Is there someone in your life that needs to change? Someone who seriously needs to change–Now!? Someone who just wrecked your lovely day?
Maybe it’s THE big change, as in she needs to repent of her sin and follow Christ. Maybe it’s not THE big change, but something else that’s difficult and troubling. Maybe you see him heading down a path you know is going to bring him, and possibly you, searing pain. Maybe it’s a lifestyle sin or a habitual sin against his own body. Maybe he hurts you over and over and if his heart were right, you know it would stop. Maybe she is just annoying and you want her to be unannoying. Whatever their issues are, how ever big and shameless they are, there is hope and help – and dear one, it’s not found in you or me doing or saying or praying the right things.
This morning I read for the 10th time (really! but that’s a different post) the passage in 1 Kings 18 where Elijah defeats the prophets of Baal. Actually, GOD defeats the prophets but He uses Elijah to do it. And something jumped out at me: verse 37 says, “Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”
Did you catch that? God “turned their hearts back.” He did it. Elijah didn’t and they didn’t. It was God at work.
Not self-help books.
Not discussions with a godly friend.
Not praying really hard.
Just God. He worked mightily in the Israelites’ hearts and changed them. Just like ~snap~ that! That’s my God! That’s your God if you are a believer in Jesus Christ. That’s our God who is concerned about the hearts of men. He is here. He is active. He is interested in what you are interested in. His heart breaks when your heart breaks. But a difference in Him and us, is He has the power to do something about that person who needs changing, while we don’t!
We can do all the things on the list above. And there are some really great things listed there that we should be doing daily, and that God may use to help change another person, but we must never put our hope for other people to change in our efforts. We are simply too weak and foolish to first, know what is best, and second, to do anything about it.
But we know the One who can change hearts instantly, or slowly, as He sees fit. We must trust Him to turn wayward hearts to Him. We may beseech Him daily to do this, and we may counsel from the Word and we may pray diligently, but we must remember that when a heart and life is changed to love Him and follow Him, it is His work. (Eph. 1 and 2)
This can give us great confidence if we truly trust Him or it can make us feel a bit afraid if we don’t really trust Him fully. Let your heart rest in the Comforter’s arms. Know He’s got this covered. He has a good plan. A good plan for you, specifically. You can trust Him to do whatever is the very best and wisest for you, and puts His love and power on display the most. Sometimes those things may hurt for a while, as in Elijah’s case. But it won’t last forever. You have His word on that. (Rev. 21:4) And your loved one who needs changing, can change. Because the One with all power, who sees every intent of the heart and every despicable action and reason behind them all, is more than capable of turning a heart to Himself. It’s not your job to change anyone. Let it go. But let it go Biblically. Trust Someone else with this person. Someone strong, full of love and kindness, and power.
His power is uncontested. Even all those ways our loved ones need to change is not impossible with God. Luke 18:27 tells us that it is impossible for us to change people, but it is easy for God to change hearts. He has the power to bring the dead to life, after all! Is there a greater power than that? (Eph. 1:19-20)
Even while you imagine the most amazing ways your loved ones can change, God can do more! Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Eph 3:20-21
Elijah had a lovely day. The Israelites had a lovely day as they were changed. Pray for God to have mercy on that poor soul you want changed and then confidently be assured of His utter ability to bring it to pass. Look to God, be obedient and rest. Trusting in Him will bring a lovely day.