Dynamics of Change

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

[17] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV

[18] And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

INTRODUCTION

Change is moving from who you are now to who you have not yet become. It can refer to character, location, status, circumstances. It can be for better or for worse.

What change are we referring to? Spiritual change. Conformity to Christ’s image. Growth in Christ-likeness. Bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 5:8 ESV

[8] for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 ESV

[9] 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, [10] nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [11] 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.

Romans 8:29 ESV

[29] For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

1 John 3:2 NIV

[2] Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

1. CHANGE HAS ALREADY BEGUN.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

[17] Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Ephesians 2:12-13,19,22 ESV

[12] remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. [13] But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. [19] So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, [22] In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

2. CHANGE WILL SOMEDAY BE COMPLETED.

Philippians 1:6 ESV

[6] 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.

Romans 8:30 ESV

[30] And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

3. CHANGE IS PRESENTLY ONGOING

How is change effected? Precisely, how does it work?

Hebrews 10:14 NIV

[14] For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

A) Change is Developmental (Gradual), Not Immediate.

Philippians 3:12-14 NIV

[12] Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. [13] Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, [14] I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Mark 4:26-29 KJV

[26] And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; [27] And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. [28] For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. [29] But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

Trust the gradual process. Don’t force it.

The plant in the pot was growing slowly and well;
Though slowly, yet surely and freely and well.
But the maid in the house had a mind of her own;
She believed not in slowness but in sudden quick growth.
So she flooded the pot in a merciless way,
Pouring water and water until dawn of next day.
And when pouring was over, to her shock and dismay,
There was water but – oh! – no more plant, only clay.

B) Change is Difficult, Not Conflict-Free.

It’s going to be a struggle.

Galatians 5:16-17 ESV

[16] But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. [17] For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

There are going to be setbacks, but you simply have to keep on fighting, rising up every time you fall. 3 steps forward, 2 steps back.

Micah 7:8 NIV

[8] Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.

C) Change is Demanding, Not Painless. Discipline is essential.

Philippians 3:13 NIV

[13] Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NIV

[24] Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. [25] Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. [26] Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. [27] No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

2 Peter 1:5-7 NIV

[5] For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; [6] and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; [7] and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.

D) Change is Diverse (Holistic), Not One-Sided.

We should change for the better in all aspects of our lives. Otherwise, an imbalance will result, where growth in one aspect and not in others leads to a monstrous appearance.

  • Bloated Head (puffed up with knowledge);
  • Bloated Legs (focused more on activity till they burn out; always on the move, on the go, neglects contemplation and meditation);
  • Bloated Stomach (feeding oneself only, focused merely on self-improvement while not caring that others around you are malnourished and underfed; in other words, lack of love for others; poor relationships)

R. C. Sproul advises that we should be renewing the mind, raising the affections, and recruiting the will.

CONCLUSION

1. God will provide you with everything you need to change.

2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV

[3] His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. [4] Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

His power to change us flows into us as we grow in our knowledge of who he is and his promises. Of course we must believe his promises and apply them to our lives if they are to be effective towards us.

2. But we have to make use of the resources he has given us.

Philippians 2:12-13 NIV

[12] Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, [13] for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Use the means of grace. They were given to help you change and grow. Read your Bible and pray everyday! Listen to the preaching and teaching of the Word. Fellowship with fellow believers. Be encouraged by them and prayed for by them. Change is often more caught than taught.

(A talk given during the Ikthus East Leader’s Retreat at CCT Manapla, Negros Occ., Philippines on May 25, 2019)

Author: attycortes

Filipino lawyer, preacher, composer.

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