Little by little
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. -Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV)
Can people change? Well, sort of.... We can adopt behaviors, and change appearances, but my experience and my powers of observation have convinced me that it's very difficult for a person to change their character with their own strength and willpower. "But with God, all things are possible." That's where Abiding comes in.
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” -Galatians 4:6 (ESV)
I have a little maple tree in my front yard. There's a picture of it on our website (https://www.convoynwa.org/blog). I'll warn you - it isn't very impressive, but I was really excited to come home Friday evening and discover it was starting to bud. The reason I mention it is that it came from a seed that fell off a tree at my old house. It had sprouted there two summers ago. I dug it up, planted it in a bucket, watered it on the back porch through the last year, then planted it in the ground at our new place last fall. My point is, that tree wasn't always a tree. It started out a seed, then became a sprout, then a seedling, and with some care and attention, it has actually become a tree, even though it's only about three feet tall. If I can avoid it with the lawn mower, I expect that it will eventually reach about 20 feet in height and provide some nice shade for my driveway. But that will be a few summers down the road.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. -2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)
Now I'm no botanist, and I can't explain how a seed becomes a tree, but I know that's the way God designed things. Favorable conditions plus time kindle a metamorphosis of sorts that can actually transform one thing into another. I also know this: if my little tree is allowed to reach maturity, it will spawn new trees as the process replicates itself. Again, God's design at work.
You've figured out where I'm going with this, right? It's a slow, painstaking process the Spirit goes through to reveal Christ-like character in us. But He is patient, and little by little, it happens. Abiding puts me in a bucket on God's back porch where the baby steps of transformation start to occur. And that's where Blake Pointer will take us next Friday. Be sure and join us at the Lodge, 6:15 AM Friday, April 5.
... being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. -Philippians 1:6 (NIV)