January 13, 2016
Lately, I've found myself doubting that God could really change me. But if I'd been able to articulate it that clearly, it wouldn't have been an issue in the first place.
The subtler voice (and the voice of the devil is almost always subtle) was saying, "Sure, you can change. Your heart can change, your life can change, you can make your will more like God's. But it's gonna take a damn long time, it's gonna be an enormously difficult undertaking, and you're going to have to do it quietly and privately." And that's the thought that was beating me before I even started.
Somehow, some way, I had lost faith that God could act powerfully and instantly. I stopped thinking about my Father being the Author of the universe and saw Him more as the prodigal son saw his father: "He'll welcome me back, but only half-way. I'm worse off than his servants and animals." I thought I could change, but I was afraid of what it might mean and how hard it would be. And I started to question if it was really worth it.
I had been missing both praise and gratitude in my prayer and reflection. These two are essential for maintaining a properly oriented view of the world: God is God and we are His daughters and sons.
Good news! To give praise and thanks is easy. You simply have to declare what God has already done. We have come to know so many things about the Lord, yet sometimes we forget to remind ourselves of all of His attributes.
He is faithful. He was faithful to the Israelites as He led them out of Egypt. He was faithful to me when he brought me from my old job to one that fulfills me much more. Thank you, Lord.
He is powerful. He was powerful when He raised the dead, defeated entire armies, and (even more impressive) forgave our sins. He was powerful when he freed me from my unhealthy habits and negative view of myself. Thank you, Lord.
He is love. He was love when He gave His only begotten Son for us. He was love when He inspired my (earthly) father to say that he loved me for the first time in years. Thank you, Jesus.
I encourage you to take a moment, especially at the beginning of this new year, to reflect on your life and the Bible, using them to praise the Lord for His goodness and give Him thanks. Not only is it "right and just," it softens our hearts to see the ways we've forgotten to let Him seep into our hearts, overflowing and changing us to be more like Him.
It's a lot easier to receive the fulness of life when we remember that it's what God wants to give us in the first place.
Praised be Jesus Christ.