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Change Me, O God!

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This is my desire, this is my wish: Lord, change me! Please accept my desperate, unceasing plea. Change me, My God, please change me that I may become like You, perfect and holy in every way, full of grace and truth, unfailing love and faithfulness, inseparable from Each of You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Individually and as One, and inseparable from my brothers, sisters and mothers in Christ, individually and as one as You are One.

If I could speak all the languages of Earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, and have not love in my heart, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans, God’s mysteries, and possessed and understood all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, have not love in my heart, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body to be burned, I could boast about it, but if I didn’t love others, if I have not love, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient, long-suffering and kind. Love does not envy. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude, and is not arrogant, nor conceited. Love does not make a vain display of itself, and does not boast. Love does not behave itself unseemly, does not act unbecomingly. It does not demand its own way, it does not insist on its own rights, its own way, for it is not self-seeking. It is not irritable or resentful. It is not easily angered, not easily provoked, and it keeps no record of being wronged, in wrong doing. Love thinks no evil. It does not rejoice about injustice, rejoices not over iniquity, in unrighteousness, does not delight in evil but rejoices over the truth, rejoices whenever the truth wins out, where right and truth prevail. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance, bears up under anything and everything that comes. Love believes all things, is ever ready to believe the best of every person. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything, it always perseveres. Love never fails. Love never ends. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages, in tongues, and special knowledge will become useless, will pass away. But love will last forever![1]

Can anyone of us truthfully say that we have love to the standard that Paul wrote of? Can anyone of us check off everything in that list as being fully achieved and perfected by us? For, are we always patient with each other, long-suffering and kind? Do we understand what true kindness to each other is, what it is to treat each other kindly?

Do we never envy one another’s position, marriage, friendships, knowledge, talents and abilities, looks, stature, finances, and so forth and so forth? Are we always not jealous of each other’s gifts or proximity to the Lord, the Lord and the Lord, and are we also jealous of those things we are envious of?

Are we never boastful or proud, even in our hearts? The king of Tyre, he who was the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, boasted in his heart until he became proud and corrupted his wisdom, which then overflowed from his mouth and manifested in his actions.[2] Do we always give the glory immediately back to the Lord for the works He does through us, or do we allow the praises from men’s lips to fall on us, even occasionally without refuting them? For there is nothing that we have been able to do except that it was and still is He doing it through us.

Are we never arrogant or conceited? Do we consider when we pray in our secret prayer closet that we thank God for what we are and what we have, but please help that other person to change? Do the fruits of our sincere inward applications for each other manifest in our outward relationships? Or is it still that the fruit of unforgiveness is manifesting in our relationships, wreaking its havoc between us?

Do we make a public show of our love or a boastful show of ourselves, even without saying a word? Do we sometimes practise a worldly love with empty phrases and showy, shallow actions that do not come from the heart? Is our love a, “What’s in it for me” or, “Me first”, and even “What about me”? Do we do things seeking returns, rewards or reciprocation from our love always, or even sometimes, and if we receive no returns on our investment of ‘love’, do we then withdraw it and even stop practising it?

Do we find we never get irritated with one another’s short-comings to even become resentful because of them, and are we never easily angered or provoked to retaliate in some way, causing any rifts between us to go deeper? And do we never keep records of wrongs or do we have a memory like an elephant, yet justify ourselves that the problem is with the other person or began with that person and therefore it is they who have to fix it, they who have to change, not we? So then, do we immediately think the best of the others in any given situation or do we have to work through the pros and cons?

Do we dislike injustice done to our brothers and sisters regardless of whether we like them or not? Do we vicariously feel their pain that we pray for them to overcome as we would for ourselves? Do we rejoice always with the truth or do we oft-times find the truth too painful to bear? Do we, who are the disciples of Jesus, apply at all times and in every situation, His words of: “You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”?[3] Or do we give up at times and lose our faith to stop hoping and enduring through a certain circumstance, and crumble against things that come, and have we said, “I can’t go any further anymore,” or even confessing, “I just cant do this,” and worse still, “I won’t do this,” without applying God’s words that His Grace is all we need. Do we apply that which He said that His power and His strength work best and are made perfect in weakness?[4] Do we neglect to practise His words when He told us, “Nothing is impossible with God. What is impossible with men is possible with God,”[5] in all our circumstances?

Do we always protect each other daily through forgiving each other’s sins that the power of sin will have no hold over each other, and in the times when we know the other is in strife, either through persecution or by their own weakness? Do we do for them what we would want done for us to fulfil the Law of Jesus?

Do we trust them always or do we withhold our trust, for to trust is to be gracious under any circumstance? Or do we consider that they are not worthy of our trust, yet we anticipate that they should trust us? Do we always hope for them and with them, hoping for the best for them that they will come into the all that God desires, hopes and dreams that they would and can become, even when they fall back or fall short time and time again?

And have we endured everything, always persevering under all situations, for if we cannot tick even one of any of these things Paul listed that love is, we have not love to the standard of the inseparable love that Paul wrote of, and our love is incomplete.

But praise be to God, Paul also wrote: So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power, the Law, of the life-giving Spirit has freed you and me from the power of sin that leads to death.[6] There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for these are exclusively they who remain in Jesus as Jesus said, “Remain in Me, and I will remain in You. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the Vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me.”[7] And yet, in His sheer absolute pure undeserved Grace that is poured out upon us, He makes it so, so easy for us, because He also said, “Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him.”[8]

Yet, if He who was perfect was made more perfect, that is, God who does not change, changed, and grew from perfection into a greater perfection, then who are we, who are not yet perfect, that we would question whether we should change? For, does it not also say that He became the Author and the Source of eternal salvation, the life everlasting, for all those who obey Him?[9]

Therefore it is for us to follow in His steps precisely as only He has been in this way before us, and it is that He is the Way. He is the Author and the Perfector, the Champion who initiates and perfects our faith,[10] therefore it is His words we listen to exclusively that are our path before us and under our feet, and He is its Source; there is no other path and no other stream that can lead us on this Way, the Way of eternal salvation, the life everlasting. Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.[11] His suffering brought Him into an obedience He had not yet experienced, that which had not previously been required of Him. For the need had not arisen before sin entered into God’s creation, and He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission, His deep reverence for God.[12]

So, let us also follow the Author and Source of our eternal salvation, the life everlasting that exists for all those who obey Him, that is all those who obey His commands first and foremost above anything else. Considering not any other command, for they have not come from the mouth of Jesus and therefore it would be blasphemous to follow at all, except for that original command that instructed us to listen to Him. For Jesus said, “When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”[13] But His love for us was and is the greatest love, for it was of such stature in height, width, depth and breadth that He who was perfect… changed. He changed into the greater perfection so that we, who were His enemies before we repented or understood that we needed a Saviour, would have the way opened for us that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.[14]

And so it is that He has in His abundant, overflowing generosity graciously invited us to follow His way, the Way of Righteousness, the Way of Love. Would you therefore take up your cross in like manner as Jesus did and change for each other, the way of the greater love, to be fellow servants who would become His friends, if we do what He has commanded?[15] Even when you may consider that you yourself have no need of change, yet you would change as Jesus changed so that you too can bring the other into higher depths of God. So it is imperative for us to ask of God unceasingly for the love that God has, a love that changes for the sake of the other, a love that is from the heart that not only forgives, but forgets our iniquities as we repent to Him so that we may be to the full stature that His Christ is, of the same standard of love that God is for God is Love.

And we will assuredly surprise ourselves as to how much we need to change, when we survey the work that He has done in our lives and from where we have come from to where we have reached into God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who are One, Three who are titled, God, God who is One.

And then we can reach out for the greatest love that Jesus has, that we too would die for our enemies that they might become our fellow servants who become our friends as they then come into the exacting obedience of Jesus’ commands and the one command of the Father to the disciples of Jesus Christ, “Listen to Him!”[16]

So, as Paul asked, Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?[17] Let us then chorus with Paul: I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of Hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the Earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.[18]

Let us therefore strive towards that greater perfection that Jesus reached for and achieved, He who became its Author and its Source, as we obey exactly His commandments and remain in His love, and most particularly to love each other in the same way that He loves us. So then, God Himself can say of us that He is convinced that nothing can ever separate us from each other’s love in the same way that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Let us bring Him the glory that He so desires and deserves through the Way of the Son, the Way of Inseparable Love.

Amen


 

[1] 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 NLT/NIV/Peshitta/NASB/AMP/ESV

[2] Ezekiel 28:2;12,17 NIV

[3] John 8:31

[4] 2 Corinthians 12:8 Peshitta/NIV/NLT

[5] Luke 1:37; 18:27

[6] Romans 8:1-2 NLT

[7] John 15:4

[8] John 6:56

[9] Hebrews 5:9 NIV/Peshitta

[10] Hebrews 12:2 NIV/NLT

[11] Hebrews 5:8 NLT

[12] Hebrews 5:7 NIV/NLT

[13] John 15:10-12 NLT

[14] 1 Peter 1:24

[15] John 15:14

[16] Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35

[17] Romans 8:35

[18] Romans 8:38-39

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