An Interesting Way of Change

Hey, do you work out?

Now I’m not trying out some awkward pick up line, but seeking information for those who have a regular exercise practice. What I am trying to figure out is why I have hit a wall in my physical training. It seems like am not seeing the change I would like and what people are telling me seems counter intuitive to me…yes uniformed, not a physical trainer me, who goes to the gym and wants to see results with as little effort as possible!

See, I don’t mind doing the exercises, but I really don’t want to think about it or try new things. I know the machines I like (especially the elliptical with a TV so I can catch up on the news or take in a fun talk show), I know a few different free-weight exercises that I have done for years, and a few of those specialty weight-machines, but I don’t try many new ones. I want to do the exercises I do because I can do them mindlessly, put in my time, and call it good. However, I am hearing if I want to really see ‘results’ I need to change up my routine, up the intensity, and add a bit more variety. GREAT! Now I actually have to think about it!

This exercise dilemma reminds me a lot of a quandary many face with spiritual growth. We come to faith and along the way we hear or discern there are certain exercises/actions to help us on in our relationship with God. I mean, the Bible is clear that we are to grow.
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Yet as we seek to grow, there is a tendency to think we can grow or change ourselves. But that’s just not what Bible teaches.
Jeremiah 10:23 I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.

The Apostle Paul wrote the church in Galatia about this very topic…
Galatians 3:1-3 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

See, when we come to faith in Jesus, Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us (see John 14:26, John 16:13). It is through Him we change and grow, not by our own efforts (by the flesh).

Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Psalm 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!

Now this does not mean we do nothing, we do need to open ourselves to the Spirit’s leading as we learn from God’s Word all about Jesus and His way of life.
Psalm 19:7-8 7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;

The Spirit takes the truths of the Bible and revives us, makes us wise, brings joy to our heart, and gives us hope! It does not come from our efforts, we don’t grow ourselves. Now we can stop the Spirit’s natural growth by thinking our energies change us or by harboring sin in our lives or by seeking some other central influence other than Jesus. The interesting way of change is to dwell on Jesus.
Ephesians 3:16-19 16 that according to the riches of His glory He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Maybe it’s time to do what Psalm 46:10 says and quit striving and know God…that is an interesting way of change.

Seeking to let Jesus in and be changed with you,

Mike

PS This Sunday will be talking about this very topic as we continue our series Revived by Resurrection. We would love for you to join us. You can attend one of our campuses or down load the sermon please check out our website for details, but we would love to meet you in person. www.cypresschurch.net

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