A Biblical Foundation for Change
- Thursday, March 16, 2006
Fifth, the Christian has a foundation for change if he submits to the operation and power of the Holy Spirit in his life. We have already mentioned the Spirit, but He deserves special attention in regard to our need for change. Paul wrote in Eph. 5:18, "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit." He commands us to be filled with the Spirit and tells us what the result of such is in the subsequent verses. The results include admonishing one another with song, giving thanks to God, and submitting to one another. He demonstrates how that plays out with regard to husbands, wives, parents, children, etc. The word picture conveys influence or control. We are not to be controlled by alcohol but by the Spirit. Paul wrote Colossians from the same prison he wrote Ephesians. He repeats himself in large measure in Col. 3:16f. The two texts are almost identical. The one thing that Paul says differently is the initial imperative command. In Eph. 5:18 he says be filled with the Spirit. In Col. 3:16 he says let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. These phrases are synonyms. In Gal. 5:16 Paul says, "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." He then proceeds to divulge the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, if we want to change, we must walk in the Spirit. That is, we must let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. That is, we must be filled with the Spirit. That is, we must obey the Lord. Let us look to Christ and His Holy Spirit.
Sixth, the Christian has a foundation for change if she sets her heart on God's purpose for her life. The reason we exist is to glorify God. We do that by giving Him the praise that He deserves and we do that by putting His character, His power, and His grace on display. As we reflect Christ in our lives, the greater glory He will get as others see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven (Matt. 5:16). Paul admonishes us, "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)." And the wonderful reality here is that the Christian derives no greater joy than the joy of seeing Christ glorified. The Psalmist says to the Lord, "You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16:11)." Christ came into the world that we might glorify Him for His mercy (Rom. 15:8). As we turn from our self-focus and find our joy in Christ, God gets the glory. Let us look to Christ and His ultimate purpose.
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