My friend Mike — who has not yet trusted Christ as his Savior — reminds me of a number of blessings which I enjoy — or should enjoy — as a believer. “Enjoy” might be the wrong word for our next blessing, but I am thankful for God’s grace. And I don’t believe most of my friends —
35. THEY DON’T HAVE AN OPENNESS TO CHANGE!
I am not overlooking the human potential to recognize a habit or a sin that needs to change — and changing it! Alcoholics are sometimes successful in attaining sobriety. Poor fathers may realize their failures and become dads who really care. Rebellious teenagers occasionally come to their senses and become respectful and grateful young adults.
I’m talking about a fundamental, soul-deep conformity to the Person of Jesus Christ! Moral changes may take place in lost people because they have been made in the image of God, but a substantial re-ordering of one’s priorities and values can only happen to one who has surrendered his or her life to Christ. Theologians — who get paid by the big word — call this sanctification.
We read in Malachi 3 about the Lord where He says, “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” (v. 6). The Psalmist speaks of the Lord in Psalm 55- “God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change— he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God.” (v. 19). We are told clearly in I Samuel 15, “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” (v. 29). Our God is absolutely perfect. And what is perfect does not need to change. James tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (1:17)
But we’re not. Perfect, that is. And we need to change in so many ways. For the believer, a large part of change involves repentance. We acknowledge our wrongness in an attitude or behavior or priority, ask the Lord for forgiveness, and covenant with Him to change. Saying one is sorry is not the same as a soul-deep conviction that leads to significant conformity to Christ.
So, how do I pray for my unsaved friend? I show by my life some changes which Jesus is making in me — and I give Him the credit! And I pray for my friend, not that he would try to be “better”, but that he would come to repentance and trust the Savior who does not change. (to be continued)