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My Change - Begins With Me

My Change – Begins With Me

     From conception till now, we have been in a constant state of change.   Initially, when the sperm meets the egg and cells begin to divide, we are forming and changing. Then, we are born, and we continue to change. Our relatives and others, upon observing us, having not seen us for a time, have no doubt stated “My! You’ve changed so much”, or something to that extent. Usually, they are commenting on the physical growth that is so much a part of youth.   These are changes over which we have no control, and are not changes that ‘begin with us’, although they affect us.
     We want to focus on changes over which we have control. There is likely something about each of us that we desire to change. Some of these things are not within our power to alter, such as eye or skin color, our height, or things such as this. Other things, such as our weight, physique, attitude, and things of this nature are somewhat within our control, and when some adjustments need to be made, we ourselves need to make those changes.
     Usually before a change is made, there needs to be some motivation to make the change. For instance, magazines used to carry advertisements for the Charles Atlas bodybuilding course where the skinny, malnourished, sickly looking man, had sand kicked in his face, and his girlfriend taken from him by the ‘bully of the beach’. Then, the skinny man participates in the course, and is then ’transformed’ into a well-defined, macho, picture of man with strength and vitality, who ‘takes back his girl’, and avenges himself of the treatment he once received from those once stronger than he.  
     These types of advertisements and programs teach a couple of things. One of these is that change is needed. The second is that one must have the motivation to affect the needed change in his/her life. Thirdly, when one has the proper motivation, and applies the proper program or course of action, change for the better is inevitable. Unless one is willing to make the needed changes, his situation will remain the same as before.
     Now, we will make that same application from the ‘spiritual’ perspective. From where does the motivation to ‘change’ spiritually come?   Some would argue that they don’t need spiritual change. This cannot be, because God’s Word clearly teaches that all souls need change. We are told in Rom. 3:23 why this is. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” We also know a couple of things from Isa. 59:1-2 that need to be acknowledged here. 1) Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear2) But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.  That is:1) God’s ‘power’ is not diminished by man’s actions. 2) It is man’s sin and iniquity that separates him from God and any punishment man receives for sin is his own fault. The fact that man sins and separates himself from God should motivate man to seek change that would put him in ‘favor’ with God.
     Psalm 119:109a proves that spiritual changes we need are within our own power. “My soul is continually in my hand:” The latter part of the verse shows us what the psalmist used to bring about the needed changes. “yet do I not forget thy law.” From verses 9-11 of the same psalm, we see what God has provided so we can make the proper adjustments that we might not be separated from God but be in His favor. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” It is by ‘following the Word of God’ that brings us to God and keeps us in a proper relationship with Him.  
     But where does this ‘begin’ with us? Notice the use of the word “heart” in these previous verses. This is speaking of the ‘mind’. The ‘blood pump’ (heart) is only an organ to propel used blood to other organs to be cleansed and to send clean refreshed blood to the body to make it function efficiently. If there is “a feeling” in this physical heart (organ), it could mean a physical problem. The Bible ‘heart’ is the mind. Our actions (the ones we can control) are directed by our minds. Prov. 23:7a makes this abundantly clear. “For as he thinketh in his heart, (mind) so is he:Jas. 1:14-15 supports this from the N. T. When one is ‘drawn away of his own lust’ (which begins in the mind), he sins, and needs change. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 
     Rom 10:10 also shows that the beginning of the needed change from God’s Word which can occur in us, is in ‘our mind’. For with the heart (mind) man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Notice that the ‘thought’ and the ‘expression’ of that thought are “unto” not “INTO”. When one ‘believes’ or ‘confesses’ they are not changed, or ‘saved’. Each individual should be motivated to not be separated from God, apply God’s inspired remedy for sin, and make the change for a better life and the promise of life eternal with God.  
     Change your ‘mind’ today. Align it with the Word of God. Read God’s Word. Follow God’s Word, and “make the needed change. Obey His gospel. My change begins with me, and your change begins with you!

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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