Summary: You can try to change God’s way or you can change the world’s way. You can change with the help of God or you can try to change with the help of self. You can try an inside-out kind of change or an outside-in kind of change.
I grew up in the church. My dad was a pastor. I can remember people in those churches he pastored who attended services every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, who knew their Bible, who taught classes, who gave money, who led committees, but who were also mean as snakes.
Hard to get along with.
Impatient. You’d see them coming and you’d want to go the other way. What is sad is this:
No one ever expected them to change.
And this creates a credibility problem for us. We have lost lots and lots of credibility with people outside the faith. What they see is that our lives have not really and truly changed. “What you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say.”
This is not OK. We must change. We must become more loving, more joyful, more peaceful people.
This past week, I went online and typed in “Changing your life.” I wanted to se what people were saying about our focus at CVCC during February. I found a new book that will be released in April written by a guy with my last name, Barry Duncan. Here’s his book:
What’s Right With You: Debunking Dysfunction and Changing Your Life
The ad said, “In a sea of self-help books that continually focus on everything that’s wrong with you, Barry Duncan’s newest book is a breath of fresh air, showing readers how to tap into their inner resilience and use what’s right with them to change their lives.”
Evidently the book encourages you to utilize your inherent strengths and resources. Chapter titles are:
Honor Your Heroic Self
Never Underestimate Your Own Ideas
Sounds like self-help at its best. Listen, if you would like to grow, to change, to morph into a person who is more loving and joyful and peaceful, then you have to come to grips with how change happens.
You can try to change God’s way or you can change the world’s way. You can change with the help of God or you can try to change with the help of self. You can try an inside-out kind of change or an outside-in kind of change.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
II Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)
The part of the verse we are focusing on today is “beholding the glory of the Lord.” It’s the key to change!
Reasons why people don’t change:
A hardened mind
Their minds were hardened. (II Corinthians 3:14a, ESV)
A darkened heart
A veil lies over their hearts. (II Corinthians 3:15b, ESV)
Some of us don’t get it and can’t see it. Maybe you’re hard-headed and dark-hearted. If you can’t see the beauty of Christ, then you need to know that you have an enemy who works to keep you distracted, to keep you from seeing.
The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.
II Corinthians 4:4 (ESV)
This is why we need the work of the Spirit in our minds and hearts. When the light of God shines in my heart and my mind becomes soften to receive the word of God, then these are signs of what Jesus spoke about when He said, “You must be born again” (John 3: 7).
We sometimes sing a song around here, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart. I want to see You. I want to see You; to see You high and lifted up, shining in the light of Your glory.” It’s a good song. It’s a better prayer.
Steps toward true change:
A turning from the world
A turning to the Lord
It’s a law of life that we become like who we gaze at. LeBron James.
Today’s focus is the phrase “beholding the glory of the Lord.”
How do I stay turned toward the Lord
so God’s Spirit can change me from the inside out?
Strive for… the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14 (ESV)
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8 (NIV)
How do I stay turned toward the Lord so God’s Spirit can change me from the inside out? Cleansing.
You are going to behold - look at something. You choose whether to look at…
I like what John Piper says. Even when we see the good, we must see beyond it and we say to ourselves, “Not this, but the Maker of this, is the Desire of your soul.”