Excerpted from the Message, “Change Me O’ Lord” by David Wilkerson (1999).
“Nevertheless when he shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:12-18).
We spend far too much time praying: “God, change my circumstances, change my coworkers, change my family situation, change the conditions in my life…” Yet we seldom pray this most important prayer: “Change me, Lord. The real trouble isn’t my spouse, my sibling, my friend. I’m the one who stands in need of prayer.”
God orchestrates the steps and lives of all of his children. He doesn’t allow anything to happen to us merely by happenstance or fate. And that means He has allowed your crisis. What is He trying to tell you through it? He’s saying you need to change.
Like it or not, we’re all in the process of changing in one way or another. In the spiritual realm, there is no such thing as mere existence; we’re continually being changed, either for good or for bad. We’re either becoming more like our Lord or more like the world; either growing in Christ or backsliding.
So. Are you becoming more sweet-spirited, like Jesus? Are you looking soberly in the mirror each day and praying, “Lord, I want to conform to your image in every area of my life?” Or has your bitterness taken root, turning into rebellion and hardness of heart? Have you learned to shield yourself from the convicting Word of God and the voice of His Spirit?
If this describes you, let me tell you plainly: You will never receive deliverance unless you change. Your life will only become more chaotic, and your situation will worsen. Stop building your case, pointing your finger, justifying yourself. God won’t meet you until you wake-up and admit, “Nothing is going to change for me, unless I’m changed.”
Words of Grace for Strength
Many Christians have encountered problems in their walk with Christ and therefore their relationships with others — because they have failed to understand the process of sanctification in their lives. When we accept Christ as our Savior we are justified before God through the blood of Christ at Calvary. But the Christian’s journey has only just begun at the cross. Sanctification is an ongoing process of change, which the believer in Christ must be continually work at as he strives to be more Christ-like.
Let us always remember the world we are called out of when we answered the call of our Lord. It is a world centered in self-absorption, self-gratification, and self-importance. In our sin nature, with which we struggle as we move through our sanctification, we are likely to find vestiges of this self-worth clinging to us still.
It might seem at times quite natural to pray for the Lord to change others instead of ourselves. For as we are still coming to terms with who we are to be in Christ, that easy road will seem more appealing if one is not centered in Christ.
Too often, the new Christian is not properly discipled in sanctification. This causes almost immediate stagnation and often frustration for the new believer. This is because he or she thinks all of their problems should have been put behind them when they turned to Christ. They believe everyone and everything around them should be changed (when the reality is that they should be still crying out to God to change them).
It is the responsibility of every Christian to be a disciple and a discipler of others. As we grow in Christ we learn to say “Lord Change ME” rather than, “They need to change.” Only when we have yielded our will to God’s will and therefore experience the freedom of the process of sanctification and change, are we able to effectively disciple others into change.
The process of sanctification involves a daily structured Bible study, a disciplined prayer life, and submitting yourself in a relationship of discipleship with a more mature Christian (a Christian who, although more mature than you, should also be seeking and submitting in a relationship to a Christian who has walked the road to a point of more mature sanctification).
These three elements of growing in a sanctified life should never change as we go through life, a process that continues until we are called home by Jesus. Realizing the day in which we live is chaotic and filled with trials for the follower of Christ, nevertheless we can—and must, grow and change more into His likeness every day to reach others with the gospel.
Time is short! Lord Change me!
Dr. Tuck Whitaker and Andy Coticchio
Rafter Cross Ministries