“And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)
“Be confident of this very thing, that [God] which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6)
“And the LORD looked upon [Gideon], and said, “Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have I not sent you? And [Gideon] said to Him, Oh my Lord, wherewithal shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manaseh, and I am least in my father’s house.” (Judges 6:14,15)
A question that all Christ-ians should answer for themselves and their well being and comfort: Can God not do anything? Is anything too great for the LORD? Is His Arm shortened?
We all would answer these questions with God is able to do anything. The Scriptures are replete with verses that state God is able to do any and all things, even that which may seem to us as impossible. Christ even said, “with God all things are possible,” and He did not qualify the all. In this case all did mean all.
Here is my confession: I preach strong on the sovereignty of God and that God is Able…”He is Strong and Mighty and there is nothing He can not do…”
But there have been persons in my past that I have, in my mind, labeled. Some of these persons have been told by me to stop trying to be a preacher or youth pastor and get a job. I have told them that they do not have what it takes to be what a minister needs to be. They did not have the backbone or the intellect or the presence to stand up for God’s truth. It sounds worse than it was…I was tactful and caring when I said those things, but it matters not if the guy that shoots you is tender hearted or stone cold, the effects are what they are and who am I to judge any of God’s servants?
I sat one night and heard a person, who I “counseled” to stop trying to be a minister of any type and get a job, teach a Bible study. I sat there not knowing that the pastor that normally leads this study was not in attendance…I then deduced that this person I had labeled was going to direct the Bible study. I thought good for him, atleast he is trying.
What a fool am I? I have answered matters before hearing them in the past and been proven wrong and proven to be Solomon’s fool; you would think I would learn from these follies, but obviously I have not.
This quiet, unpretentious man sat in the teacher’s chair and taught a well organized Bible study that showed heart, knowledge, and experience!!! He taught me, a man who is “learn-ed” in the Scriptures and has been “self” (Holy Ghost) taught, a man that others look to for counsel, so much that I was OVERWHELMED….so happily, wonderously, and joyfully OVERWHELMED and awe-struck.
I can say, like Paul, I saw the grace of God. This man continued teaching and using some of his past and present experiences, that were not pretty and most “men” would like to keep secret, to show us that God can take bad things and make them new. Admittedly, I have known that since my new birth, but my faith was made sight that night by this man’s experiences and openness.
I wept later that night and confessed my sin and unbelief before God and a pastor, I was forgiven and was so very thankful for having learned an important lesson. And yes, I also confessed this to the man of whom I speak.
My point or rather the lesson I learned is this: man cannot change himself. No one can change another person into another person. God, however, can, does, and will change the old creation in Adam into the new creation in Christ and once He has changed a person He Can, does, and will continue to shape them as a potter shapes clay.
I have seen others changed by God too. My brother in law…….my brother and friend, as a young man, was quiet and very reserved. As he was this way, one would not expect much out of him, in terms of being outstanding and comfortable in public view. My brother has grown with God at His side, directing him and guiding him into a man of steadfastness and courage. He is a man that many could look at as an example of a Christ-ian man to pattern themselves after as the book of Hebrews tells us. I have been humbled by and yet made so very proud by these persons in my life and so strengthened by what God is able to do in the lives of His chosen and greatly loved people. These persons are God’s Trophies of Hope and Grace.
I know others, outside of Christ, that are the exact same person they were (20 and 30) twenty and thirty years ago. They prove the addage, “Once a liar always a liar; Once a cheat, always a cheat.” Persons that were arrogant and brutish remain arrogant and brutish, they may have learned, like any psychopath or sociopath, to curb there sharp edges or to hide their real selves, but they are still there. This can be observed in the lives of Saul and David. Saul would try to hide his contempt for David but eventually he would betray himself and throw the javelin. This truth is rather simplistic,
1.”It is what it is, period.”
2. A person is who that person is; they may pretend to be someone else, but they are who they are, period.
3. A person is not what you want them to be; they are who they are, period.
4. A person is not who they think they are, they are who they are, period.
5. No one, no matter how hard they try, can change another person, period.
Once you learn this you’ll see persons in the right light and you may understand yourself better too. However, let me say again, Though a person cannot change themselves, God can, does, and will, as He pleases. God has changed me and I have seen God change others, too…in big ways.
So here it is: If you meet a person from your past and they seem different, either they have been changed by God or they are still the same but hiding their personality. If they have been changed by God, it will show and they will tell. If they seem changed but do not give God any glory, they have not change. Very simple.