Potential for Change
by Chris Phillips
December 31, 2020

Potential Energy is “the energy possessed by an object as a result of its position or condition rather than its motion.” A child at the top of a slide, snow on the top of a mountain, a parked car on the side of a hill … all examples of potential energy. These objects have the capability of exerting a large amount of power when released. But as they have not yet been set in motion, their impact is still just a possibility.

Some believers have impacted continents with the gospel. Some followers of Christ have victoriously persevered through tragedy, disease, and unthinkable circumstances. These people have found the way to change the potential energy that God has provided into a spiritual reality in their lives.

In contrast, there are others who just never seem to be able to find the way toward lasting change. Most of their existence is marked by a series of failures, sadness, lack of joy, addictive habits, or constant discouragement. Our churches are full of people that listen to the sermons, participate in the church programs, but they remain “stuck” and seem to live without any spiritual energy.

The good news is that each one of us who has chosen to receive Jesus Christ as our Savior has the potential power to change living inside of us. The Holy Spirit can enable us to become anything that God wants us to be.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Becoming what God wants us to be involves change…but change is hard.

The “potential energy” that can produce the lasting change we long for as believers is centered on our relationship with the Word of God.

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)

The missing agent in our quest for change is taking the time to behold the glory of Jesus Christ in the mirror of the Word of God and then to set that Truth in motion by immediately obeying it.

Unless something changes in the way we personally interact with the Word of God, we will end 2021 in the same position or worse than we are in right now.

The Apostle James shows us how to realize the life-changing power of the Word in our mind and heart.

“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save (heal, renew, transform) your souls.” (James 1:21)

As stated in this verse, the Word of God is able to heal, renew and transform your soul. The Bible contains infinite potential to redeem your soul, calm your spirit, control your tongue, encourage your heart, break the chains of habitual sin, renew your thinking processes and even remove your doubts. BUT…

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)

“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:25)

This is what makes the difference in believers that change. These are the believers that will find the spiritual energy to spiritually influence the lives of others.

Most of us believe these truths with all our hearts. Therefore, most of us will begin 2021 with a Bible reading plan and determine to consistently read the Holy Word of God and will try to put it into practice.

However, there is one more obstacle that continues to throw many off track.

Sometime around February or March, we get discouraged because we do not see an avalanche of changes taking place. One of the reasons we get discouraged in our quest for biblical change is because it is unclear what it looks like. Trevin Wax accurately describes true biblical change:

“Why do so many Christians start with a strong commitment and yet lose their way when reading the Bible? One reason may be that we have too high of an expectation of what we will feel every day when we read. We know this is God’s Word and that He speaks to us through this Book, and yet so many times, when we’re reading the assigned portion of Scripture for the day, it all feels so, well, ordinary…We’re right to approach the Bible with anticipation, to expect to hear from God in a powerful and personal way. But the way the Bible does its work on our hearts is often not through the lightning bolt, but through the gentle and quiet rhythms of daily submission, of opening up our lives before this open Book and asking God to change us. It is the daily rhythm of submitting ourselves to God and bringing our plans and hopes and fears to Him that makes the difference.” – Trevin Wax

The potential to change is not in ourselves. It is not in trying harder. It is not perfectly checking the boxes. The potential for change is Christ in us, our dying to self and allowing His Precious Word to set us in motion to walk in obedience.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” (Colossians 1:27–29)

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