Haven’t you heard it said at one time or another?: people can’t change. They are who they are. Whatever bad traits they have had in the past, they will have in the future.
But here’s the thing. I know something different. SomeONE different.
I know that when you meet the Person of Jesus Christ you can’t help but be changed. For some, it is immediate and obvious. For others, it is a slower metamorphosis – a subtle shift over time in behavior and thinking. For all, it is a life-long process – one that does not enjoy a “Halleluiah! I’ve arrived!” crescendo but rather a “By the grace of God, I am striving to be better today than I was yesterday” revolving chorus.
I know that people can change…because I have changed.
The Bible I read says things like this:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
I’m not proud to tell you that some days the distinction between my “old self” and my “new self” is not what I would like it to be. I fail miserably and regularly. But I can’t let that stop me from realizing that the difference in me is only because of a gracious, merciful and patient God. And I can’t let that stop me from trying to be better tomorrow. More patient. More kind. More loving. More selfless. More generous. More… like Jesus.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3: 13-14
It’s true that we are all born selfish and sinful. It’s just the nature of humanity and we have to actively work against that prevailing inclination. But the good news?…God has made a way for us so that we can! And we don’t have to be perfect at it because the Perfector of our faith has already overcome the worst of it for us!
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
People can change. They can recognize something in themselves that no longer seems to “fit” in their skin. If you let yourself sit quietly for just a few moments…and ask God to search you…and show you anything in you that is displeasing to Him or the humans that you share life with…I bet He will. You will notice something that you’d never even seen was there. I’m not going to lie to you. It can be ugly. And it can be painful. But on the other side of the ugly – on the other side of the pain, is a better, more Christ-like you. And it is so worth it.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. 1 john 2:6
People can change – because knowing God changes people.