Change is a part of life

Reference: Life and Work Directions
Spring 1998

During a lifetime each of us experiences many changes. We have no control over many of these, but we have some say about others. One of the secrets of successful living is knowing when and how to make changes and being able to adjust positively to them.

The Bible is a book of changed lives. The most significant kinds of changes are those that God seeks to make in our lives. We cannot make such changes in our own strength. Only God's grace and power can make real and lasting changes in human lives. However, God does not force these changes on us. Instead, He gives us the option of opening our lives to His transforming grace and power.

Luke's Gospel gives examples of people whose lives were changed because they had an encounter with Jesus.

  • Mary was a young woman who was confronted with God's call to a new and unexpected direction in her life. Because she responded with submissiveness and trust, God's Spirit used this young virgin to give birth to Jesus.
  • The disciples Peter and Levi (Matthew) experienced dramatic changes when they responded to Christ's call to be disciples. Both men obeyed Christ's call immediately. In the process they left their work as a fisherman and a tax collector for tasks of eternal significance.
  • The sinful woman anointed Jesus' feet in the household of Simon, a Pharisee. She did so because Jesus had freed her from the burden of sin's guilt. Jesus reassured her as she expressed her deep devotion and gratitude.
  • The cleansed leper was one of ten lepers whom Jesus healed on the same day. Only one of the ten returned to express his gratitude and faith. When the man did this, Jesus assured him that the had received more than physical healing.
  • Zacchaeus experienced a complete change in values when Jesus showed His love for the despised tax collector. He had been a greedy man whose goal had been to make money. He discovered that life is for giving, not getting.
  • The two thieves both made decisions that determined their eternal destinies. The penitent theft repented and trusted Jesus. The Lord assured him of being with Him that day in paradise. The other man died as he had lived- without God and without hope.
  • Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus were filled with despair as a result of Jesus' death. Their despair was changed to joyful hope when they encountered the risen Lord.