Give me a word, Lord: CHANGED

Ephesians 4:20-24 That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Our mission trip to the Dominican Republic was probably my favorite mission adventure. There are many reasons why it was my favorite, but the main reason was because it was a totally mission minded mission trip. We were there to provide medical care, but more importantly than caring for the physical needs of the people, we were there to share Christ. We were there to attend to their spiritual needs.

It wasn’t the typical scenario of seeing as many patients as we could see in one day. Rather we were only allowed to see a certain number of patients each day because the mission was to get to know the patients and their families on a personal level and share Christ with them. Medical care was just a little lagniappe. We were allowed to pray with every single family. It was amazing!

One thing that stands out in my mind was the fact that a good bit of the people I spoke with wanted to be Christians, but they weren’t ready to make “the change” yet. They usually stated an age in the future, such as, “I’m going to become a Christian when I’m forty.” They had an age in their minds at which time they thought they would be good enough to become a Christian, wise enough, or changed enough. I had great difficulty with the language barrier, but I did my very best to explain that we would never reach that age. No matter how good we try to be, how many church services we attend, or how much we read the Bible, we will never ever be good enough to deserve salvation. We just aren’t that good! We are all sinners saved by grace.

God knew this well in advance. He knew that we couldn’t earn salvation, so He designed a plan through Christ on the cross so that we may be made righteous through Him. Christ makes us right. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we begin to change. The change doesn’t come first. The salvation does. Once you allow Jesus to take over your heart, you just can’t help but change. When you realize how much He loves you and what He did for you, you can’t help but become a better person. Your heart fills up with love for Christ and love for others, and before long everyone around you sees the fruits of the Spirit. You start serving others and loving others and sharing Christ with others. Those old bad habits slowly but surely begin to fall away. You will be changed! It doesn’t happen overnight, but if Christ is truly in you, it will happen!

If you haven’t made that change yet, if you aren’t producing fruit, if you are waiting for a certain age or date, please don’t wait one minute longer! We aren’t promised tomorrow. There is no better time than the present. Make the change! You won’t regret it!

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