Theme of the Week: All Things New: A New You
Bible Verse: “By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.” 2 Peter 1:4, CSB
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14-19
“Please forgive me and set me free.” I don’t know how many times I’ve prayed this prayer; it must be in the hundreds. “Father, here I am again, confessing the same sin to you again.” Every time I have to remind myself of God’s merciful character and gospel promises. I am forgiven. But I also really want to change. Have you despaired of ever changing? Do you think you’re a lost cause? Maybe you think it’s different for you. Other people can change, but your history or temptations or problems make it different for you. The glorious good news of Jesus is that you and I can change. Part of the problem is we often try to change in the wrong way.
It seems our first instinct when we want to change is to do something. We think activity will change us. We want a list of do’s and don’ts. In Jesus’ day, people thought they could be pure through ceremonial washing. Today it can be spiritual disciplines or sets of laws. I’ve tried these approaches. I’ve written out little rituals to perform every morning. I’ve tried to regulate my behavior with lists. Many of these things are good in themselves, and we’ll discover the role they can play in helping us grow in holiness. But our rituals and disciplines can’t change us.
External activities can’t change us, says Jesus, because sin comes from within, from our hearts. Our rituals might change our behavior for a while, but they can’t change our hearts.
Taken from You Can Change: God’s Transforming Power for Our Sinful Behavior and Negative Emotions by Tim Chester, © 2010. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, crossway.org.
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