16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.
20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
How do you typically respond to change? Do you enjoy it? Does it make you nervous?
Perhaps you should try a simple experiment to get an honest assessment. Maybe drive to work a different way, or listen to a different radio station in the car today. Use a different pillow tonight, or use your opposite hand to brush your teeth.
What many people find is that they are usually OK with change if the change is their idea to begin with. But let someone else introduce a change, and problems soon erupt.
An honest assessment of human nature shows that we have a notoriously fickle relationship with change. Sometimes we crave it; sometimes we loathe it.
Regardless of our preferences toward change in general, change is an essential part of becoming and growing as a Christian. While we can and must make every effort to love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength, the kind of change in our lives that brings glory to God is ultimately the result of His gracious work in our lives.
God’s mercy, love, and grace bring about change.
Mercy is the disposition to act compassionately in response to the plight of someone in need. God’s love is the John 3:16 kind of love in which God sacrificed His Son for sinners to have life. Grace describes God’s showing undeserved favor toward all who have sinned against Him.
Reminding ourselves of these truths—that is, instructing ourselves repeatedly in the gospel—is a powerful means for bringing about real life change.
If only Jesus can change us, then we can only give ourselves to Jesus.
- How can you rely on God’s grace, rather than your own efforts, to show love to others?
- Consider ways you have been changed by God’s grace. How has God used unwanted change in your life to draw you closer to Him?
- Pray for continual change in your own heart to be more like Christ. Ask for dependence on the Holy Spirit’s power to change others as you share the gospel.