Real Life Change
A number of years ago I gave my eldest daughter Thomas Watson’s, The Art of Divine Contentment. It spurred theological discussions and much musing on the providence and grace of God. As her dad, I delighted in our topical genre, but as her fellow pilgrim, I needed her insights and interpretations, derived from the oozing wisdom of this pastor and preacher of Puritan-era England.
Thomas Watson is easily the favored Puritan theologian of the remnant of readers who go there for edification. Truth is timeless, and the Puritan pastoral scribes were amazingly practical theologians. Christian living is the forte of Puritan authors.
As Christians, my daughter and I struggle with Francis Schaffer’s indelible question, “How then should we live?” Like the apostle Paul, our ambition is to please God (2 Cor 5:9), and without faith it is impossible to please Him (Heb 11:6).
The gift of faith is a catch 22. You must have it, but life with faith is not easy. It does not mean, however, that life as a Christian is more difficult because one has faith. Life in a fallen world is difficult, actually hopeless, unless your program of self-deception is exceptional. Most days the Christian’s prayer is, “I believe…help me in my unbelief.”
Faith is a gift of God (Phil 1:29), given to God’s chosen people by his grace (Eph 2:8–9). The challenging opponent is the flesh, which wants to justify self with works of the Law or good works meriting the favor of men and gods. Faith has one God and the Lord Jesus Christ is the object of faith. In other words, God gives his beloved people the grace to believe in His only begotten Son.
When a born again believer actually believes, it is evidence of grace. It is the manifestation of the indwelling Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9, 11; Gal 2:20), who is authoring faith in the Christian from inside the Christian (Heb 12:2). The grace of faith is the wisdom and power behind real, life change. The need for change is obvious to all men with varying degrees of illumination. Humanity is totally depraved (Gen 6:5; Is 64:6; Jer 17:9; Rom 3:10–12, 23; Eph 2:1–3, 12) and some are enlightened by nature, Law, or in the case of the Christian — by the grace and truth that is in Jesus Christ (Eph 4:11).
The world is open to change. Change can mean more chaos, anarchy, and destruction. The more sudden some changes, the more dramatic, and this is the fodder of devils. The world is filled with liars, children of the devil, who arrogantly promise that their product, their service, or even themselves are the means to a favorable, albeit, different outcome. These charlatans capture the fly at the windowsill (and of course the money he may have) and sets him free in the Minnesota winter.
False teachers and pragmatists are all about self-realization. They are champions of do-it-yourself decision making and “just do it” life action. False teachers, in the guise of Christian gurus, promote and sometimes profit financially from the same message, seasoned with one difference…God.
God is the God of “game changers.” He is the divine enabler. God helps those who help themselves. He just wants you to make those life altering decisions for yourself. Maybe that life altering decision is, “to let go and let God,” or some other twisted theology.
Twisted theology is typically the infusion of philosophy (wisdom of men) or psychology (power of positive thinking), coupled with risk taking (self-initiated action steps). This is the cheap imitation of real life change.
Real life change was captured by my daughter, in a simple statement, “So what I have learned from this book is that I just need to live my life and God will change me.” I sat dumbfounded by Watson’s successful impartation of wisdom, received by my daughter. I affirmed her insight, ”Yes, honey, God will conform you to the image of Jesus Christ, His Son. He gave you His Spirit as the singular change Agent, who uses one instrument to transform you into His likeness…the Bible.”
Christian, enter His rest, by yielding to His Spirit, who causes you to walk the Christian life, according to His will and His working. He alone is the giver of real life change.
Post Falls, Idaho
April 23, 2022