If you desire to grow, change is inevitable.
[ LETTING PEOPLE CHANGE. ]
Have you ever caught yourself having a hard time believing certain people are able to change for the better? For some reason we peg people to be a certain way, and assume they will be this way forever. Because honestly, some people DO choose to be the same way forever. But what about the person who has chosen a path of repentance and growth with the Lord? This person has a past, they are imperfect, they made a huge mistake, or they were known for being a certain way. Maybe you knew this person or maybe you are just defining them by something someone else told you about them. Either way, if we are honest, we have a hard time letting people change even within the context of our own minds. We feel comfortable believing one thing about a person and refuse to think any differently of them, even if we see them acting differently.
I have recently heard a pastor speak who was previously a convicted felon. A lot of people have a problem believing that he “deserves” to be a pastor and they are just waiting for his “true colors” to come out. They don’t want to believe that God has truly transformed him from the inside out. People would rather hear from someone who has no past and who has always had it together. But, the guy with the past should be someone we want to hear from! Why? Because that person has experienced the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. He is a walking testimony. God is able to and He does use people that do not have this crazy past, but how powerful is it to see a sinful man redeemed by God’s grace and using His life as an example to others? It’s amazing. We have to let God change people. We cannot keep people in their worst moments. And we cannot say that we WANT people to grow and then keep them defined in their past once they actually allow God to do it. Be an encouragement to others in their pursuit of life change with Jesus. It is extremely sad to see Christians putting down other Christians simply because they refuse to let them change. It is a rare and beautiful thing when a person is actively seeking out God’s will for their life, and God will definitely not be pleased if we go and mock their pursuit. We are all fighting a spiritual battle, so we must remember that our christian brothers and sisters are not our enemy.
[ YOUR PATH OF GROWTH. ]
In the same sense, do not be discouraged when others don’t understand your desire and willingness to walk with Jesus and grow.
“For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.”
1 Peter 4:3-4
These are the verses that I clung to when I made the decision to dedicate my life to the Lord once and for all! Here Peter is talking about finally saying “ENOUGH!” to our past. We have spent ENOUGH time living a life of sin. And how has that worked out for us thus far? Peter also says that not only will the people that you used to sin with think its strange that you are trying to change your life around, they will also speak badly about you. It is in that moment when God will reveal which friendships are honoring to Him and which friendships will only hinder you from the path that God has for you. Some people are just not ok with your decision to be obedient to the Lord. And that is just going to have to be OK with us. Don’t stay stagnant in order to please other people. Trust God and keep moving forward. If God is calling you to move, you move. If He is calling you to stop drinking, then stop drinking. If He is calling you do join a ministry, do it. If He is calling you to change the way you speak, do that. And slowly people will begin to see a significant change in you. We especially need to be careful in believing what people say about us. Because God will tell you that you are redeemed and free to walk/grow with Him, while the enemy wants to define you in your worst moments. And he wants you to do the same to others. Don’t do it. We need to renew our thinking and remember that if a person has a repentant heart and is actively seeking out the Lord, there is no way that they will be who you once knew them to be. And that’s a GOOD THING. No matter what, know that you are pleasing God. And your diligence will lead you to experience the Lord’s transformation in your life. Stay strong! Know it is better to walk alone with God for a little while, then to be stuck in your ways surrounded by people.