Saturday, June 09, 2012

Changed

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 10:1-27


TO CHEW ON: "Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man." 1 Samuel 10:6

Who of us wouldn't welcome such a transformation as happened to Saul?

The Bible speaks much of being transformed, changed, and renewed. As we study it, we discover we too can experience such a radical remake. Let's look at some other Bible passages that speak of becoming a new person (i.e. spiritual renewal) to understand what such a radical renewal involves.

It begins when we trust Christ for salvation.

  • Jesus calls this event being "born again" and "born of water and the Spirit" - John 3:1-8.
  • Paul speaks of being saved "through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit" - Titus 3:5.
  • In another place he calls this being "in Christ" and describes it as a "new creation—old things have passed away; behold new things have come" - 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Our new spiritual baby selves need to grow.

  • We do this by spending time with God - Isaiah 40:31. For us this means things like reading the Bible, reflecting on how its teachings relate to our lives, and talking to God in prayer. During this time spent with Him God transforms and renews our minds - Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23.
  • God promises to stay involved in the process of renewal for our entire lives - Philippians 1:6; 2:13.
  • All is not lost if we mess up, like David did. "Create in me a clean heart ... and renew a steadfast spirit in me," he prayed (Psalm 51:10) after repenting from adultery with Bathsheba and masterminding the murder of her husband.

Empowering for special jobs. 

  • God sometimes brings about such new-person events to empower people for special jobs. That's what happened to Saul here—and to other Old Testament characters before the Holy Spirit was available to all after the day of Pentecost.
  • Throughout the New Testament we see God the Spirit assigning and empowering people:
- The Holy Spirit directs the choosing of seven men to oversee the daily distribution of food - Acts 6:1-7
- The Holy Spirit sends Ananias to pray for and baptize Saul - Acts 9:10-19
- God tells the Antioch church leaders to send out Barnabas and Saul/Paul, which they do after laying hands on them and praying.

And so we see that this renewal that happened to Saul can also take place for and in us. It will probably not happen in an instant, as it did in him, but may the change in us over time, be just as dramatic.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for the many ways You bring about change and renewal in my life. Help me today to live in cooperation with that process. Amen.


MORE: The Holy Spirit invades all of life
"The Holy Spirit cannot be accepted as a guest in merely one room of the house— He invades all of it. And once I decide that my “old man” (that is, my heredity of sin) should be identified with the death of Jesus, the Holy Spirit invades me. He takes charge of everything. My part is to walk in the light and to obey all that He reveals to me."- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest,  April 11 reading.

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