I want to talk about change. Now when I talk about change I’m not necessarily talking about moving furniture around or how we do the order of service.
Instead I am talking about a personal change. This is a change that takes place in each of us individually.
* You know sometimes we find ourselves a little discontent with our lives
* Maybe we have feelings of doubt or feelings of inadequacy
* Maybe we ask ourselves if we’re missing God’s best for our lives
* Maybe we wish sometimes we were a better person or a better Christian
Perhaps you have found yourselves asking questions like;
* Why am I going through trials and temptations?
* Maybe we feel a little defeated when it comes to our Christian walk.
* Has God given us a command that we absolutely cannot obey?
* Are we experiencing trials that just don’t make sense?
Our text suggests that the process of change is a progressive and on-going and it tells us why we need to change.
The process of change is a process that was initiated at the new birth and completed after our physical death.
Let’s look at the process a little closer. At the moment that we believed that Jesus died for our sins and we confessed him as Lord, there was an immediate change that happened in each of us.
We died to the old self (the flesh) and we became a new creation. This change was instantaneous. We believed by faith, and the Holy Spirit did the work of recreating us into a living spiritual being.
Now we find ourselves in a unique situation. The flesh is still present and it is constantly battering its head against the new spiritual being that we have become.
So, for the remainder of our lives here on earth, we are continually seeking to become more like Christ, while battling the flesh.
Most of us know how that tea bag works, right, you take the outside wrapper off to expose the actual tea bag itself.
Then we put the tea bag in a cup and we add hot water. As the teabag sits in the hot water, the flavor of the tea seeps into the water. The longer the teabag sits in the water the more flavor will be drawn out and exposed into the water.
Now if you taste the tea and you don’t like the flavor, you don’t change the type of water, you just use a different flavored tea bag.
You see the hot water is the CATALYST for drawing out the flavor of the teabag, the contents of the teabag determine the flavor of the tea.
Our Christian lives are like that in some respects. God allows hot water experiences to surround us and draw out the flavor of the heart.
As we find ourselves in difficult or strange situations, God shows us who we are and what we need to change. God reveals the true desires of our heart.
But how often do we miss the point?
ILL: Suppose that tomorrow morning you go out to start your car and the car starts clanking, sputtering and blowing out blue smoke. You realize that the car needs a change.
It needs to be repaired, so you take your smoking car down to a repair shop and they paint a nice new shade of candy apple red.
They detail the car, put on some nice pretty expensive tires, with new rims. They even have a guy come out to detail the inside of the car. When you arrive, you’re impressed with the color and quality of the paint job.
You sit in the car and deeply inhale the “new-car” smell of this fine automobile. Sure enough your car has been changed.
But as soon as you crank the car, you hear the same old clanking and sputtering and the air is filled with a huge cloud of blue smoke. Nothing on the inside has changed.
Don’t you see the parallel? God puts us in “hot water” circumstances to expose our need for change.
God draws out the contents of our heart as we are placed in these “hot-water” circumstances to show us that change is needed in order for us to be useful for Him.
God sees the blue smoke and hears the clanking and sputtering and he knows that we need some engine work in order to be reliable and worthy of joining Him in his work!
The purpose of our change is to make us suitable for God’s uses in his work! Why do we need change…Romans 12:1 “urges” us to do so!
Before, we became a Christian, we were self-centered in our actions. Our bodies were for our glory and to bring us satisfaction.
If it felt good we did it. If it seemed right to us, we did it. Our number one priority was to ourselves. Now God tells us that He wants that to change.
A simple explanation of a living sacrifice means that we come to a point where we are totally sold out to God.
Then we are to give God our will. Jesus told us that when we pray, we are to pray “not my will” but thine. God wants to surrender our will and instead adopt His will.
The concept of change takes into account that change is ongoing, the goal of change is to become a Christ-like humble servant to be used by God. Our part is surrender of our body, mind and will, while God’s part is justification and sanctification.
We are placed in hot water situations to draw out the undesirable flavors in our lives. This is not the action of a cruel God. Rather this is the action of a just God who loves us and wants to give us a more abundant life. We choose how to react to those situations!
Dan Pacheco is the pastor of College Heights Baptist Church.