When did you first say Yes to Jesus? Last weekend in church? Years ago, when you were a child? When you were in the middle of a mess? So long ago you can’t remember NOT having said Yes to Jesus?
And more importantly, how are you different now? Has the Holy Spirit changed you? What parts of your character have changed as a result of following Jesus? How would others say you have changed? Would they even be able to tell? When was the last time you felt convicted about something that needed to change in your life? Are you experiencing that change?
The full scandalously-free grace Jesus offers deals with forgiveness for every single thing we have done wrong. Hallelujah! But thank God that grace is also big enough to change us to become who God originally created us to be! How does that happen?
Here’s the core principle of spiritual growth and transformation;
When the Holy Spirit says, “Let Me change you here!”, just say YES!
Regularly throughout your walk with God, for as long as you live, the Holy Spirit will reach down in your soul, put His hand on something, bring it up into the light, and say to you, “This right here; it’s not like Jesus. This needs to change. Let Me change you here.”
You and I can choose to ignore that activity of the Spirit. In our humanness we don’t like to be challenged. We’ve experienced being wounded, rejected, and criticized by other people. We’ve felt more than enough shame, blame, and guilt heaped on us from people and from the devil. The Holy Spirit too?
The convicting, changing work of the Spirit in your heart is actually very different from the condemnation and shame coming from human or demonic sources. Condemnation from the enemy feels dark, hopeless, and chains you to your past.
Conviction from the Spirit feels light, empowering, and points you to your future.
Paul, the champion of salvation by faith through grace alone, was just as big a champion of spiritual growth and maturity. Christians today often forget this major part of Paul’s teachings. But we don’t do that by “trying harder.”
He wrote, “Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2-3)
Paul was perhaps more aware than most how drastic a change those early Christians were being called to. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, emphasis added)
Becoming a follower of Jesus didn’t mean simply adding a weekly gathering to their already full lives. No, it meant a completely new lifestyle. Everything was different; how they ate, conducted business, talked, did sex and relationships, dealt with conflict, everything.
Most of us have a difficult time comprehending how drastic and complete that change of lifestyle was for those early believers. And that change didn’t happen in a moment for them, any more than it does for us.
How could they get there? Paul has an answer for that too: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
The Holy Spirit and You
What is the Holy Spirit putting His finger on in your life right now? If you have no answer for that, perhaps that’s the first place to start. You and I will not be completely like Jesus until He returns. If you don’t know where the Spirit is inviting you to change, ask Him. Invite Him to bring the next thing in your life into the light, and work His miraculous transformation.
That might be something seemingly “big”, such as:
- Dealing with an addiction
- Quitting porn
- Learning to forgive
- Handling anger in a healthy way
Or it might be one of those sins 21st century culture considers “small”, such as:
- No more gossip
- Being generous with time and resources
- Complete integrity with your money
- Telling the truth in love (difficult conversations)
- Slowing down for loving union with Jesus
That’s a very short list, just to suggest a few possibilities. But the transformation we need in order to become like Jesus is no less all-inclusive for us than it was for those early believers. Where is the Spirit wanting to do His work in you?
Wherever the Holy Spirit wants to change you, say Yes. He will be faithful to continue His good work in you, today and tomorrow.
Your Turn: Have you sensed the Holy Spirit wanting to change you in some area? How have you responded? Have you experienced that change? Leave a comment below.
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- How does the Holy Spirit change you? It’s not by you trying harder! When He asks to change something in your life, just say Yes. That’s it; just say YES. Tweet that.
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