In 2005, there was a woman who received the world’s first partial face transplant. It was reported that she attempted suicide by taking sleeping pills. While unconscious, her dog ate part of her face. A team of surgeons decided to give her a new face. It had never been done before, they had to wait for a deceased donor and the procedure was very risky, but they took a chance. After 15 hours of surgery, the surgeons were very pleased with their work.
But there was a problem.
After surgery is performed, the surgeon always gives instructions. They did their part. Now the patient must do their part. Although something new took place in this woman’s life, she still had old ways. It was reported that she refused to stop smoking and the surgeons believed that if she continued to smoke, her old ways would reject the new work. She wanted the new, but she didn’t want to let go of the old.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I believe this scripture. I believe the moment I received the gift of salvation that this change immediately happened in my life. All things – everything – became new. I immediately became a new creature. I wasn’t the same anymore. I became a different person. However, I believe that some of the reasons why we don’t enjoy the full benefits of salvation or come to the knowledge of what ‘life more abundantly’ is because we don’t follow God’s instructions. Like a dog who returns to its vomit, we return to foolishness. We return to old things and old ways. We don’t allow the finished work to work completely in our lives. I also think that some of us don’t like being different. We don’t like being hated. We don’t like the feeling of rejection. We would rather ‘fit in’.
Another version of the above scripture reads, “Let him be a new creature’. Christ made us free, but it is our responsibility to not entangle (to get caught in; to get distracted with cares; involved in complicated circumstances from which it is difficult to escape) ourselves with the yoke of bondage that He freed us from (Galatians 5:1). God doesn’t just want us to be free, but He wants us to be free – indeed (truly; certainly; undeniably; without question, without a doubt).
God did something great in Saul’s life. When Saul went to the hill of God, he met some prophets and they prophesied. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, he prophesied with the prophets and he turned into another man (1 Samuel 10:6). God, by His Spirit, changed him, but Saul had to do something in order to maintain and guard what the Lord did in his life. Between chapter 10 and chapter 16, Saul repeatedly disobeyed God as well as God’s priest, Samuel. By 1 Samuel 16:14, the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil spirit now troubled him.
Salvation is a free gift. We don’t work for our salvation, but we must work out our own salvation. Continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ] (Philippians 2:12).
And that requires change.
One day, I shared with an individual that I wanted to do a certain thing, but it just seemed impossible. The person offered different suggestions to help me get started, but an excuse followed every suggestion he made. He finally got tired of me and said, Well, you don’t want it bad enough. I was mad with him for a long time. (Yes, I got mad at someone for telling me the truth). But I now understand what he was saying. I didn’t want to work hard for it. I didn’t want to sacrifice anything to get it. I wanted change, but I didn’t want to change.
Do you remember when Jesus asked the man who had an infirmity for 38 years, Will you be made whole? What He was really asking was:
Do you like your condition?
Do you want to remain in your condition?
Do you want change?
How bad do you want it?
We’re seeking change of our circumstances, but why not seek a change of our hearts and minds. Let the mind of Christ be in you. Let us be a new creature. Let God transform you into the image of His Son. Renew your mind daily with the word of God. Stop returning to old things and things that are familiar. Change for the change He did in your life. Guard and protect what God has done in your life…
He did a good work in you.