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by Adah L. Hutchcraft
TIME FOR A CHANGE
God was going to work something in Sarai that defied nature. At the age of ninety she, a barren woman, would have a baby. Sarai would be the mother of God’s promise, Isaac. The Lord had big plans for his servant, but before God revived Sarai’s womb, he changed her name. She would no longer be called Sarai, but Sarah (Gen 17:15). The Lord was doing something new in that Sarah and Abraham’s lives, and the new names represented a change. Jesus called Simon, Peter. Saul was renamed Paul, and Sarai would thereon be known as Sarah. What God did through Sarah had universal and eternal significance. But change had to happen before the promise could be fulfilled. This change could only come from God.
The change God works in people’s hearts is a blessing. Only Christ can conform the heart because only he can cleanse sin. We can not purify ourselves. It is the work of God. This is how to enter God’s Kingdom– accept change of heart.
But why must change occur? Doesn’t God accept us as we are? There is a sense in which this is true because we can not earn our salvation. God must deliver us– it is his work. But this does not mean we are acceptable to God if we continue in our present, unredeemed state. Change must occur, and here is why:
1. The flesh cannot please God. (Rom 8:8).
2. The flesh is enslaved to sin (Rom. 6:6).
3. The flesh brings death, the Spirit gives life (Rom 8:12-13).
4. Righteousness comes by walking in the Spirit, not the flesh (Rom 8:4).
5. We are no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit (Rom 8:9).
6. The flesh wars against the Spirit of God (Gal 5:16-17)
Just as Sarah could have never conceived the promised child without divine intervention, we can not please God apart from his intervention within our own lives. God is shaping us into the image of his beloved Son, Christ Jesus. And this process requires spiritual transformation.
Salvation requires change. The saying, God loves you just as you are is foolish in light of Jesus’ death. Spiritually, that statement makes as much sense as saying Sarah could have bore Isaac without divine intervention. People avoid change, but change is exactly what God desires. God does not change, so people must (James 1:17).
Jesus exposed the heart when he said, “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean” (Matthew 15:19-20). This is why change must occur before salvation can take place. God can not accept the heart in this state. The Word declares that “men who never change their ways ...have no fear of God’ (Ps. 55:19). How true this is. One must refuse the truth to live comfortably in sin.
Change is not an option when it comes to the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, ‘"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 15:19).
Jesus Christ beckons humanity to come and allow the Potter to change their marred hearts into beautiful vessels for God’s use. “When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways" (Acts 3:26). When sinners turn from evil to serve God, their name, like Sarah’s, also changes. They are no longer known as the lost, but the redeemed. They are no longer children of darkness, but children of light (Eph. 5:8). No longer children of the Devil, but Children of God (1 John 3:10). These have willfully fallen upon the Stone the builders rejected rather than being crushed by him (Matthew 21:43-44).
God promised that his blessing would not only come through Sarah, but that Sarah would be blessed by the promise. “I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her” (Gen. 17:16). Sarah would be the mother of the race through which the Messiah would come. Sarah was blessed because she allowed God to choose her, and she followed him.
Sarah and Abraham had difficulty grasping God’s plan when it was revealed to them. Abraham was one-hundred years old, and Sarah was ninety. Face down on the ground Abraham asked the Lord why Ishmael, the son of Hagar could not bear God’s blessing. But God would not leave any room for doubt in his work. God had made a promise which only he could keep. “God said, ‘ your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.
God could have called Ishmael the promised child. But everything God does is designed to require faith. That is because god wants the Glory for what he does. The more impossible situations look, the more faith is required to believe God. Sarah had to have great faith in order to accept God’s plan for her, regardless of how impossible her situation seemed.
We, too must exercise great faith to accept God’s desire for us. Change seldom comes easy and is not without sacrifice. But the things God wants us to sacrifice can not compare with the blessings he gives in return. So place yourself completely in the Potter’s hands. Allow him to conform you, wedge you, mold you, into Christ’s image. No matter what you may look like now, you will not be disappointed with the outcome. God had a work to do through Sarah and he has a work to do in you. Don’t you think it is time for a change?
YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH
GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT
THE STEWARDSHIP OF TIME
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