But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" (Romans 9:20, ESV).
I have made the subject of our need for change the focus of many of my blogs. But I have become perplexed in my efforts to convince us of our need for change and have been asking myself the following questions.
Who am I to think I have the right to encourage others to change?
Who am I to think I'm supposed to help others change?
Do I have power to change myself, or am I merely a pawn in the hands of God?
Is my desire for change ego-centric?
Are my efforts towards change wasted?
My attempt at resolution led me, first, to Romans 9:20. (See above.) Though I have advocated change and have proclaimed my own intentions to change, Paul momentarily made me think I've stepped out of my place.
I began writing this blog Wednesday afternoon. Before I set my computer down to leave for Bible study, I left myself this question: "If it's not my place to change myself, why am I trying to change?" I returned home with the following answer.
What is the point of change? The point is not about me changing myself into my own ideal, but rather, it's about God changing me into what He deems as necessary for His purpose. I may be able to change many things, but I will never be able to make myself acceptable and pleasing to God. I can, however, be pliable in His hands. God gave me the ability to choose to turn from what displeases Him toward what pleases Him. I can either resist or allow Him to change me.
Consider what the Lord said to Jeremiah.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: "Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words." So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the LORD came to me: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it" (Jeremiah 18:1-8, ESV).
Though the context of this passage is directly related to a specific time, place and people, its principal is applicable to us individually even today. If God will relent for a nation that repents, will He not relent for an individual who repents? There is plenty of biblical and experiential evidence that says He will.
We all need to change! But our changing should be about turning away from self-reliance and turning toward God-reliance. When we submit to God's work in us, God will change what is wrong into what is right.
It is ego-centric to think I have the right to ask God, "Why have you made me so?" But it is equally ego-centric to fail to recognize that I need God to change me. Change is essential to my relationship with God—not my change but His change. So I begin the first day of this new year by turning away from self-reliance toward God-reliance. I humbly say, "Change me, Lord."