January 22, 2019

Pastoral Nuggets: Not Perfect – Just Changed

Brother-Aaron-236x300“As a Christian, I may not be able to live a perfect life, but I can live a changed life.”

Those words somehow made their way out of my mouth this past Sunday as I was preaching. They had to have been “God ordained!” Why do I say that? Because I’m not smart enough to come up with something that profound on my own!

Indeed, living the Christian life is not about being perfect. It never has been and never will. There has never been but one Perfect Person – and humanity nailed Him to a cross.

If we had the capability to live a perfect life – then everything about Jesus – His virgin birth, sinless life, substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection – was an exercise in futility. If we can do it on our own, then we don’t need Him and all He did or was – means absolutely nothing!

Romans 3:10(KJV) teaches us, “…. There is none righteous, no, not one.” And Romans 3:23(KJV) states, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

And in Romans 7:19(KJV) the great Apostle Paul states, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” So, if the great Apostle Paul couldn’t make the grade – then that certainly disqualifies you and me!  But while we cannot live a perfect life (And that realization is not a “license to sin”) – we can live a changed life.

I have a problem with anybody who professes to have had a life-changing encounter with Jesus – whose life never changes!

I recall the testimony of a dear preacher friend of mine, Bro. Roy Marshall, who said, “The night I got saved, even my dog knew something had changed about me.

When I came onto the front porch and didn’t kick him and cuss him, he didn’t know what to do!  He didn’t know what.  But he knew something was different about me!”

I am reminded of the Biblical story about Jacob wrestling with the Angel of God. All night long they wrestled. When the morning began to break the Angel instructed Jacob to let him go. Jacob replied, “Not unless you bless me.”

And with that, the Angel of God reached down and touched his hip. From that moment until the day he died, Jacob walked with a limp. The encounter forever changed him!

Perhaps as he made his way home his neighbors saw him coming from a distance and thought that he looked like Jacob, but he didn’t walk like Jacob. Perhaps his children saw him coming and thought that he looked like their daddy, but he didn’t walk like their daddy. And maybe even his wife saw him coming and thought that he looked like her husband, but he didn’t walk like her husband. My point is that when we have an encounter with Jesus – He forever changes us!

The problem today is the same as it has always been. People claim to have had a life-changing encounter with Jesus. Yet, their foul mouth doesn’t change. Their consumption of alcohol and drugs doesn’t change.

The adulterous relationship they’re having doesn’t change.  Their non-church attendance and participation doesn’t change. And it is impossible to distinguish their lifestyle from the lifestyle of someone who makes no such claim.

Yes, it’s true. I cannot live a perfect life. God doesn’t expect me to. However, I can live a changed life. Guess what? So can you! And as a Christian – God expects it from us!

I close with one simple observation: If nothing changed – nothing happened!  (Think about it!)

Brother Aaron       

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