Marked By a Life of Change

Today’s post concludes a short 3-part series on wholehearted commitment– what it looks like, what the Bible says, and how we can go “all in” with our faith. Last Monday, we explored the WIIFM mentality and how it’s so seductive in today’s society. On Wednesday, we touched on lukewarm faith. Today, we’re concluding with the “what’s next”. Hope you enjoy reading!

My life has gone through a bit of change lately: new job, new child, etc. Those two alone are pretty big! As we conclude this mini-series today, I wanted to touch on exactly that: change. With regards to our relationship with God, I believe the following statement to be true:

Wholehearted commitment is marked by a life of change.

Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on things of this world. Some pretty bold questions that challenge the best of us.

A great example of someone in the Bible whose life was marked by change is Paul. Before his conversion experience, Paul (went by Saul) was a mean dude. He was uber-religious, knew his stuff, and persecuted the early church. In fact, he was there when the first martyr (Stephen) was stoned. Then God came into the picture. On a trip to Damascus, God met Saul where he was and changed his life. He changed his name to Paul and later became one of the principal figures in the early church. Here is an example of that change he experienced:

At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah. (Acts 9:20-22)

Paul didn’t just stop killing people, he changed. He acted. His faith was real.

At times sometimes I believe that change only involves the elimination of a certain action in my life (“I’ll stop being selfish”, “I’ll put away my iPhone at night when I’m with the family”), but most of the time it is characterized by what happens next (“Instead of stopping selfishness, I’m going to chose to prefer this person.”, “Instead of just putting away my phone, I’m going to intentionally engage my family”).

What area needs to be marked by change in my life? My relationships with others? My discipline to spend time with God? My bad habits?

Without holding back punches, Jesus wasn’t interested in those who “fake it”. Many times He addressed Pharisees who behaved like this (Matthew 23) and, like we mentioned last Wednesday, a lukewarm faith claims to know God but doesn’t live like He exists.

Like myself, it may be time to examine and search our hearts so that we can truly give God wholehearted commitment.

Have you seen a powerful example of change in someone’s life?

Photo credit: dunkind

35 Comments

  • Matthew Snider

    April 11, 2011

    I have been part of a few transformations in the younger community that I used to do ministry with. Some great stories including so many wonders of God.

    Change is needed in order to get closer to God. I think change brings about a sense of fear, dread and leaving our comfort zone. Something God calls us to do daily for Him!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 11, 2011

      awesome, thanks for sharing matthew–i agree with you: my “younger community years” (in college) had great examples of transformation. saw it first hand.

      Reply
  • Michael

    April 11, 2011

    Absolutely man. I got to see someone’s life changed yesterday. It was amazing to get to witness.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 11, 2011

      sweet! welcome to natchitoches! :)

      Reply
  • Jon

    April 11, 2011

    Great Post bro! Dude, how you manage to get these posts in with your crazy schedule right now…major props to you. You are so right; there should be a change in our lives. Things shouldn’t just be , but the way we live our lives should be indicative of how Christ has changed us.
    I’ve seen a powerful example of change in one of my cousin’s life. Honestly, it’s like they were two different people!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 11, 2011

      thanks for sharing, jon – i think you’re right on. things should just be, but our lives should reflect a change.

      Reply
  • Jason Vana

    April 11, 2011

    One of my former college students and current member of my board had a huge change during his time I. College. He went from your typical frat boy (partying, drinking, sleeping around) to starting and heading up our monthly worship nights. Just got married, too. God got a hold of him and he is completely different. Even leads a youth group now.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 12, 2011

      jason, that is an awesome story. especially cool that you were able to see that first hand!

      Reply
  • Donald Borsch Jr

    April 11, 2011

    Dustin,

    Wonderful post, today. (How did you find the time to do it? New job, new baby! Yikes!)

    I agree wholeheartedly that there is a certain amount of change that establishes credibility in the life of a disciple and son of God. Of course, it can never, and I mean NEVER, be used as some litmus test or measuring rod on someone’s lifestyle post-Salvation. Some changes take time due to immaturity and/or God’s will for that person. But there is that certain something something that people can see and hear when a person is brought into the New Covenant and changed from the inside out.

    Your post here smacks of wisdom and maturity, Dustin. It calms the storm of legalism and expectations that others would seek to put onto us, and places the fullness of our Salvation right back where it belongs: In His steady hand.

    Yours is the first post I read this Monday morning. It was time well-spent.

    Reply
    • Keri @ Pop Parables

      April 11, 2011

      >>>Some changes take time due to immaturity and/or God’s will for that person.

      Donald, this is an excellent point, filled with grace and mercy. Some of us are just too stubborn to realize that God wants to change us, or to fully surrender that which needs to change. In some areas, this can be a lifelong process.

      The amazing thing is that even if it takes forever for me to learn a lesson, God doesn’t give up. He keeps pointing me in the right direction: change to be more like Him.

      Reply
    • Dustin

      April 12, 2011

      thanks, donald. appreciate your words. totally agree- the amt/length of change has to be on the Lord’s timetable. only he can see the big picture! :)

      Reply
  • Moe

    April 11, 2011

    I have seen people’s lives changed dramatically. It’s quite a sight to behold. It’s exciting. But more than anything, I rejoice in seeing how God calls me to change my life. I want to see people change… for the good. But am I willing to deny myself, take up my cross and follow him? Indeed!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 12, 2011

      Look at you pulling out the “Indeed!”. Love it.

      Reply
  • Ally Garner

    April 11, 2011

    First, congratulations again to you & Jen on the arrival of yet another gorgeous Valencia baby. Harper is just beautiful! So delighted for you all :)

    As usual, in addition to learning from your post i learn a little more after reading Donald’s comment. Both of you challenge me to think-i truly appreciate that. You two make an excellent teaching pair, btw! “Change is characterized by what happens next.” Precisely. It’s taken me a while to grasp what that concept truly means. There were changes (some dramatic, some not) i noticed initially after being saved. But i’ve also found that just when i think i’ve conquered one area of my life that desperately needed pruning there’s still so much work to do. It’s a never-ending process. And that’s okay.

    Reply
    • Keri @ Pop Parables

      April 11, 2011

      Ally, I just read your comment after I wrote mine. I feel the same way! :)

      Reply
    • Dustin

      April 12, 2011

      Thanks, Ally! Exactly. Its a process that we can’t do on our own … yet part of it involves the simple acceptance of our new life in Christ (we are accepted, we are redeemed, we are strong, we are sons, etc.). Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  • Keri @ Pop Parables

    April 11, 2011

    Honestly, I can’t say that I’ve been witness to one big cataclysmic change in anyone. But, I have witnessed gradual change in others. And, in some respects, I find that more powerful because it is a journey that requires persistence, constant surrender, and a daily choice to become more like Him.

    What I also find interesing is how as I change, I realize that there is more about me that needs to change. As I grow closer to Him, there are more aspects of my life that seem out of focus and not in line with His purposes. So, change breeds change.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 12, 2011

      Change breed change. Like that!

      I’m with you Keri – I can’t pinpoint someone (really close to me at least) who has gone through some life-altering change in their life. What I want to learn to appreciate is the small, gradual changes that God refines as well…

      Reply
  • Joseph

    April 11, 2011

    Challenging post! This is something we have to ask ourselves daily. Are we closer to God today than we were yesterday, last week, etc. If we are truly looking to get closer to God we should examine our actions, thoughts, and life each and every day. I hope to change for the better everyday in order to lose more of me and gain more of Him.

    Great post!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 12, 2011

      >>>”Lose more of me and gain more of Him”

      YES! Thanks for sharing, Joseph.

      Reply
  • Adam

    April 11, 2011

    I was at a mens retreat with my church this past weekend and a guy shared his testimony, and let me just tell you amazing.
    He was the biggest atheist he said, and used to laugh at believers. Thought the Bible was just a bunch of made up stuff. One morning he has a vision standing in his bathroom that changed his life. Longs story short, the Lord began working in his life and now is a follower of Christ. this dude exudes Love and Grace to all he meets. Great story! Power of God is amazing!

    Reply
    • Joseph

      April 11, 2011

      That’s an awesome story Adam. It’s amazing what God do!

      Reply
    • Dustin

      April 12, 2011

      Awesome! What a great (recent and relevant) example…. Thanks for the share, Adam.

      Reply
  • Adam

    April 11, 2011

    Great Post Dustin…and Congrats to expanding your family!!

    I have definitely seen some major changes in friends, and it has been very awesome to see. But like you said I think it might be time to re-examine some areas in my life as well.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 12, 2011

      no problem, adam. those major changes can sometimes be ‘gut-checks’ for us to see where we’re at as well.

      Reply
  • kristinherdy

    April 11, 2011

    My grandmother was raised in church, but quickly gave it up, and none of her children were raised Christians in anything more than name. When my dad was severely beaten, my grandmother spent time at the hospital with him, and talked regularly with the chaplain.

    After he recovered, she started attending worship regularly, living her life for Christ and changing the way she related to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 12, 2011

      wow, that is cool how it is now being ‘passed on’ from generation to generation. thanks, kristin!

      Reply
  • Alex Humphrey

    April 11, 2011

    I really like the focus on the positive instead of the negative. Instead of “I won’t use my phone” you say, “I will intentionally engage my family.”

    One of the most difficult things for me is finding the positive. I am quick to give stuff up, but I rarely find a positive to fill that hole with.

    This isn’t the context of the text, but I find in my life that when I get rid of a negative and don’t fill it with a positive it is like the man who gets exorcised of a demon and then 7 more fill its place. When there is nothing to replace a bad habit, it comes back with a vengeance.

    So for me it is letting go of a few things I deem “important” and finding ways I can focus on God instead. Instead of “not watching tv” I can “sit silently and intentionally listen for God.” or instead of staying up late cruising the internet I can stay up late reading.

    You’ve got me thinking, Dustin. Thanks for another great post!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 12, 2011

      sure thing, alex. that is kinda the thought-stream i was going for… i’m the same way: easy to give something up (oh of course I won’t do that), but to actually replace it with something positive, life-giving, eternal…. that is a different story and may need some examination from time to time.

      Reply
  • seekingpastor

    April 11, 2011

    Most people struggle with pride, but I have had the privilege of witnessing some super prideful people become humbled before God and change from a life of selfishness to a life of service. So sweet.

    Reply
  • Tom Raines

    April 12, 2011

    I am amazed at how much you do and how many people you have touched in just a few weeks. God is amazing and your message, yesterday, was right where I was yesterday (and today). God is working on me and my vocation. I know I need a change and don’t know how or where He wants me. I am crying out and hate my lack of faith. I feel I am holding on to a dead end but know I need to provide for my family. I KNOW He has a better plan I just can’t seem to see it at the moment or spend too much time on things I know are holding me back…I need change and I know it.. Just have to have the faith and vision to do it. Thanks for your faithfulness!!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 12, 2011

      wow, thanks tom for the kind words. i appreciate that. glad that people like you keep coming back – i appreciate that, really i do. i’ll be praying for you (and your vocation) as i’m sure many other people who frequent this blog will do as well!

      Reply
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