Do You REALLY Want to Change?

This is based on my sermon for New Year’s, which comes from [youversion]2 Timothy 2:21[/youversion] and surrounding verses.

Is it even possible to really change? Millions of people must be asking that question, especially as we face another new year. You may already have a list of areas of your life you’re going to change. Whether they are “resolutions” or not, you’re hoping you can make it this year.

ONE GREAT TRUTH: Change is possible. In fact, it’s God’s plan for all of His children to change us into the image of Christ, but we have to be ready first – prepared for His use through repentance and renewal.

Saul made several promises not to try to kill David, but failed to keep any of those promises. David repented of his adultery and a real change was made in his life. What’s the difference between the two? I believe both wanted to change, but David did so in the power of the Holy Spirit through real contrition and repentance, while Saul was attempting to control himself in the power of his own will (and his own flesh).

Claude King shared a great illustration of this principle on his blog about 2 options for being filled with the Holy Spirit (video below). The basic idea is, we can ask God to fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit as uncleansed, idolatrous sinners, or as repentant, cleansed believers.

Don’t misunderstand. The Holy Spirit isn’t a substance poured out into us physically, but a personal God whom we may know intimately, but the Bible uses the terminology of being “filled with the Holy Spirit” repeatedly. It’s symbolic of His having total control over us as submissive creatures.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT…

Embrace God’s Plan for Your Life

His plan is that you know His Son, be like His Son, and enjoy Him for all of eternity. Anything that hinders that plan isn’t part of God’s intention for your life. In other words, God wants you, and He wants to change you. So is change possible? Absolutely, but you must believe that Jesus is the only pathway to everlasting change and eternal life.

Make Repentance a Continual Exercise

Repentance isn’t simply feeling sorry about something, and it isn’t simply confession. To repent literally means to change one’s mind. In other words, if you want to change, you have to first change your mind from being okay with sin to agreeing with God about it. Confess it and turn away from it. As Paul said, “flee youthful lusts.”

Fill Your Life with the Things of God

Paul tells young Timothy what to “follow after.” He’s essentially calling Timothy to replace sin with these other things that produce spiritual growth in our lives. There is a forsaking that is necessary to be cleansed for God’s use, but also a following after the right things.

God’s formulas are often so much simpler than ours. His plan is so much better. Fall in love with Jesus. Turn from sin. Fill your life with the right things and He’ll fill you with His Holy Spirit so that change is not only possible, but the guaranteed outcome!

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About the Author

I'm Brandon. I'm the Lead Pastor of Grace Hills Church in Northwest Arkansas, which my wife, Angie, and I planted in January of 2012. I previously served as a Pastor at Saddleback Church and still manage Pastor Rick Warren's online, global ministry to pastors, Pastors.com. I also lead a blog about blogging, a blog about social media, and a blog about men's issues. And I've written a book - Rewired, which challenges the church to adopt social media to spread the good news about Jesus. I sometimes take on church website design projects and I coach pastors and leaders as well. I'd love to hear from you!
4 Responses
  1. I like the video. It brings home the point that, even though God can fill you with the Holy Spirit, if your life is already full of the material things, there may not be much room for the Spirit. A person totally dedicated to the things of this world may not get as good a portion of the Holy Spirit as one who sees things material possessions for what they should be: tools to get through this life.

    You also made me realize another important point. We are also called to be good stewards of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That is, we should put it and ourselves to good use by helping others, both physically and spiritually. Whether by praying for people or helping them in the upkeep of their homes or just listening when they need our ear, we need to utilize what God has given us to the advantage of our brethren who haven’t been that fortunate yet.

    Like you, I think Paul did a huge favor to Timothy by suggesting what he should be following after, instead of giving a list of “Don’ts” It is always much easier to follow a plan of action than it is to try to avoid traps in an obstacle course.

    Your last paragraph is the simple truth. Simple isn’t always easy, but at least, this truth isn’t complicated. A fitting conclusion.
    .-= Keith@Norman Rockwell Art´s last blog ..Dec 30, Breaking Home Ties, Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post Cover from 9/25/1954 =-.

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