One of the things I've learned from reading the Bible is that all of the evils in life come from inside, from our hearts.
In Luke 6:45 it says, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."
That's why I believe that if a person really wants to change the world for the better, the change starts in the heart.
Too often today, when many people try to change, they don't have the type of moral grounding that the Bible offers. So, when they try to change, much of the change they make in their lives is superficial.
Another common issue is that many many feel deep down that something is wrong in their lives, but they don't change because they are afraid something is wrong with them. This is about who we are as human beings, and we don't want to feel like we are defective in any way.
The desire to change isn't about who we are; it's about what is wrong in our lives: wrong attitudes, wrong living. Many Christians fear that by allowing Christ to change them, it will change who they are. This isn't true. Christ will unveil who you really are. Once you overcome your fear here, the life Christ unveils in you is far greater than anything you may dream or imagine.
The first step to change is to look for the sin in your life. Sin is an old fashioned concept, but for Christians, it is a reality we must accept. Revealing the sin in our lives helps us find those obstacles in our lives that may be holding us back.
Jimmy D. Brown once told the story in his Christian newsletter about what sin is really like: It's like carrying around a sack of potatoes. When we sin, we add potatoes to the bag we carry. If we don't get forgiveness, then those potatoes pile up, the burden gets heavy, and some of the potatoes begin to rot and stink. The burden becomes to heavy, and we crumble under the load.
By asking God for forgiveness, and then forgiving ourselves, we let go of those burdens. By forgiving others who have wronged us, we let go of the anger and hurt we feel inside. Forgiveness really is divine. When you actually do it, you feel better.
This doesn't mean that we're letting others off of the hook for what they have done. What we are doing is getting out of the way and allowing God to deal with those who wronged us.
Part of forgiveness is repentance. This is being genuinely sorry for what we have done. Unlike what I heard an atheist say, that Christians just need to ask for forgiveness and they they're off the hook, this isn't true. Repentance has to be genuine. Repentance is often painful, and God knows the difference between feigned and real repentance.
The next step is to seek to be more like Christ. Only about 11 percent of American Christians read their Bibles on a daily basis. Most Christians don't know what the Bible really says. The secret here is to find out what Christ is really like, and we do that by reading the Bible. Then we practice what we have read. It isn't easy, but it is necessary for our growth.
What I learned from this experience is when we seek to grow, when we seek to go beyond our sin and grow into what God wants us to be, a lot of obstacles are cleared from our path. God has created each of us to be something awesome. He has created each of us for a unique purpose, and when we fulfill that purpose, we achieve a life far better and greater than we could imagine.
The journey of allowing God to change my life has been painful. What I found on the other side is joy, peace, and happiness. I lost my need to control those around me and constantly struggle to control my environment. It became a liberating experience.
The most difficult part of this journey isn't looking into the mirror to find out who we really are. It's meeting God and accepting how much He really loves us. This is the ultimate revelation in the journey.
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