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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

I Want to Change My Life — But How?

By Thomas Lindberg
Dec. 30, 2012

"Are you Tom Lindberg?” the man asked me as I answered my phone.

“Yes, can I help you?”

“You don’t know me. I live in Oklahoma. I read an article you wrote in the Pentecostal Evangel, and I need help. There are some things in my life I need to change, but I don’t know how to change them. Can you help me?”

Can you identify with his question? There are some things I need to change in my life, but I don’t know how.

Some people think God does it all. They assume if you give yourself to God like a lump of clay, He will totally refashion you. People who think like that are half right, but they are also half wrong. God does change us, but we must cooperate.

There’s a strategic verse in Scripture that says, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12,13, NIV). Notice you are to “work out.” In other words, you give it all you’ve got and work on the outside. Then the Bible promises God will “work in.” That is, He will work on the inside to change you. Weigh carefully four principles in order for your life to change.

What you do daily sets what you’ll become permanently

The Bible says, “A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). This is true in the garden in your backyard, and it’s also true in your life. You really want to change? Start planting good seed this week and it will change you next month.

I heard an amazing testimony from a lady. She was haunted by her painful past. She just could not get over it, or away from it. Then she made a decision. Every day she wrote down on paper something good and positive about her life. And when those haunting thoughts came, she wrote them down too. But those terrible thoughts she took outside, then literally burned the paper with a match.

In a matter of weeks her life began to change. She discovered that what you do daily sets what you’ll become permanently. God will work in you to change your life.

Do you feel unworthy today? Perhaps you don’t feel you’re good enough for God to help you. Hear this: God’s eye is on you! He will empower you to take the right steps and thereby bring change.

What you think about longest will become strongest in your life

The Bible teaches, “For as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7, NKJV).

King David had a son named Amnon, who had a half-sister named Tamar. The Bible says Tamar was beautiful. Amnon thought, I want her! In fact, he thought that way so long that he became sick (see 2 Samuel 13). He thought about wanting Tamar so long that one day he raped her.

This principle works in a positive way as well. A man recently confessed to me about his foul mouth. “I thought about it over and over and over — how my foul mouth displeases my wife, disheartens my mother, and dishonors my God,” he said. “I thought about it a long time. Then I asked God to change me. He did! My mouth has changed.”

Your thoughts are like fertilizer. That’s why the Bible says, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable … think about those things” (Philippians 4:8, NIV).

Remember, what you think about longest will become strongest in your life. That’s how to change your life by the power of the Lord Jesus. Let the Holy Spirit fill your mind.

Who you associate with today will decide changes in your life tomorrow

The Bible says, “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble” (Proverbs 13:20, NLT). There was a man in the New Testament named Demas. When we first see Demas, he’s with the apostle Luke and things are going well for him.

Then Demas began hanging around the wrong people. The last we read of Demas is when Paul wrote of him: “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me” (2 Timothy 4:10, NIV).

Every friendship you have either nurtures a strength in you or feeds a weakness in you. Who you associate with today decides changes in your life tomorrow.

Several months ago, I began missing a man in church. I had personally prayed with this man to receive the Lord. I had laid hands on him when he was baptized in the Holy Spirit. As I checked on him, I discovered he had made some new friends. They led him away from church, and now he doesn’t have much time for God.

But it works the other way too. A man told me, “My life was pretty messed up. I began spending time with a great man. He brings out the best in me. Praise God, my life is changing for the good since I’ve begun spending time with him.”

Is God talking to you right now? Are there good friendships you need to develop? Are there bad friendships you need to stop? “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).

What you are willing to release determines what God will allow you to keep

When Jesus first met James and John, they were running a small fishing business. He said to them, “Come, follow me … and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). The Bible records they did what Jesus offered. They left their fishing boats and followed Him.

Think what they let go of that day: a small fishing business. Think what they gained: the opportunity to become apostles. What you’re willing to let go of will determine what God will allow you to hold onto.

I’ve talked with people who told me, “I want to change, but I’m not willing to let go of such-and-such.” Remember, if your hand, heart or mind is filled with something, God cannot give you something new. And never forget that God has something better for you in the future. Allow God to transform you by the power of His Spirit.

Don’t ignore things that need to be changed in your life. Don’t pretend that everything is OK when deep in your heart you know you need to change. Settle it today. I challenge you to take it to God right now and ask Him to change you. “Lord Jesus, help me. I admit I need to change. I cannot do it by myself. Thank You for hearing my prayer and working in me today.”

That’s a request God will always answer.

DR. THOMAS LINDBERG is senior pastor of First Assembly of God of Memphis in Cordova, Tenn.

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