If you have seen the movie Father of the Bride, you may remember Franck’s reaction the first time he sees the Banks home:
Oh, it’s adorable…Oh, it’s very nice…Very romantic. We change it all, though. Let’s go.
Max Lucado related the same message years ago in one of his books. His wife fell in love with a certain house—loved everything about it—so they bought it and she changed everything!
This is the way it is with God. He sent His Son to die for us while we were in the filth of our sin. In fact, the old hymn says, Just as I am…I come. However, He does not intend to leave us like He found us. He wants to change everything!
Why Can’t I Change?
Herein lies the crux of the problem: After we get saved we look at ourselves in the spiritual mirror and discover that we don’t look different. We still have our struggles, shortcomings, weaknesses. No matter how hard we try we can’t seem to be “righteous” enough. No matter how hard we try we can’t seem to change in the areas where we are supposed to be different than our old un-saved self.
First of all, the only way we are ever going to be able to be righteous is by faith. We must trust God for righteousness.
4 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
You have to settle this! The more analytical you are—the more introspective—the harder it is. It goes against human logic. This is the leap of faith you have heard about.
Next, the answer is, “Yes: God expects us to live righteously.” That is part of our salvation. However, the only thing that makes living righteously possible is that we have first been counted as righteous by faith. But this part of our salvation does not happen instantly. That is, we become positionally righteous when we trust God for salvation, and we may even experience immediate transformation even in some of the most stubborn areas of sin. But even then we will discover that we have much more growing to do; many more aspects to our inner man that must conform to the image of Christ. There’s no getting around it. But, of course, because we have met Jesus, we love Him and we don’t want to get around it. We just want it to happen!
Here is an important truth that has the potential change everything in your life. It has the potential to set you free!
The same way that you had to trust God for righteousness is also the way you will continue to grow and be transformed. We must trust God for salvation and then trust Him for everything that needs to happen after that.
Bundling Up Your Needs
When we begin to realize just how much we don’t look like Jesus, we can be tempted to show up every day in the Secret Place feeling guilty and burdened down. The fact is, we may even stop showing up in the Secret Place because of those burdens. But there is a better way.
A few years ago, I found myself agonizing over things that I regretted, aspects over my own character that needed to change, things I needed to see happen. But those things were producing a wedge between me and God because I was trying to fix them myself. Finally, wrestling in prayer I began to realize that I could simply bundle up all of my concerns and give them to God, asking Him to bring about His will in all of it. My prayer became,
“Father, here’s the bundle of all of my concerns. I can’t fix them. I invite you to bring about your will in every area of my life. I’m trusting you to bring my life into complete compliance with Your will.”
Now, this is not an invitation to make light of our sins. Nor does it mean that there won’t be things God wants us to do or not do. But it does mean that wherever there needs to be the heart-change necessary to bring us into compliance with His will, He will bring it to pass. He alone can advance us from where we are to where He wants us to be.