Real Change

By: David R. Huskins
From: September - October 2011
Found in: The Gospel of Grace
Part 1 of a series on how to experience real change.

The day you believed and said ‘Yes’ to Jesus, something happened. You changed! Now you probably looked exactly the same on the outside, but something drastically changed in your inner-man. At that very moment, your spirit-man moved from death to life, from darkness to light, and you left a state of being lost to becoming a child of the living God! This transformation is so radical that Jesus termed it as being ‘born again.’ (John 3:3) Literally, in a split second, your old man died and the new you came alive in Christ Jesus.

The new birth transformation is something most every Christian, even the ultra religious crowd, can agree on. We all shout, “Hallelujah, another sinner was saved by grace,” but after their initial conversion, so many people are quick to abandon the grace which led them to salvation in the first place. Instead of walking in grace and growing in grace, they automatically go back to what they have always known - the works of the flesh. But, whose fault is it that these new Christians leave God’s grace? Can new babies in Christ really be held completely responsible to walk this new experience by themselves? I don’t think the issue lies with the new Believer, but more with those who indoctrinate them with religious, Law-based, traditional thinking.

Think of a natural baby. What would happen if two weeks after he/she were born, their parents said, “Ok, you’re alive in this world now, our job is over. Learn the best way you can!”? I’ll tell you what would happen. Those parents would end up in jail with the key thrown far away! Yet, over and over again, spiritual babies are left to figure out how to walk with God all by themselves. Or, even worse, someone who is still entangled with the Law immediately begins to pollute their mind with what they think is the New Testament way to live. Soon, what started as “Oh, brother, just believe,” changes to “Now, brother, this is what you have to do…”

Soon, what started as “Oh, brother, just believe,” changes to “Now, brother, this is what you have to do…”


But, believing and doing almost always contradict each other!

Is it any wonder why so many Christians – even those who have been saved for a number of years – are still spiritual babies? They still have to drink spiritually pre-digested, processed milk, still have to be spoon- fed every meal, and some can’t even walk on their own. Think about a natural child who is in the fifth grade, but still brings a bottle of baby formula to school everyday for lunch. You would probably say, “That child’s parents need to be whipped,” and rightfully so. But, in the Church, we just let people crawl around in spiritual diapers for years without holding their spiritual teachers accountable.

I believe it’s time to speak what the Bible says and break the chains of religion, so Christians can be set free. I can’t think of any place better to start than to look at how God’s Word says change – real, authentic, long lasting change – takes place in the life of a Believer. 

BACK TO THE BEGINNING

Go back to the day you were born again. Did you have to work up anything? No. you came to Jesus a mess, and in one instant, you left changed. You were only required to do one thing: believe. Stone-cold drunks can come to Jesus so intoxicated that they can’t even spell their name, and in one moment, be changed for eternity. Most of the time, they can’t even tell you what happened, but one thing they do know: God, by His grace, reached down and transformed their entire life. Not just for the drunkards but for anyone who is a Believer, the salvation process was a breeze… but what follows the new birth experience is where people really struggle.

All of my life I have watched good- hearted, God-loving Christians battle with inner-personal issues until the day they went to heaven. They weren’t bad people or backsliders, most of the time, just the opposite. They loved God and were committed to following Him all the days of their lives but they were constantly battling the same things over and over again. Honestly, I never could quite understand why such good people could always be tormented… and defeated… by the same one or two issues and never experience real, long-lasting change and victory. Then one day, while studying about God’s grace, the answer hit me.

And, it wasn’t even that hard to see!

If you were to ask these people about a certain area of temptation or weakness of their flesh, they normally would say, “Oh, keep praying for me brother. I’m working on overcoming it!” This might have been the “right” and religious thing to say, but in reality, it pinpointed the foundation of their problem. The reason they kept having the same battles (and losing the same battles!) was because they were working on it! It was all about them – what they were doing in their own power and strength to overcome the issues. It sounded good, but here is the fallacy of that mindset: The first day they didn’t work at it, they were right back in it!

The reason they kept having the same battles (and losing the same battles!) was because they were working on it!

Maybe you have caught yourself saying this same thing or something similar. You might even be one of those “holy ones” who use the Scripture to back your self-waged war by saying, “I’m working out my salvation just like the Bible says to.” Well, true, you might be working on something alright, but in reality, that weakness and temptation is probably working on you more than you are working on it! One day you have the victory, and the next day you’re back doing what you promised God you would never do again. Let me assure you of one thing: This cycle of frustration will never go away until one thing happens….

….You experience real change!”

THE MIXED BAG

Practically every Christian I know has lived, at one time or another, what I call the “mixed bag” of Christianity. They seem to constantly vacillate between blessing and cursing. One day they have a breakthrough, and the next day it’s hell on earth! It’s victory one week, and “pray for me, the devil’s on my back” the next week. Now, don’t get me wrong, as long as you and I breathe air there will always be temptations and battles. But when we understand and embrace God’s grace, we start living – like the Bible says – from “faith to faith” and from grace to grace! (Romans 1:17)

So what brings the real change we all strive for in our lives? Well, let me start by giving you another mental shift. It is this:

Real change requires no effort!

I can already see you scratching your head and thinking, “What? I can really change without doing one thing?” The answer is “Yes, you can!” I know because for years I tried to do everything just right (remember, I thought God had his finger on the “zap all” button!), and all it produced was a life of frustration, condemnation, and broken promises to God. No matter how many times I said, “God, I will never do that again,” I would still end up doing “that” again. Of course, I could always justify my weakness by quoting the words of Jesus: “The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) What I forgot to realize was what Jesus was addressing in that passage – the strength to pray, not the weakness of His flesh!

The will to pray wasn’t my issue at all. I could pray all day, every day, but still lived the “mixed bag” Christian life. As a matter of fact, I thought praying more would give me the strength to overcome my flesh. So, I ramped up my prayer time. Guess what? It didn’t help me change one thing. Then I figured that if more prayer wasn’t going to help me defeat these hounding issues, surely fasting would be the key. So, I fasted. And guess what happened? I lost weight (which wasn’t a bad thing!), but was cranky to everyone around me, and I constantly griped about how hungry I was!

Still, no change.

After many years of frustration and self-condemnation, without much lasting results, I knew there had to be another way. I also knew countless other Christians who were being held under this same, demonic mindset. And they, just like me, yearned to be free. So, I began my quest to find real answers, real truth, and real change. This journey was actually twofold: to rid myself of wrong, religious indoctrination that had permeated my mind, and to find out exactly what God’s Word had to say about real change.

What I discovered completely changed my life!

STEPS TO REAL CHANGE

Instead of finding a bunch of scriptures that dealt with “change,” I found more and more truth in the Bible about what causes life-long change: God’s amazing grace! The more I studied, the clearer this incredible message of grace began to live inside my heart. And, today, it’s still growing, developing, and becoming the message that is setting me and many other people free – free to actually be and live what God has called us all to be.

I found more and more truth in the Bible about what causes life-long change: God’s amazing grace!

So, what about you? Are you ready to leave that old “mixed bag” Christian life of frustration and guilt? If so, here are some steps that I believe will help you leave the old way behind, experience real life change, and fall more in love with the grace of God. These are more than just good theories and concepts. I know they work! Open your heart and get ready…

…Ready to experience real change!

Part 2 of this article will follow in the next newsletter. The article is an extract from his new book “Grace Shift.”

 

By: David R. Huskins

Archbishop David Huskins serves as the presiding bishop of the International Communion of Charismatic Churches, representing over 4 million people, and also is the founder and senior pastor of Cedar Lake Christian Center in Cedartown, Georgia. Along with frequent television appearances, Bishop Huskins also hosts a weekly radio program, A Call to Covenant, and is the author of The Power of the Covenant Heart, The Purpose of the Covenant Heart and Grace Shift.

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