We Change Daily
Today we are not the same persons as yesterday, and tomorrow we will be different again; and this change applies to every human being. We change for better or for worse, because no one can stand still without changing.
It is easy to change for the worse, because this is human nature. It is very natural for us to become more selfish, more covetous, more proud as the time goes on. Our habits are formed by our practices. As in the country road; every time you pass it with your wagon the ruts become deeper.
Jesus chose for His disciples, faulty men, trusting that they can change under His guidance. John and James were called the sons of thunder because of their quick temper, but they changed to be loving and patient as their Master.
Peter, who for fear denied his Lord three times became very fearless and faithful to the end of his life. But one of the disciples did not change and that was Judas. After three and a half years in the company of Christ, listening to the greatest Teacher, her remained covetous, selfish and world-loving.
The life story of Judas reflects the life story of millions of Christians. They go to a church, they read the Bible, they pray, they even may keep the Sabbath, but their characters have not changed. Eventually the Holy Spirit leaves them alone to their unsanctified condition.
This is what makes the difference between the wise and the foolish virgins. This also makes the difference between Christians with Christ’s righteousness and the ones with self-righteousness. Several books have been printed about Christ’s righteousness but most of them have left out the part that we must do, and that is to cut the right hand off and to pluck the right eye out.
The change in a Christian life is a result of stern self-discipline, daily denying to ourselves the pleasures and comforts that naturally we would enjoy. And besides all this, in faith seeking the help of God, and daily Bible reading.
“We receive God’s Word as food for the soul through the same evidence by which we receive bread as food for the body. Bread supplies the need of our nature; we know by experience that it produces blood, bone, and brain. Apply the same test to the Bible; when its principles have actually become the elements of character, what has been the result? What changes have been made in the life? – ‘Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become
new.’ In its power men and women have broken the chains of sinful habit. They have renounced selfishness. The profane have become reverent, the drunken sober, the profligate pure. Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have been transformed into the image of God. The change is itself the miracle of miracles. A change wrought by the Word, it is one of the deepest mysteries of the Word. We cannot understand it; we can only believe, that, as declared by the Scriptures, it is ?Christ in you, the hope of glory.’ A knowledge of this mystery furnishes a key to every other. It opens to the soul the treasures of the universe, the possibilities of infinite development.” ML, p. 26.
This miracle of change is seen clearly in the lives of the sons of Jacob. Earlier Judah was ready to kill his brother Joseph and later he offered himself as a prisoner and slave for his younger brother. Apostle Paul changed from a persecutor to a great advocate of the newly established Christian church.
The End Result of the Change
Daily we need to keep our eyes directed to the goal that we are trying to reach. Jesus as the greatest reformer is our perfect example. Others like Enoch, Noah, Moses, Nehemiah and Elijah show us what standard human beings can reach. After we reach this standard, the Lord can place upon us the finishing work of the gospel preaching. Then we will be reformers in reality and not only in name.
The first change in us is to make us humble. Moses was the meekest man on the earth and therefore he was chosen to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt.
Sister White writes that God is looking for humble men and women to finish His work on the earth. A humble person cannot be offended, he cannot be made angry. You can hurt him, spit on him, speak evil of him, even kill him and he still loves you. He will pray to God to forgive you, as did Jesus.
This first requirement already disqualifies many to be reformers. God has no use for a proud, self-important person, even that he may profess religion.
Nebuchadnezzar was made humble by God’s providence, but it took seven years. Moses learned humility during the 40 years caring for the sheep in the wilderness. Joseph became humble in slavery and in prison.
Daily we are to become more faithful to God and to our fellow men. Our life needs to be transparent as glass, that there is nothing to hide.
Moses learned this lesson; therefore the Lord gave a witness of him, “My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all Mine house.” Num. 12:7.
We need to become faithful in Sabbath-keeping, or we will lose the Sabbath blessing. Our words that we speak, and even our thoughts must be spiritual on the Sabbath day. Doctors and nurses need to care for the sick in our own sanitariums, but in the worldly hospitals an unnecessary work is required of the nurses and doctors which leads to Sabbath breaking.
We must become faithful in tithes and offerings. Before we plan how to spend our income, tithes and offerings are to be separated and the rest of the money is for our living.
We need to practice faithfulness in health reform. What we eat and drink will surely determine our salvation. In order to practice healthful living we need to
study and read books on it. We need to be faithful unto death, that we would rather die than commit the smallest sin.
We have to learn the lesson of loving our neighbours as ourselves. Very few people practice this requirement, because it goes directly against their selfishness.
Paul writes, “Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” 1 Cor. 10:33. Paul did not say that he pleased all his friends only, but he pleased all men, including his enemies.
The Jews hated him and tried to kill him, yet Paul writes, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” Rom. 9:3. This is ultimate unselfishness, similar to Moses, who pleaded with God to take his name out of His book, to forgive the people. To do voluntary work without wages in order to save souls is the best way to overcome selfishness. When we understand that God Himself is serving us with His angels without wages, 24 hours each day, then our service to Him seems very little in comparison.
This is another lesson that we learn in the school of Christ. The Lord wants us to be happy and smiling always,. Our happiness must not depend on outward things. A true child of God is cheerful and full of joy, even in his dying moment.
Would we lose our life savings, our property and all our possessions, yet our joy and happiness would not change if we have learned the lesson that whatever we have is more than we deserve. We would say like Job, “The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21.
This is not a natural talent with us; we must acquire the missionary spirit daily in the company of Christ. Peter and John said, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20. The more we are involved in witnessing for Christ, the more we will enjoy missionary work. It will become our greatest joy that finally we cannot be silent but look for opportunities to tell the redemption story to the people.
When the voice of duty becomes stronger than the desire for ease and comfort, we have gained a great victory.
All the disciples, including Paul, changed their comfortable lives to a life of hardships, persecutions and finally to a martyr’s death.
Moses had a life of luxury in the Pharaoh’s palace but he changed it to a life of suffering with the people of God.
Two kinds of Christians we find in the church; and they are peacemakers and ?troublemakers. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Matt. 5:9.
Abigail was a peacemaker. When Nabal had offended David and his men, Abigail went to meet David, and said, “Upon me, my Lord let this iniquity be.” 1 Sam. 25: 24. To make peace, Abigail took the blame of her husband upon herself.
Also, to make peace with his brother, Jacob called him his Lord which helped to ?reconcile the two brothers. Isaac was a peacemaker. He dug a well and when the herdsmen of Gerar fought over it, he moved on and dug another well, for which the herdsmen fought also. Instead of fighting for his rights, he moved on and dug a third well.
To change from a sinner to a saint is the most important work that we do in this life. It guarantees us eternal life. But so many neglect this daily change for
better and become more hardened in their sinful indulgences and neglected duties. Therefore it is of utmost importance to check our direction to see if we are advancing in holiness or backsliding further away from the goal. May the Lord help us to change daily for the better.
Timo Martin, Canada