By David Faust
When you purchase a hamburger in the drive-thru lane at a fast-food restaurant, do you always count your change? If you’re in a hurry or feel pressured because other cars are lined up behind you, you might lose a few cents or even a few dollars. It’s always good to count your change.
Our lives require an ongoing series of modifications and adjustments. Our bodies change as we move through childhood and adolescence to adulthood. Our minds change as we learn new information. Our environments change when we shift jobs or move to a new location. Our attitudes and motivations change as we grow in spiritual maturity.
What changes will you experience when you follow Christ? Consider the ones described in Romans 8:
From Condemned to Accepted. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). If not for Christ, sin and death would hold us in an inescapable grip; but God’s grace changes everything.
From the Flesh to the Spirit. We excuse selfish behavior and say it “comes naturally,” but it actually arises from the broken part of ourselves that’s bent on rebellion against God. But thanks to the Holy Spirit, we don’t have to live that way. “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you” (v. 9).
From Alienation to Part of the Family. When we are baptized into Christ, we are adopted into God’s household. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (vv. 16, 17).
From Pointless Suffering to Purposeful Pain. In the drama of life, hurts of all kinds weave their way through the script. But God’s presence and promises change the way we view our hardships. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (v. 18). In fact, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (v. 28).
From Weak Prayers to Powerful Intercession. Do you ever find it difficult to communicate with God? The Lord understands. When we are at a loss for words and unable to articulate our deepest feelings, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (v. 26).
From Victims to Conquerors. We may face trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword (v. 35). But will these or any other problems separate us from the love of God? “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (v. 37).
Life is an ongoing drama of change, but followers of Christ see God’s hand in the alterations and modifications, the amendments and adjustments. “We are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
C. S. Lewis pointed out, “It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird; it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”
When God makes the change, we can count it a blessing.
1. What changes are you currently facing in your life?
2. How has the Lord changed you for the better?
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of The Lookout.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for March 16, 2014
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
Numbers 21, 22
Numbers 26, 27
Numbers 31, 32