God, is there any hope for us to change?

Tears escape my eyes while worship takes place all around me in the church building.  No one notices me down here on the floor, but God does.  Down on my knees, face towards the floor, I cry out to the Lord.  “Oh God, change me,” I pray with passion.  “Change me so that You can use me. ”

When I peer into my sinful, human heart, I see so many things that I wish weren’t there.  Anger over the actions of people.  Frustration when things don’t go my way.  Disappointment when my plans were stymied.  And it gets worse.  Round and round in my brain swirl hateful words that I long to say.  I want to reject those who reject me and I want to hurt those who have hurt me.  I demand justice for wrongs that I have suffered.

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I hear in my spirit, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”  Romans 13:14

I cry out to God to deal with my flesh and with my selfish will.  I beg Him to change me.  I want Him to come in like a flood and wipe out all of this stuff, this “me-ness” that I must contend with on a daily basis.  I want Holy Spirit to whoosh in and clean house and then one day I will wake up and be just like Jesus.

Like Jesus.  Christlike.  No more anger.  No more hatefulness.  No more dirty, sinful ugliness.  But then I realize, if God were to answer my prayer just the way I prayed it, it would wipe out Lisa.  He would have to take away my personality and identity in that sudden change of will from my will to His.  If He were to stage this spiritual coup or takeover, Lisa as we know her would cease to exist.

When we look at ourselves, we see all of the yucky things that need to be fixed, and we want them fixed INSTANTLY.  But God is not in a hurry.  He sees where we have come from and He is proud of our progress.  And He also sees where we are headed and He plans to get us there safely and surely.

But what about the changes that need to be made in our lives right now?  God does not often work on them all simultaneously, but He chooses 2 or 3 areas that need “adjusting” and He focuses His efforts there.  You should know that when God begins to convict you in an area of your life it is  because He is sending you a gift – the grace to change in that area.

In this season of my life, God is teaching me how to truly love and bless and pray for and do good to my enemies.  He is breaking down that verse and teaching me step by step how to do the these things.  My flesh is kicking and screaming, but I am learning how to obey.  But I wish that God would at the same time teach me not to be afraid and teach me how to serve and instruct me in prayer and help me to be patient with my husband…

I have so many heart areas that need to be fixed, but right now we are focusing on loving my enemies.  Once I get this one down, once I learn this lesson then we will move on to the next area of Lisa’s life that needs some God-sized intervention.

If we fixed my stuff all at one time, I couldn’t handle it.  It was the same thing when God drove out Israel’s enemies from the Promised Land.  He didn’t do it all at one time, but little by little, as they could handle it:

I will not drive them out before you in a single year, that the land may not become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you.  I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land.  (Exodus 23:29-30)

When we pray for God to change us, God in His infinite wisdom answers our prayer the way that He knows best.  GOD SEES OUR HEART and sees our desire to change, and He chooses to have mercy on us.  Today we are the the receivers of God’s grace and patience and His gentle hand that is slowly changing us from glory to glory.  Let’s be thankful that the God who began the good work in us will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  2 Cor. 3:18

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