For years I tried to change others, or if I wasn’t consciously trying to change them, I was hoping and praying that they would. I have had some stubborn, selfish, and downright mean people in my life over the years. They needed to change, really!
However, my reasoning wasn’t the best. Rarely was my motivation for wanting them changed them-love motivated, usually it was for my benefit that I wanted them changed. See and https://authorjodiwoody.com/#508 That is pretty understandable coming from a child, but unacceptable from an adult. I learned a hard lesson: I can’t change people.
So am I saying we shouldn’t pray for change in others, or encourage and give advice to help them grow and develop Godly character? Not at all. We should do those things. What I am saying is that our motivation needs to always be love. Going even farther, our desire for change needs to start with us.
Matthew 7:3 (NASB), “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
Matthew 23:24 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, yet gulp down a camel!”
Luke 18:9-14 (NIV), “And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
These scriptures were Jesus talking to and about the Pharisees. I don’t want to join that group, do you? They are some of the most stubborn, selfish, and downright mean people of all. I want to be like the humble man who wanted God’s mercy and grace!
God wants hearts changed. Not so it would make life easier for Him. He doesn’t think the way we do. It’s always for our benefit. He is always motivated by love.
Sitting in a church service and hearing a great message, but thinking, “I wish so-and-so were here, they really need to hear this,” is not acceptable. The message is always for us, (if you sit under a pastor who is in relationship with God, and hearing His voice.) Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can apply it to your own life. Then during our busy days, take the time to ask Him to show you any area in your life that need to be renewed. He won’t reveal it all in one day, we couldn’t handle it. He is a gentleman and will show you bits and pieces at a time. Then take action. If you don’t know how, not trying to be redundant here, but ask the Holy Spirit. He guides us into all truth. He helps conform us into the image of Jesus.
We aren’t trying to be someone else, just a “better me.” God knows who that is! He will help you become that better you.
Do you have some people in your life that need a spiritual make-over, or maybe even a complete over-haul? First, make sure they are really supposed to be in your life. (You are starting to get it now, if you’re not sure you…ask…). If they are, turn that magnifying glass on yourself instead of them. Stop looking at and for their faults and shortcomings. We take an honest look at ourselves, remembering it is a process and there is no condemnation now that we are saved, and allow God to change us. It isn’t a secret, magic formula, and will probably take some work, but it is worth it.
You will notice as you are changing that those other people don’t irritate you as much, can’t hurt you the way they used to, and you may even discover more things to love. Better yet, they may be motivated and inspired to work on their own lives.
Open yourself up to the Holy Spirit, to God’s love, and be changed!
You will like the new you!
Holy Spirit, I may be afraid for You to point out my faults, but I don’t want to be the same. So, show me and give me the strength and the scriptures to stand on, to be a better me.