Sometimes I wonder if this mess… the thing about myself that gives me the most trouble every day… will ever change! But then I remember that years ago someone shared with me the key to change in my life. Although I don’t remember who gave me the recipe, I have never forgotten this nugget of insight.
Grace + Truth + Time = Change.
It’s such a simple recipe… just three ingredients, mix well and voila… you have change, right? But is it really that easy? I know for a fact that it’s not always easy… you can really hurt people by trying to say change is too easy. Some change is hard, extremely hard and painful as it happens. Yet it’s not impossible and the result of hard fought change is fulfilling and rewarding in amazing ways. You can also hurt people by trying to say change is too hard. Can a person really change? Are there things that a person cannot change? Sure there are! Physical elements such as gender and intelligence you cannot change. There are some things you can change and some things you can’t… there is wisdom and grace in knowing and accepting that.
Perhaps to fully understand the recipe for change we need to make sure we have all the ingredients. I’ll just tell you, you have them all at your disposal… grace and truth and time. They are available to everyone, given as a gift from God. And to those who surrender their lives to Jesus as Lord these ingredients are always and forever changing you… into the glory of God He created you to be. It’s like an empty pottery mixing bowl… patiently molded and crafted to the right shape and size, painted, glazed and fired to perfection but still missing something. It is still without any substance that brings glory to the one who crafted it.
You need to put something in the mixing bowl… mix well, knead and allow it to rise, then bake in the oven of life to produce the awesome smell and taste of a glorious creation. In Christ, that’s what is happening to you… Jesus came into that hallow place within you and brought grace and truth! Jesus, the one who came from the Father and made his dwelling among us is full of grace and truth. Jesus lives in you… and he is always working to produce change.
Jesus brings Grace…
What is grace? God’s grace is all at once 100% of His kindness, tolerance and patience shown toward each and every one of us. It works like this… I know my shortcomings, my failures and the things I just plain don’t like about myself. I’m my own best critic and worst enemy at times. Left to my own devises I will beat myself up and become buried in shame. Then Jesus comes in with grace… he tells me he loves and values me just the way I am.
Grace reminds me that no matter what I am up against… when I’m an exhausted, frustrated Mom of young children; an overweight, out of shape office worker addicted to sugar and TV; an impatient, critical wife in a quickly failing marriage; a hurt, angry daughter trying to deal with an aging parent… no matter what I am up against ~ Grace is essential in creating an environment that is right for change! On the basis of grace I can ease up on myself a little… maybe even a lot! Grace tells me that there is a reason for the struggles. Grace is love… God’s love for me just the way I am; it is also God loving me enough to not leave me that way! Grace tells me that it’s not me but Him who is making the change in me happen.
Jesus brings truth…
Truth is the essential ingredient that brings about change. Truth needs to be folded into my mind and heart and kneaded throughout my life. Truth begins to highlight areas of my life that I am hurting myself and hurting others. When truth comes in it challenges me! It exposes lies that I may have believed for decades… about myself, about others, about God. Truth corrects and protects… the Word of God comes in and says if I keep going the way I am going I will crash and get hurt. Truth makes change necessary, practical and most of all attainable.
Truth isn’t always comfortable… I see my shortcomings but that doesn’t mean I want anyone else, including God, exposing them. And when God comes in with His loving truth that contradicts the condemning lies I believe about myself, I’m really no happier. Truth isn’t natural to me… sometimes truth confuses me… truth can be frightening! That’s where time comes in!
Jesus gives us time…
Time gives the grace of Jesus, mixed with the truth He brings, the opportunity to work its way through my mind and heart and gradually bring change. In my life, time lets me see the things I need to change yet makes room for the fact that I can’t fix it that first day. Being given time is crucial to change!
Grace + Truth + Time… I believe everyone is doing the best they can with what they have! Some people may have a hard time with that statement… Jesus does not. The grace He brings into my relationship with Him assures me of that. Does that mean I can stay in the mess I see in some areas of my life today? No… truth brings a responsibility to surrender to the change God wants to make in me. But God gives me time! Time respects the need to build trust… to reshape my thinking… to discard old habits… and to feel good right where I am while God is changing me!
Thank you Father for the awesome gift of Jesus and all he brings into my life! Such a simple and clear recipe for the change I desperately want to see happen in my life… everything I need is mine through Jesus! Help me experience the grace He brings. Help me give myself grace instead of the self-condemnation I can so easily slip into when I see my shortcomings. Help me experience and accept the truth of your Word. Balance grace and truth in my life so it brings about lasting change. Thank you Father that the time of my life is one continuous journey… with you loving, comforting and changing me every step of the way!
Scripture: John 1:14; Romans 2:4; Malachi 2:6; Ecclesiastes 3:1-12