Years ago, Steven Curtis Chapman wrote and released a song called The Change. In it, he talks about all the things we do as Christians that would make us appear to be different—the bracelets and cross necklaces, the bumper stickers, fridge magnets, and key chains. But do those things really make us different? The chorus of the song goes on to say:
What about the change
What about the difference
What about the grace
What about forgiveness
What about a life that’s showing
I’m undergoing the change
We all undergo a change when we allow God to invade our heart and spirit. Saul underwent that change in 1 Samuel. But so many fail to understand that the initial change is only the beginning.
God’s Spirit was on Saul, but the king never really put himself aside to allow the Spirit to do what God needed him to do. Samuel addressed Saul and relayed a message from God. Destroy the Amalekites. Remove them from the face of the earth. So Saul went to war and defeated the Amalekites. What he failed to do was to utterly destroy them. Saul and his army demolished what was worthless and plundered all that had value. They planned on sacrificing all of the animals they had pilfered. In Saul’s mind, he had obeyed the word from the Lord.
But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT)
Just because God’s Spirit is in us doesn’t mean the work is done. This is why we are to continue working out our salvation (Philippians 2:12). A life of salvation is not a one time event, but a life-long journey.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of the world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Don’t just go through the motions that make it look like you’ve changed. Listen to the voice of God. Obey Him. God isn’t interested in the things we do to appear different than the rest of the word as He is interested in whether or not we obey His voice. He doesn’t want the appearance of change. He wants the real change.
Daily Bible reading: 1 Samuel 15-16, Luke 14:25-35