This past Saturday night, Kayla, Evie and I were driving out to Southwestern Iowa to share at a church. It was late into the evening, and Evie was sleeping, so Kayla and I were able to just talk. What I love about late night car rides is that it seems to allow for candid conversation and deep connection.
This July 31st will be our five-year anniversary, and so out in the middle of nowhere late at night we began to reflect on the past six years of our relationship. We talked about a lot of different things, but the one thing that we spent most the time talking about was how much we’ve changed.
Tony, you’ve really changed, especially in the past year — and even the last three months of being a father. You’re much more considerate and caring now.”
Thank you Jesus!
Now when someone says, “You’ve changed,” you hope they mean you’ve changed for the better. Someone could say, “You’re not the person I remember. You’ve changed. You use to be so happy and now you seem so bitter, what happened?” What they mean is that you changed in a negative way.
For those of us who know Jesus though, when someone says you’ve changed, what they hopefully mean is that you have joy, peace and a new sense of identity and purpose that you didn’t have before.
Think about the time you’ve been with Jesus. Have you changed? What’s different? I know for certain all of you can say you have changed, and if you need help pin-pointing those things I’d love to help you!
When we surrender our lives wholly to Jesus, the Holy Spirit takes residence in us and because of that He begins to change us from the inside out. We are washed clean in the blood of Jesus, and our sins are blotted out! But He doesn’t just clean us off and send us on our way. No! As we remain surrendered to His will and His ways, the Holy Spirit continues the transformation. There is a continuing transforming of our lives for the rest of our lives. So if we ever stop growing or allowing ourselves to be changed — by God we are in trouble.
Romans 12:1-2 says,
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Paul is begging them and us to live completely sold out, surrendered and willing to do anything for Jesus without a mixture of the Kingdom and the world in our hearts. He says that this is a totally logical response to God’s mercy and love for us. He then goes on to say we can’t allow the world to influence or change us, but to be transformed by a continual renewing of our head and hearts so that we will experience God’s will in an authentic and genuine way.
You see, we only have so much room in us. If we fill our minds and hearts with the things of the world, then those things will affect our perceptions, beliefs and actions. If we fill our minds and hearts with the things of God, then we will be transformed by Him. I’m not saying we need to all move out to the mountains and completely cut ourselves off from the world. What I am saying is be careful what you allow to consume your heart, mind and time.
Time is one thing we all are a slave to. We all have 24 hours in a day. No one has more, no one has less. If you sleep for eight hours (hopefully) and do work or school for eight hours, what are you doing with the other 8 hours? Do you spend hours on the computer or hours watching TV or hours playing video games? None of these things are inherently bad, but if it’s causing us to remain stagnant in our relationship with Jesus, is it really a good thing?
Maybe you spend a lot of time worrying about the next step in life, and so you’re always thinking about and researching all possible outcomes, and it’s consuming your mind. I wonder what God has to say about the next step. Maybe the best place to go is to Him?
We could spend pages and pages talking about all of the truth that is jammed into these two verses, but we don’t have space here to do that, so I want to challenge you to spend this week and really meditate on this passage. Go through it phrase by phrase and allow it to ruminate in your heart. Spend time talking and listening to God and allow His Word to search your hearts. Ask yourself the question, “Am I still being changed? Am I still growing?”
Bless you guys and look forward to seeing many of you soon! I love you!
– Tony Meyer