CHANGE YOUR LIFE! (revised) May 5, 2008 6:49:06 GMT -5
Post by tomdurst on May 5, 2008 6:49:06 GMT -5
CHANGE YOUR LIFE!
By Thomas E. Durst
By Thomas E. Durst
Matthew 3:1, 2 (The Message)
Thunder in the Desert!
1-2 While Jesus was living in the Galilean hills, John, called "the Baptizer," was preaching in the desert country of Judea. His message was simple and austere, like his desert surroundings: "Change your life. God's kingdom is here."
I like the translation of CHANGE YOUR LIFE instead of REPENT as it brings more precise clarity of what repentance is really all about. Another good translation would be DEAL WITH YOUR ISSUES.
The motivation for changing our life is the simple teaching of Jesus that the Kingdom of God is present in us and all around us (see Luke 17:20, 21). In view of this what is the point of hanging on and on to the things in our lives that are dragging us and others down and preventing us from celebrating the present Kingdom of God? We need to examine our lives and look honestly at our issues rather than trying to avoid them or drown them in addictive behavior of some kind.
Those issues that we don't deal with and overcome will eventually overcome us and we might not even be aware of it. We can be blinded by our ego-based thinking unless we maintain prayerful alertness. Some people have hardened their hearts for so long against the Holy Spirit's calls to change their lives (deal with their issues) that they no longer even have the desire and they spend their lives living in mental hell (see Jeremiah 8:20; Hebrews 4:7). It is indeed a serious thing to either neglect or reject the still small voice of the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 12:31, 32). We often tend to look at the ways others need correction more than what we need to change in ourselves.
To repent (change our life) includes:
(1) honest and thorough self-inventory;
(2) WILLINGNESS to change;
(3) beginning whatever steps are necessary to change and persistently following through with them;
(4) the realization that changing our lives is an ongoing, lifetime process and that we must be patient with ourselves and others;
(5) remembering that the Kingdom of God is solidly founded upon the platform of GRACE and so abundant forgiveness and Divine help is provided for us at every step of the way. We are not left as orphans in the struggle of changing our lives but God is always faithful. The power of God within us is always greater than anything outside of us (see 1 John 4:4).
I thought this dictionary definition which is not written in a religious text put it about as clearly as it could ever be stated:
1. be sorry: to recognize the wrong in something you have done and be sorry about it
2. change ways: to feel regret about a sin or past actions and change your ways or habits
[Selected from the online ENCARTA Dictionary]
The only thing that a secular dictionary overlooks is the wonderful GRACE OF GOD that makes genuine change possible but this definition does point out the need for all of us to CHANGE OUR WAYS AND HABITS. We need to always remember that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."--Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) "All things are possible for one who believes."--Mark 9:23 (ESV)
"The name of Jesus is as ointment poured forth; It nourishes, and illumines, and stills the anguish of the soul.”--– Angelus Silesius
[For additional reflection read these Bible verses carefully and when you see the word "repent" substitute "change your life" or "deal with your issues" and the meaning will really bless you a whole lot. Luke 13:3, Acts 3:19, Ezekiel 18:21-23. Especially read them in the AMPLIFIED and MESSAGE Bibles if you have them. TD]