We saw last week at how Peter was changed following Jesus’ death and resurrection and the Spirit coming into his life. The Spirit doesn’t surgically remove all the parts of Peter that don’t fit who God has made him to be. He takes who Peter already is and redirects and reshapes his gifts and passions so that he can more truly be himself. I wonder if you’ve identified something in you that the Spirit could take and shape in the same way?
There’s no doubt that change – intentional positive change – seems like hard work. Sometimes we might feel that it’s not even worth trying, that we are bound to fail, or that we will disappoint God. I certainly feel like this sometimes – here are a couple of things which have helped me.
First, our job in the process of change is to simply ‘turn up’. It is God who will change us – we just need to be available. If we are worried about failing and so don’t turn up, we have cut off that opportunity. So I don’t need to work hard at being changed by what I read in the Bible, I just have to make sure I read it every day.
Secondly, what if I promise God I will read the Bible every day, and some days I don’t? Well, there’s this thing called grace : ). Grace is where God says, I forgive you, let’s forget about it and start again. So rather than beating ourselves up, we can get up, ask for forgiveness, receive grace, dust ourselves off and try again. We can have as many ‘re-dos’ as we need! I have found that the more quickly I get up, the less time I spend on the ground feeling guilty – the more I see change in my life.
Thirdly, change happens over time. Yes, Peter’s change is pretty sudden but he is in the middle of some unique experiences! Sometimes God changes us in a dramatic way, but much more often, it is change which comes over us in little increments so that we ourselves hardly notice it. But if we look back over our lives, we might be surprised at how far we have come, with the Spirit’s work in our lives and grace for our failures.
4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy… 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:4-6 NIV
How can we work with the Spirit towards change?
Love to you all, Miranda.