Our prayer this week may be difficult, possibly even offensive to some. The purpose of this prayer is not to create dissension or hostility, but rather unity through the message of Jesus contained in the scriptures. Our prayer this week is simply, Lord, help me change.
It is commonly proclaimed, “Jesus accepts everyone.” The problem with this statement is that it is undefined. It could mean many different things. If it is used to describe the gospel call to everyone (John 3.16; Romans 1.16), then it is very much according to the message of God. If it is used to defend actions and lifestyles that are sinful, then this saying has no foundation in God’s Word.
From cover the cover the Bible illustrates the need for man to change. Possibly no biblical narrative illustrates this better than John 8.1-11. Textual criticism aside, this woman is a perfect example of God’s expectations for mankind. She had done wrong. Yet, Jesus accepted her in the sense that He did not turn her away. Although He never justified the sinful action, Jesus illustrates that His purpose was not to condemn. However, He left her with the ever-present admonition taught in various ways, “Go and sin no more.”
Self denial is a must (Luke 9.23-26). Repentance is demanded in order to follow Jesus (Matthew 4.17). Renouncing sin is only one half of the equation. The other half is taking on the image of Christ (Romans 8.29). Jesus Himself said it best. “But why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things I say” (Luke 6.46)?
The Bible, from cover to cover, attests to God’s ability to direct our lives for our good always (Deuteronomy 6.24). Jesus’ sacrifice demonstrates our need to change. Jesus’ life provides a picture of how to change.
Lord, help me change