2 Corinthians 3:17
Everyone wants to change in some way or the other. Whether it’s an addiction problem, a chronic rage issue, or a character flaw that is ruining your most significant relationships, there are areas in our lives we want to change but struggle to do so.
And more than this, the Bible makes clear we must change from sinful to holy if we hope to have a true relationship with God. So how can we do this? Certainly we can’t do this in our own power. True change comes only through the power of the gospel of grace. And to be ultra specific, when it comes to actually changing real, tangible things in our lives, the Bible makes clear that only the Holy Spirit can change us.
The Father appoints what he wants done. The Son accomplishes the work of the Father. And the Holy Spirit applies the works of the Son to people. But what specifically does the Holy Spirit change about us? Why should we seek to be filled with the Spirit throughout our whole lives?
Here are seven ways the Holy Spirit changes us.
You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?
9 Then my enemies will turn back
in the day when I call.
This I know, that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise,
in the LORD, whose word I praise,
11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?- Psalm 56:8-11 (ESV)
Life can make even the most faithful Christian question, “Doe God still care about me?” If we are to survive on this brutal planet, it will be essential to remember that despite how often life cuts you, God still cares.
“Some wandered in desert wastelands . . . .
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress. (vs4-6)
Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom . . .
for they had rebelled against the words of God . . .
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress. (vs10-14)
Some became fools through their rebellious ways . . .
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress. (vs17-19)
Whoever is wise, let him heed these things
and consider the great love of the LORD. (vs43)
Is greatness contagious? I think so, along with weakness. Both the splendor and sin of the human spirit are cultivated through the companions with which one invests his time. Who you spend time with is not the only variable in our development, but it is a very crucial one.
Always, when you do a little digging, you will find that those truly admirable were inspired by and (to some degree) sculpted by other great men and women surrounding them. Children whose parents are professional athletes or gifted academically seem to have a greater knack for similar accolades. Sure, one can make a case that it’s all in the genes, but surely this is not the main variable in the equation of greatness.
5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. – 2 Corinthians 5:1-10
For a New Testament list of Bible verses on the “Sabbath” by BibleGateway.com, click here.
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.-Hebrews 4:9-10
Have you ever been burned out? Just over done from the grilling flames of the day-to-day grind we all endure? The natural remedy, we think, to being overworked is to get time away from work. Isn’t this one of the main reasons we look forward to the holiday seasons so much?
True rest is not the absence of responsibility; real rest is being in the intimate presence of the Lord. Therefore, if we seek to rejuvenate ourselves simply through the absence of responsibility, this is a quick fix that will not last because it is based in a works theology. We think we can gain our own rest through our actions, or in this case, our lack of actions.
We all have them. It can start early in the morning after you oversleep and now your late as you rush the kids to school. It can begin during your lunch hour when your coworker keeps disagreeing with everything you say. Or it can come out of nowhere as you try to control your temper during an unexpected traffic jam on the way home from a long work week.
The infamous “bad day” discriminates against no one. These days make us feel so helpless. It just seems like no matter how hard you try, annoying stuff just keeps happening. So what can be done? What does the Bible say about having a bad day?
While the Bible certainly does not talk about how to overcome bad days, it does give a lot of information about joy, perseverance, and overcoming evil. So here are 16 biblical ways you can fight back next time you get assaulted by a “bad day.”
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” – James 1:19-20
What does the Bible say about anger? It’s a poignant question considering the state of American affairs right now. I’m sure you’re as sick of talking about politics as I am after one of the most brutal Presidential elections in recent history, so I won’t turn this into another online vent sessions – God knows there’s enough of those at this moment in time.
But people are angry right now, on both sides of the political ticket and the ideological spectrum. So what does the Bible say about anger and bitterness? Where does anger come from and how can we manage it? Is trying to manage anger even biblical? Can we be angry without sinning?
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest . . . for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” –Matthew 11:28-29
Pain, who can escape this part of our reality? No one. Though we all try to avoid it, pain eventually catches up to us all.
Whether through the loss of a loved one, the lack of the life we’ve planned for, or through relational heartache, pain never discriminates. It eventually finds us all, brings us to our knees and makes us yearn for relief. Pain is raw, real, excruciating to go through, and completely unavoidable. This is a broken world, and no one escapes without some painful wounds.
But in the midst of it all, God speaks.
Why does God value us so much? Where does our worth come from?
We are constantly trying to create worth in ourselves by our works. We often think God values and loves us because of what we bring to the table. It’s easy to think God chooses and elects us because he saw something special in us. But none of this is true. When God looks at people apart from the grace of Jesus Christ, he doesn’t see potential, he sees a problem.
God Values Us Because He Is Love
And yet he truly does love and value us immensely, more than we can ever fully know. The only reason God can love us even though we were his enemies is because his love is not based in us at all. He does not love us because of what we do. He loves us because of who he is, for “God is love” (1 John 4:8).