Just the way it is

by Barry Newton

I have a hot temper and that’s just the way it is. Because of some bad past experiences, I will always have trust issues. Genetics dealt me this hand for how I feel. How many of us have heard someone say these things or something similar?

Perhaps we were chatting with a friend, when suddenly we discovered a fatalistic attitude toward change. I must confess that in those moments I wonder whether I am hearing the despair of resignation, an excuse for apathy or carnal desire seeking permission.

The God who can transform a caterpillar into a gooey protein jelly within a chrysalis only to reorganize it into a butterfly has the power to remake our lives. In prayer Paul longed for Christians to comprehend God’s power toward the believer (Ephesians 1:18-19).

Ephesians 2:1-6 captures that initial transformative moment. God’s power starts with us being spiritually dead, but recreates us into new creatures alive with Christ. However, this is neither the end of what God desires for us nor the extent of his ability to reorder our lives into something healthier and greater. God’s power continues to work daily in the lives of his people, enabling us to put on the new self created to be like God (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 3:20, 4:24).

Yet, nothing in scripture suggests that such a change is automatic or imposed upon God’s person. Rather, as we learn from Christ we are to exert effort in discarding old undesirable ways. We do this by deliberately seeking to practice those behaviors and attitudes of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:21-24; Galatians 5:16).

Paul promised a powerful principle. Since the ways of the Spirit and of the flesh pull in opposite directions, if we live by the Spirit we cannot simultaneously do what our flesh craves (Galatians 5:17). Therefore Paul instructs us to intentionally engage in pleasing the Spirit (Galatians 6:8).

Satan might wish for us to believe change is impossible. Our flesh might desire for us to abandon all hope. Yet, God’s power can be revealed through our lives to his glory.

We must decide to choose. New life emerges from choosing God. Continued transformation occurs by choosing to live by God’s Spirit. Praise be to God for his love, power and mercy.

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They have two boys attending university.

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