Change, it is a simple word, but hard to do. I remember a time when I wanted to change who I was, what I did and how I reacted and acted towards others. Before I met Jesus Christ, I have to tell you I read every self help book known to man, striving to change. But for some reason, these words of encouragement never seemed to stick for very long. I would apply the principles from the book into my life, but after a few weeks and months, the old me would rear its ugly head again.
I had strived for years to be a better mother, a better wife, a better daughter, a better human being. But in the end, I failed. And after so many failures, a person tends to give up hope of ever changing. We begin to believe this lie that “this is who we are, deal with it.” It wasn’t until I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior that change happened, and change stuck- once and for all.
I used to have a drug and alcohol addiction, as most of you know. Not only was I addicted to the drugs and the drink, but I had tried every treatment plan, rehab program, self-help book and counseling service out there. My mom had started putting me into treatment programs at the age of 13. But it was not until I was 24 years of age that something “changed” on the inside of me. Something “died” and something new was born. This was brought to my remembrance this morning as I was praying and reading.
2 Corinthians 5:17 gives us this promise today- “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” This happened to me the day I committed my life, my soul, my strength, and my heart to Jesus Christ. All those years of trying to change had resulted in failure, loss of hope, depression, anger, hatred for my own life, and even caused me to push all those who loved me away from me. I had tried so hard to change, to quit drinking and to quit the drug abuse, but it only lasted for a few weeks, and some times, not even a full day. I was on the brink of despair.
Out of the pit of my despair, I cried out to the Lord Jesus Christ, and He heard my cry. Do you know that the Lord your God is searching for you, as a shepherd searches for His lost sheep, He is searching for you. He is not going to give up until He finds you. No matter the darkness you are in, the emptiness that has filled your heart, no matter the times that you have rejected Him. He is still looking and searching for you. But those of you who were like me, stuck in a pit- have to cry out for help out. We can’t do it in our own strength. Only by the power and grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ can we find the freedom from the chains of addiction, depression, hurt and grief. Only through Jesus Christ and His salvation did I finally find the peace and the “new life” that I was seeking.
Paul tells us that if “anyone is in Christ”- anyone means anyone, does not matter what you have done, said, thought, acted out or who you are deep down on the inside- anyone is anyone who says, “I believe Jesus that You are my God.” Jesus does not say, “I don’t want you because of the things you have done.” In fact, what He says is, “I desire you because of the things you have done, and I desire to wipe them all way, no longer shall you be ashamed or disgraced for being you. I love you more than anyone or anything else, if you will only believe, then I shall save you from the chains that bind you.” When I replied to Him, “Yes Lord, I believe.” I became a “new creation” I became a new person. The drug and alcohol addiction were taken away from me. Now, I would be lying if I said that it was immediate- because it wasn’t. But as I got to know my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, He began to take a little bit more of my life and clean it up. He is still cleaning me up today. I didn’t stop doing the drugs right away, in fact, I tried to hold onto them for a few more months, until the Lord finally got me to a point where I trusted Him and was able to lay them down before His feet. Since that day I have been free. For the first time in my life, after 24 years of searching for help from my addictions, the Lord Jesus Christ took them from me and tossed them as far as the east is from the west. They are no more, because only Jesus can change you.
We spend billions of dollars every year on counseling, programs, books and lectures so that we can change and be changed. But I have found that only One can change you, from the inside out. The change that He offers is new, it is fresh; it makes us new in our natures and our characters, because it is not a change that we can make- it can and only will come from Jesus Christ. Our natures are corrupted by sin and death, but Jesus offers us freedom and life. My mom and dad had long given up on me, my husband was beginning to lose hope, because they saw what was happening to me- I was killing myself slowly through the drugs and alcohol, and I was killing my family. But when I gave my life to Jesus Christ and He began to change me, they were amazed and in awe at the transformation. I began to let go of my past, my fears, my anger, my despair and my own disgrace and began to cling to the One and Only One that was able to free me- Jesus Christ.
My family did not understand the change at first, in fact- they were pretty freaked out by it- but now, after 11 years of walking with Jesus Christ, they will tell you that Jesus Changed My Life. They do not all believe (thankfully, my husband and children came around after 5 years) but they will tell you that I changed, and they will tell you that they had given up all hope- but it was when I became His that the change I desired took place, and they were witnesses to that change.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
I do not know where you are today in your walk with Jesus Christ, but if you are seeking a change in your life- run to Jesus, let Him free you from the bonds that are holding you down in shame and despair. I will guarantee that if you let Jesus Christ into your life, and you call out to Him for His salvation, you will be free and you will never be the same again.
Father God, I pray for any woman that is reading this today to run to You and ask for Your Salvation, Your help. Lord God, I pray that You would change us, make us new in You. Lord God, I pray that we would bow our knees and our hearts to You and that You would change us Lord, from the inside out. Father God, we thank You for Your mercy and Your grace. For in Christ we are made new. In Jesus Name. Amen.