When someone comes to Christ, many attitudes, actions, thoughts and desires will begin to change. Some of them will change quickly and easily, others – not so much. Many of them will drag on and on.
As we progress in sanctification, we will see changes in every area of our lives and even identify new things that need to change. This is not superficial changes, such as deciding Italian food is no longer your favorite. It is substantial change. It requires the Holy Spirit’s alteration of one’s inner life, known only to God and self.
Substantial change is brought about by the ministry of the Word, and blessed by the Spirit, and brings us closer to the likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ! It is substantial change because it glorifies God.
Here are ten substantial changes required by God:
Anxiety – God requires that believers not be anxious (Philippians 4:4). When believers are anxious about things or situations, they are essentially saying that God can’t be trusted and His judgments are wrong. As believers, we must trust in God’s faithfulness to supply our needs and never leave us.
Stealing – Believers must not steal (Mark 10:19). This is usually a result of anxiety or covetousness, and includes fraud or cheating (Leviticus 19:13). God has promised to give His children all things (Romans 8:32). Stealing, like anxiety, is to question God’s faithfulness, and fails to rely upon Him for ones needs. As believers, we must remember the faithfulness of God, His goodness and His wisdom.
Selfishness – The second greatest commandment is to love others (Matthew 22:39). As believers, we need to have a right perspective on where we fit in the priority list. We already love ourselves (Eph. 5.29). God has called us to love others in that same measure.
Anger – Although Ephesians 4 says to be angry without sinning, God expects believers to not be characterized by anger. They must learn to be self-controlled (Galatians 5:22), understanding that circumstances and other people are tests along the road of sanctification.
Bitterness – Bitterness (Ephesians 4:31) reflects a “smoldering resentment” and, is usually about harboring a grudge against someone or some circumstance in the past. Believers must understand and exercise forgiveness based on the forgiveness they have received from Christ.
Gossip – Believers must never participate in gossip (Proverbs 11:13). This includes listening to it as well as spreading it. By gossiping, the believer bears false witness against others. And if he only listens to gossip, he makes false judgments about the person.
Pridefulness – Everyone deals with pride. It’s a natural tendency of the heart to think more highly of oneself than he ought. However, God requires that we humble ourselves, depend upon Him for sustenance and live with a contrite spirit.
Fear of Man – Most people go about their daily lives making decisions that are based on the perceptions of other people; to try and please them, impress them, appeal to them, etc. God has commanded believers not to fear the one who can destroy the body, but to fear the One who can destroy both the body and the soul in Hell (Matthew 10:28).
Greed – Believers are not to be characterized by greediness (1 Timothy 6:9-10). We must keep in perspective to whom everything belongs and understand that we only have something because it has been given to us. Everything we have is contingent upon what pleases the Lord, not how hard we work to gain it.
Divisiveness – Divisions occur when one person thinks his ideas are better than another. Ultimately, this is an issue of pride. But God’s people should take care to put the desires of others ahead of their own (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). Believers should strive for unity in areas that do not compromise the integrity of Scripture.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list. It could probably have been 110, rather than 10. What are some other significant changes required by God?