Others Devotional, volume 30

Believing in Change by Blake Hiemstra

Scripture:  “That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24

Sometimes God shows up in the earthquake or the thunder, but more often than not, it’s the gentle whisper of the wind that speaks the voice of truth.

The other day I received an email from a parent, simply wondering about how her son was doing in my class. With delight I responded to the email, mentioning that all his assignments were completed and that he showed a good degree of conscientiousness. As I hit send on the email, the whisper spoke to my soul and made me reflect.

You see, having this kid be all caught up and conscientious would not have been the case last year, or even early in this school year. He’s a great kid, full of joy, but he collected missing assignments as if it was a hobby. A degree of desperation and utter head-scratching frustration brought the disorganization train to a screeching halt before a fresh restart by all involved- student, parents, teacher- got the locomotive chugging again. It’s continued on down the track beautifully ever since. It’s now headed in the general direction of Maturity and Service in the Kingdom.

It’s a reminder to me this morning that people can change, that even a woefully disorganized kid can become efficient and conscientious. That other change is possible. That another kid I teach who is perpetually moody can learn joy. That the habitually cantankerous can become pleasant.

To be a follower of Christ, a true follower, is to believe that people are capable of change. To have true faith is to implore the Father on behalf of others and expect that change to happen.

Take the most frustrating, annoying, vexing difficult classmate/colleague/student/child/relative you have in your life. Do you truly believe that he or she is capable of change or do you interact with that person with an engorged, silent chunk of resignation, bemoaning that he’s “always going to be that way”?

Some of you seniors have shared a classroom with the same folks for close to thirteen years. You’ve gotten to know each other as well as siblings who share a bedroom. When you think about a few of your classmates who tend to live a little more on the wild side, you look out at the horizon, you kind of shake your head, laugh a bit, and think, “They’re always going to be that way.” You fully expect to show up at your 10-year reunion and see them stranded on the exact same height of the maturity ladder as they are now.

Maybe the extent to which we grow in your relationship with God is the extent to which we realize that our God loves renovation projects, especially the human heart kind.

God delights in change, in taking the most distressing, irritating lumps of clay in our lives and shaping beautiful pottery, exquisite works of art. He loves making a Paul out of a Saul. Sometimes it’s with the flash and dazzle of divine light; sometimes it’s with the simple faith of his servants who realize that John Newton’s “was blind, but now I see” was not just describing physical myopia.

Maybe this morning I’m simply struck not only by the beauty of a divine makeover, but humbled by how he desires to use me to facilitate change. Sure, we could sit back and fervently ask God to change the critical classmate who grates on our nerves, or we could commit to showing an uncommon degree of kindness and positivity. Maybe in the whole, grand, divine blueprint, that’s actually how God wants to change us in the process. And maybe that’s the biggest renovation project of all.

Prayer: Father, as we interact with the others in our lives, give us the grace to see you at work. Give us the faith to see that change is possible and that your work of sanctification is a beautiful one indeed. In the name of Jesus, amen.

About the Author: Blake Hiemstra is a husband, father, teacher and principal who feels blessed and grateful.

Originally published on May 5, 2017.

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