then through you.
This transition in life also involves your awareness of God. Think of what you thought about God when you were a small child. God was a grandfatherly somebody, off in the corner of the sky somewhere, who looked down on you and who frowned and who was angry with you when you were naughty, and who was friendly to you when you were good. And when things happened that were traumatic, you thought to yourself, “God must be punishing me now.” Your concept of God was derived largely from your concept of your parents, and if they were disciplinarians, your God was a disciplinarian, and if they were permissive, then your concept of God was somewhat permissive. Do you remember that?
Well then, you got to a place where then by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, you saw yourself as a sinner, one who had come short of the glory of God and who was already lost – not sometime but already – because you had not yet believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God, as we read there in John’s Gospel, and God then became in your awareness of Him, the God of judgment, but also the God of salvation. The God who hates sin, but also the God who is merciful to sinners who repent and who trust in the Lord Jesus, and for the first time, you began to understand what it really means to say, “Our Father which art in heaven,” and you began to be aware of belonging to God’s heavenly family because you trusted the Lord Jesus and committed yourself to Him as your Lord and as your Savior.
And then the years have gone by – and some of you know where I’m headed now – you feel somehow the years have brought about a feeling of being comfortable with God, your Father. You’re no longer cravenly shrinking from Him as one who was about to hit you with something. You no longer are greedily seeking what He can do for you. “I love you, Papa. Give me a dollar.” You know the old human nature ploy of trying to get something. That is not any longer part of your approach, but now you’re comfortable, you’re comfortable in His presence. You love to be with Him, you love to spend time with Him, in His Word and in prayer and meditation. You’re comfortable with God because He’s now your Father and your friend.
See, what I’m saying is, normally there is a progression of experience in the Christian life. God wants to change how you view yourself, He wants to change how you view Him, and He was to change your relationship with others.
The last chapter in 2 Timothy tells about the different people that were involved with Paul. There was the faithful group, like Luke and the rest, there was the unfaithful people like Dimas, and then there were the critics and enemies, who actively opposed what Paul was trying to do. Paul wraps them up in the idea that people – all kinds of people – are important in God’s scheme of things, and he says in Philippians, when he talks about folks who are opposing him, “What than either way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached and I therein do rejoice, yea I will rejoice.” Your attitude toward people is changed when God works in your life.
Well, I say all of this just to ask myself and to ask you this probing question: What changes are going on in your life, my beloved friend? What changes are going on in your life? Is God doing something in you? Is God doing something in your relationship with, even with yourself and with Him and with people? And if not, why not? Why not seek God today and say, “Lord, start working in my life”?
Now the way He does it may not be of our choosing. “Tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed.” You pray for holy boldness and God may give you trouble, so the trouble will make you patient, and patience will give you the basis for real faith, and real faith will give you the basis for holy boldness. God may answer my prayer, I mean to say, in ways that I don’t like particularly, but He’ll answer it.
A young minister discovered that his wife was very ill, and it was a terminal illness, and ultimately she did slip along into the presence of the Savior. He said to me on one occasion, he said, “You know, shortly after we were married I sought the Lord for a period of time, and I said, ‘God, I don’t care what it means. I want you to work deeply in my life. No matter what it costs, I want you to work deeply and completely in my life. I want to be a man of God, full of the Holy Spirit and I don’t care what it takes,’” he said, “I prayed that prayer,” he said, “was only a few weeks later that we discovered that my wife was so desperately ill.” He looked at me and he said, “You think that is God’s way of answering me?”
Well, beloved, I, I couldn’t say. I said, “I don’t know whether that is definitely connected to your praying, but let me ask you something. Are you a better man today? Are you walking any more closely with God today? Is the Holy Spirit of God filling your life completely today? If so, regardless of those circumstances, you might very well say confidently, God is answering my prayer.”
No, we don’t always know how God will work in our lives, do we, but we do know that He will answer. “Call unto Me and I will answer thee.” There is no “maybe” there, thank God. “Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”
Do you dare today, beloved, pray in all sincerity, “Oh God, start working in my life. Make some changes in me as you did in the apostle Paul. Change my way of looking at myself and change my way of looking at you, and change my way of looking at people around me, until all that I am is controlled by the Holy Spirit of God who indwells the believer”? Do you dare to pray something like that? If you will, I can assure you that God will answer.
There was a time – years ago – when I was seeking God. I set a date; I said, “By such and such a date, I want a new touch from God.” Two years went by, and during those two years there were a number of circumstances which were exceedingly unpleasant to me, but at the end of those two years, one day suddenly I looked back and I realized that God had answered my prayer. Specifically, He’d given me a new touch and a new challenge. He’ll do that for you, beloved.
Dear Father today, work within us, change us heavenward, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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