Start Here: Step 1 – Change Your Life
Transform, change, be different, it is a way of life for us. We don’t want to be who we are and we will try all sorts of things to change. Crash diets, plastic surgery, new car, new clothes. In truth some of us really want to just change the outside covering.
But some try to do it internally – Americans spend $50 million a year on subliminal message tapes designed to help them do everything from improve their self-image to stop smoking. But there’s no hidden message in the National Research Council’s verdict on such techniques. The Council’s report, released in September 1992, concludes that subliminal messages simply don’t work. They don’t deliver the life-transforming power they promise.
A man was selling an old warehouse, the building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Gangs had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and thrown trash everywhere.
As he showed a prospective buyer the property, The man took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage.
“Forget about the repairs,” the buyer said. “When I buy this place, I’m going to build something completely different. I don’t want the building; I want the site.
Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse that is slated for the wrecking ball!
When we become God’s, the old life is over, He makes all things new. All he wants is the site and the permission to build.
You are reading this today because you want to be a better husband, a good father and a godly man in general. you are reading this today because you have decided to start your journey to becoming the man that God created you to be. So forget the self help books and the subliminal tapes! The Bible tell us how we can truly change.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:a]”>[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sinb]”>[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
If we are IN Christ – We are in a RELATIONSHIP.
To – “be in Christ” was Paul’s most favorite expression. He used it often and to him it meant the very fact of being a Christian. To be “In Christ” is to have a close, intimate, real, relationship with Jesus.
We ARE a New Creation – We are RADICALLY Changed.
This is not a minor modification this is a major overhaul. You do not evolve into a Christian. Yes you should grow in your walk, your behavior and your maturity. But you are no more a Christian today than you were yesterday. Why? Because the change isn’t up to you. You don’t change yourself – you are changed.
Two LIFE-CHANGING events take place.
“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; behold, everything has become new!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
1. The old self is GONE.
Wouldn’t it be great as you got older if you could get new parts? Yes, I know that through the magic of modern medicine you can have all kind of things stretched, pulled, pinched, tucked, tweaked, enhanced, suctioned and peeled. But all that is only a matter of moving pieces and parts around so that no one can see the effects of how badly we have treated our bodies.
What if we could take a part of our life that we didn’t particularly care for and have it erased? Wouldn’t that be great? I mean there are things in my life that I wish had never happened. And that is exactly what God does when you enter into that life-changing decision. All the old stuff of your life, all the things you wish would go away and wish they had never happened, are gone!
God doesn’t just forget it. It is as if it never occurred, and as far as He is concerned it never did. Then comes the second part.
2. Every aspect of your life is BRAND NEW.
The change promised by God is not one where things get hidden or glossed over with enough plastic or make-up or stitches. What God is talking about is a completely new and improved you. You are not the same man as you were before. You are not the same father or husband that you were before. The old parts are not hidden but each part of your life is made new.
Have you ever watched a child come in from playing and they are absolutely covered from head to toe in mud? You tell them to go take a bath and sure enough for once they listen to you and do. But as soon as they get out of the shower they put the same clothes back on and then wonder why you are upset. Unfortunately people are just like that. They ask God to change them and then go back to wearing the same old clothes. Men will ask God to change them and then go back to being the same rotten husband and lousy father they were before.
God doesn’t clean the outer half, He doesn’t reshape it or even enhance what is already there, He works from the inside out to Recreate. And how does He do that? Well, it’s all made possible by:
“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ…” 2 Corinthians 5:18a
We should note this distinction: God is not reconciled to man, as though God were partly to blame for the enmity. Rather, man is reconciled to God, for it is man who moved away from God!
Yet the Bible tells how GOD has taken the initiative to reconcile man back to Himself. He made the effort to change us, to “reconcile us…”
So much so that He became our SIN.
“Christ never sinned, but God caused him to become sin for us, so that we could be right with God in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21(Simple English Translation)
Christ took on what we are in order that we might become what He is. Think about this for a moment. He didn’t just take our sin down with Him. He actually took it on, put it on and in Himself. All the things that you would do, He said I will become because you will never be able to change. You cannot create yourself!
Being a new creation is not a LABEL it is a LIFE.
“We are Christ’s ambassadors. God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you–be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
You have to ADMIT that you cannot make that change on your own.
Changes that you make on your own really never last. That is why I gave up making New Year’s resolutions, I never kept them and I hate lying. When you finally admit that you cannot change (that is save) yourself you will find that He is ready, willing and able to come in and do for you what you cannot. You just have to ASK for Christ to come and seal that relationship.
You can admit you’re wrong, you can admit you’re a sinner and you can admit that you cannot change that. But until you ask Christ to come into your heart and make that relationship real you will never change. You see He wants to come into your life – but you have to ask Him in.
Then ALLOW God to have every area of your life.
God will not force His way into anyone’s heart. Yes, He will make you uncomfortable until you do turn it over, but He will not force you. People wonder why they struggle in an area of their life and they pray and talk and moan, but they never turn it over and allow God to change it. Because the Holy Spirit and self cannot reside in the same place, the heart is not big enough for the two of you. You will either be full Christ or full of yourself.
But the promise is that if you do allow God into every area of you life, He will radically change it and work it for your good.
You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.
What a remarkable contrast! Truly “old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Has this proved true in your life? You cannot go on to Step 2 unless it is. Give your life to Jesus first and let Him make you a new man. Begin having a relationship with Him. Then take the next step.
If you want to ask Jesus to start this life changing process in your life, just pray this simple prayer:
Lord Jesus, for too long I’ve kept you out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear you knocking. By faith I gratefully receive your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words are true. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen.