Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Blessings of Change

Life constantly transforms itself. Seasons come and go. Animals are born, mature, and die. Amid the constancy of God’s infinite love, we are always changing.

God allows His children the opportunity to change from sin-based to spiritually-based living. He gives us the gift of choice—to choose to become more or less like Him by the thoughts we select, the words we speak, and the actions we repeat. He gives us the tools for our journey: prayer, the Spirit, his words, and our own divine nature.

Consider the many miracles the Savior performed. He turned rebels into righteous followers, transformed prostitutes into pure disciples, and changed weak, sinful men and women into courageous, faithful leaders. Peter, who rejected the Savior, eventually led the Church. Paul, who ordered the stoning of Christ’s followers, became one of Jesus' most ardent apostles. Mary Magdalene and the Samaritan women who met Jesus at the well both knew the transformative power of the Savior’s powerful love. When we surrender our lives to God, He makes sinners into saints.

How do we change from sinner to saint? We give our hearts to God and allow Him to work His mighty miracles in our lives. When we do so, He promises, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your stubborn hearts and give you obedient hearts.” Paul taught, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

I have seen God take troubled teens and turn them into powerful Church leaders. I have watched Him transform fearful, timid women and men into bold teachers of truth. I have felt Him working in my own life—helping me to become more patient, kind, and gentle. The lessons have often been painful and difficult, but God allows me to learn, even when I am not always the most able or willing student.

When my husband led our Church congregation of 800 souls, a woman rebelled from everything that she knew to be true. She engaged in adulterous relationships, breaking the hearts of her husband, children, and family. Eventually, she divorced her husband and invited into her home a man who was already married. My husband counseled with this woman and her lover, and after several years, the couple decided to give their hearts to God. They experienced godly sorrow for their actions and eventually turned from sin to virtue.

Today they are among the most selfless, compassionate people I know. They devote their energy and their means to blessings the lives of others. They have new hearts and have become new creatures in Christ. Once despised by them, my husband is now loved and honored by this couple, who have even asked him to speak at their funerals.

Because we are created in the image of God, He longs to help us become more like Him. He will guide us day by day, step by step in paths of peace. He will teach us how to find joy amid sorrow as we seek to walk in His footsteps.

God has given us the power to choose—to choose Him or to choose something else. He promises He will eventually bless us with everything that He has if we give our hearts to Him. He gives us so much and asks for so little.

© Carol Brown

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