GROW UP AND GET CHANGED

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GROW UP AND GET CHANGED

“We are not meant to remain as children at the mercy of every chance wind of teaching and the jockeying of men who are expert in the craft presentation of lies. But we are meant to hold firmly to the truth in love, and to grow up in every way into Christ, the head.” Ephesians 4:14-15 [PHILLIPS]

We are not meant to remain as we are. Now, that does not mean that we should not be content with what we have. Nor am I saying that we should not look back with joy at how far our Father has brought us. For in the former we find peace, and in the latter, joy.

Indeed, when we are content with what we have, we have peace knowing that we are well provided for, well protected and well prepared for any eventuality that comes. And when we see just how far we have come, we can rejoice in the immense love that our Father has for us,

“… in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

And because we have accepted Him into our lives, Jesus’

“…blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28

Has made us unquestioningly righteous before our Father,

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

So indeed, we should rejoice in the joy of knowing that no matter who we were, what we did or how we believed in the past, Jesus has made it all right with our Father on your behalf.

Yet, if that is the end of our walk with Christ, then Jesus Himself would not say that there is a need for

“…the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.” John 14:26 [AMPC]

So clearly our journey does not end here. There’s still a long way to go. For indeed,

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

And that is why “…He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” Philippians 1:6 [AMPC]

“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

So what’s next?

“The Spirit however, produces in human life fruits such as these: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance and self-control—and no law exists against any of them. Those who belong to Christ have crucified their old nature with all that it loved and lusted for. If our lives are centred in the Spirit, let us be guided by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25 [PHILLIPS]

We’ve got peace from contentment and we’ve got joy from hindsight; so now, for the rest.

“As children copy their fathers you, as God’s children, are to copy him. Live your lives in love—the same sort of love which Christ gives us and which he perfectly expressed when he gave himself up for us in sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2 [PHILLIPS]

Live your lives in love, the same sort of love which Christ gives us, and what is that kind of love? That’s right, sacrificial love. Putting others ahead of ourselves. And not doing this begrudgingly either. But having this attitude and behavior come from the revelation of just how loved and cared for you are by our Father, so much so that you are just bursting at the seams and you just need to shower others with His grace. For when you truly realize just how blessed you are because of how loved you are, you cannot help but follow in the footsteps of Jesus and imitate His actions.

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” John 13:3-5

Jesus knew that all things had been given Him. He knew that He was The Beloved of The Father and He knew that His time had come. Yet, instead of lording it over His disciples, He chose to serve, He chose to pour out the love our Father showered upon Him onto us. For He Himself said,

“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:27-28

All things have been given to Jesus by the Father, and what does He do with it? He calls us to Him to give us rest. And that is not the only thing that He gives.

“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:” John 17:22

So that is why “…as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

And when we are truly aware of just how loved we are, we will, in similar fashion, look to shower that love on others. But how exactly does that all come about?

“This is my instruction, then, which I give you from God. Do not live any longer as the Gentiles live. For they live blindfold in a world of illusion, and cut off from the life of God through ignorance and insensitiveness. They have stifled their consciences and then surrendered themselves to sensuality, practising any form of impurity which lust can suggest.
But you have learned nothing like that from Christ, if you have really heard his voice and understood the truth that he has taught you. No, what you learned was to fling off the dirty clothes of the old way of living, which were rotted through and through with lust’s illusions, and, with yourselves mentally and spiritually re-made, to put on the clean fresh clothes of the new life which was made by God’s design for righteousness and the holiness which is no illusion.” Ephesians 4:17-24 [PHILLIPS]

Simply put, go get changed.

Perhaps you lived like a wretch. Perhaps your life was not up to scratch. But once you received Jesus, it’s time to get changed. Fling off your old ways and put on Christ. Put on His robe of righteousness, get washed by His word; and in so doing, you will have both the knowledge and the strength to walk away from sin. And get cracking, for there are places to go, people to meet and things to do.

You see, if you lived as a hermit, there would be little point in washing up and getting dressed. But you are not. When you wash up and get dressed, when you change from your old self into the new, your life is filled with a renewed purpose, for the fruit of that change cannot help but manifest itself on the outside. And as we have seen, while you are growing in Him, you also become infectious, and you start infecting others with the love of Jesus.

So this means that “If you used to be a thief you must not only give up stealing, but you must learn to make an honest living, so that you may be able to give to those in need. Let there be no more foul language, but good words instead—words suitable for the occasion, which God can use to help other people.” Ephesians 4:28-29 [PHILLIPS]

However bad you were, whatever you used to do, when you choose to fling off that bad past, the Spirit will cause good fruits to grow on you so that you will become a blessing to others and a conduit for God’s love.

So “Let there be no more resentment, no more anger or temper, no more violent self-assertiveness, no more slander and no more malicious remarks, Be kind to each other, be understanding. Be as ready to forgive others as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 [PHILLIPS]

And when that happens, you will see the fruits of

“…patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance and self-control…” Galatians 5:22 [PHILLIPS]

Grow on your boughs.

Beloved, our journey with Christ is far from over. Every dawn is a new opportunity for Him to show you just how loved you are, and for you to show others just how good a Father our God is. Start imitating Jesus and let Him guide you as you grow into full maturity in Him.

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