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The idea of conforming to the image of Christ can be intimidating. Here's how grace is the engine for transformation. (Charisma archives)

We all have areas where we would like to see growth and change. And we all have weaknesses just as we all have strengths. But if we're trying to change in our own strength, we're just going to have frustration.

Psalm 127:1 says, "Except the Lord build the house, those who build labor in vain." This Scripture is saying that it is not by our power, but by the grace of God through the work of His Holy Spirit, that we change and grow in life.

It doesn't really matter what our strengths or weaknesses are because we will always need God. The truth is, we're desperate for God all the time whether we feel like it or not. And we are promised in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." God wants us to give Him everything we are not and His strength will be made perfect in us.

So, how can we change? Sometimes when we're anxious to see change happen, we feel pressured to do something. But John 6:28-29 says, "Then they asked Him, 'What shall we do that we may work the works of God?' Jesus answered them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.'"

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The first thing we need to do is just believe, because it's not by our own effort that we are changed. God is not just with us, He is in us. And He will do through us what needs to be done if we will just stop trying to do it ourselves.

Believing is a spiritual activity and is the first step to change. So how can we tell if we're believing in God to bring change in our lives? Hebrews 4:3 tells us, "For we who have believed have entered this rest." God's rest is an internal rest that says, "I'm not worried ... I'm not frustrated ... I'm not upset ... I've entered the rest of God." It's not a rest from work; it's a rest we have in work.

Next, do what God leads you to do—the part He shows you to do. As you do your part, God will do His part. For example, if you have hurt someone and He prompts you to go and apologize ... do it. Then trust Him with the results. That person might not be willing to forgive, but that's not the point. Your part is to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life. The way the other person chooses to respond is between them and God. Do what He tells you and leave the results to Him.

There is obedience and action we will have to take sometimes in the situations we face. But it's not wise to get our own plan just to do something to see if it works. What we can do is what God leads us to do. It won't do any good to have a lot of "works" and no faith, trying to go beyond what only God can do. All things are possible with God, but we have to get out of His way and let Him be God.

We also need to spend time with God and study His Word. The Word of God is the medicine we need to cure everything, and the greater the need, the more time we need to spend with God. When I made a firm decision to pray and study the Word in areas I was weak in until the Truth made me strong, God's grace then gave me the power I needed to overcome the things I needed to overcome. Hebrews 4:12 says that the Word of God is alive and full of power. When we receive teaching from the Word of God, it's like medicine for our soul.

Joshua 1:8 says, "This Book of the Law must not depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night so that you may act carefully according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way successful, and you will be wise." Approach the Word of God with your heart wide open to Him, believing His Word has the power to change your soul. Second Corinthians 3:18 says that as we look into the Word of God we are changed into His image—we are changed by the grace and mercy of God.

It's so amazing to know that God wants to help us change by His grace because He loves us and He wants us to be everything He created us to be. All we have to do is ask Him for His help and exchange our trying for trusting Him.

 

Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored more than 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Living Courageously (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit joycemeyer.org.

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