Changed Hearts and Lives

Just as a happy thought and a smile naturally go together, so does a heart transformed by the Holy Spirit produce a lifetime of growing holiness. The key to real life change springs from our love for Jesus Christ, our Lord. The apostle Paul states it this way:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love,  I gain nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-3). 
Paul understood that Christ meant everything to him. Without Christ, all the supposed righteousness he could ever claim for himself meant nothing of value to God, and he would be sentenced to eternal punishment. But even if Christians would happen to do everything they should do, the Lord says, “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” (Luke 17:10)
The term “obedience” is not a word we often like to hear, especially as people who value the freedoms we enjoy in our country. But the Lord expects and demands obedience from His people. The difference between the kind of obedience done out of a sense of obligation and voluntary, heartfelt obedience, motivated by a desire to please, is whether we truly love the One who has the authority over us. This is the kind of love that affects our hearts, minds, and wills once we experience regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
Paul’s complete turnaround from being a persecutor of the church to being one of its chief advocates and his willingness to fully devote himself and suffer for the sake of the church is prima facie evidence of his love for Christ. Upon encountering the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, his immediate response was “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10) As we read the account of Paul’s ministry throughout the New Testament, we clearly see that Paul was faithful to the Lord’s call on his life.
The Lord has appointed each of us to a special task, and the appropriate response is to ask Him what He would have us do. As we walk in faithful obedience to Christ, knowing His Spirit is always with us, we too will experience the abundant life God has promised.
By Jim Connell






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