Changed For Good?

“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away.”  John 16:1

“Changed” by Rascal Flatts was on the radio yesterday and for the first time, the lyrics pierced my heart.  As I listened, I thought about all the Christians before me, around me, and after me and how many fall away.  It can truly be a difficult task to remain faithful and true to Jesus in this life.

“Peter replied [to Jesus], “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”  Matthew 26:33  Peter was the ultimate optimist, but even Peter, though his intentions were to remain faithful and not fall away, he not only fell away, he bolted the other direction, outright denying even being associated with Jesus.  But, though Peter fell many times, He, somehow, was able to pull himself back up and return to the Lord, but sadly, many can’t, won’t, or just don’t.

When we first come to Christ, we are excited and overjoyed with our new-found faith.  We can hardly believe that our Father God has chosen to forgive us and loves us anyway even though we had been far from Him.  Coming up out of the waters, we are anxious to learn and absorb as much as we can and anxious to tell others about Him.  Our lives are truly changed as others bear witness to our transformation, and even some of the witnesses become transformed because of our zeal.  And then, over time if we’re not diligent to remain in the faith, the excitement fades and the lures of this world pull us back down and our transformation fades.  We either get apathetic towards God, ourselves, and/or others, or we become hypocritical by our Sunday mornings not matching up with our Mon-Sat life, or we even fall back into some of the sins of the past.  We may even start to question our whole faith and wonder if all that God says, or all that He is, was even real to begin with.

Why is it so hard to remain faithful to God and why do so many fall?

  • “But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.”  Matthew 13:21

Does falling away send a shiver down your spine?  It does me.  So, how do we keep ourselves from falling?  In Matthew 13, we read that those who fall away are those who’s roots are shallow.

Shallow:  Lacking depth of intellect, emotion, or knowledge.  Measuring little from bottom to top or surface; lacking physical depth.

We want the opposite of shallow.  We want depth in intellect, emotion, and knowledge.  How do we get the secure, grounded depth that cannot be uprooted?  There is only one answer…  Be rooted in JESUS alone.

  • “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”  John 15:5-8

We must remain in Jesus in order that our roots go deep.  How do we remain in Jesus?

  • “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”  John 15:9-16

We remain in Jesus by studying and obeying His commands, not out of obligation, but out of love for Him.  We love Him and likewise, we love others.

Father God, Keep us in the faith.  Ground us deeply in Your Word so that we do not fall, but if we do, pick us back up again and set our feet upon your path again.  Father, help us to love You more love others more, giving sacrificially for the glory of Your Name.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

“Changed” by Rascal Flatts:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk1bstD4nY8

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