The Sustained Hope for Change

God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.                   Rom. 2:4

It’s often been said that God accepts you just the way you are, but loves you too much to leave you there.  Because of such love, we are constantly inspired to make changes in our lives.  Through the Holy Spirit, the Lord also sustains our hope that change is actually possible for us.  And this is good news as there is nothing more discouraging than to feel you are stuck where, or with who, you are.

Everybody wants to change.  It is one of the primary themes of our Christian hope—that  change is not only possible, but that it is God-ordained and God-empowered.  A sustained desire for change expresses the living hope that we can actually become the people we feel called to be.   And our participation with such change is one of the ways we honour God—by submitting to the transforming action of His love in our lives.

Change, for any of us, begins with a deep and honest desire for renewal, which the Bible calls repentance.  It is the spirit by which we recognize that what we are is less than we should be, and by which we welcome the transformation that God invites us to.  One of the truths that motivates us in our desire to change is, of course, God’s goodness.  We recognize the gracious gift of salvation that God has given us through Jesus, and we respond by consecrating our lives out of love, worship, and gratitude for what He has done.

We are also motivated to change by a growing awareness of our need for healing.  As we recognize the many ways we are trapped and hindered by habitual behaviours and addictions, we find ourselves desperately seeking alternatives.  We come to God in the hope of being freed from whatever keeps us captive to life.  Recognizing the disorder within, we welcome the ministry of the Great Physician in faith that He not only has the power, but also the desire to heal us.  The confidence by which we embrace such faith is evidence of the Holy Spirit within us, actively drawing us to Jesus for healing.

Repentance, then, is ultimately an act of hope that lies at the heart of spiritual growth.  We welcome with gratitude the desire for transformation that the Holy Spirit inspires in us, as well as the God-given faith that such change is actually possible for us.  We marvel that this hope continually resurrects in us, and that we do not, more naturally, succumb to despair.  We watch ourselves rise, again and again, in the assurance that “He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion” (Phil. 1:6).

Because we believe in the promise of God, we confidently anticipate the gift of a transformed life. Through the same Spirit who empowers us to seek purity, we celebrate the realistic hope that change is not only possible, but inevitable as long as we remain attached to the vine of Christ.