I am going to host my first guest post! I can't tell you how excited I am for you to read this! My friend, Jordy Leigh, prayerfully wrote this post for you, and I am hoping (and praying!) that it changes your life! I met her only two months ago, and I have already been impacted by her wisdom and heart to serve God. And this post is so good. (sorry for being forward...) My life was changed because of it. Thank you so, so much Jordy!
Please check out her lovely website! I know you will be blessed by her posts. And lastly, Jordy will be replying to blog comments today, so write away! =)
Enough with talking! Read on!
Alanah had all her ducks in a row. She drew her map of life carefully, and the only colors were black and white. She adopted her parents' views of right and wrong, and never dared to question. Sometimes she had a burning desire to take her younger sister by the shoulders and fix her.
Katie was the wild child. She did as much as she could get away with. Though she didn't try to be bad, she pushed her parents' limits. When Katie looked at Alanah, she felt like a failure, and like there was nothing to be done about it. The desire to change came and went in fleeting phases.
When God works
Then Katie changed drastically. It wasn't a phase and it wasn't by her own efforts. God worked in her life.
As she read her Bible, she felt as though she was seeing for the first time. She understood - truly understood - that God is the Sovereign Lord of the universe, deserving of all the glory she could give Him. Though she had heard it many times in her life, this was the first time that she realized it in her heart.
Countless times before, Katie had tried to fix up her own life; to be responsible and mature. Countless times she had failed.
But this was different. She didn't make any effort on her own. She didn't tap into her reservoir of willpower. She simply acknowledged before God that she was helpless to change herself. Then she told Him that she was willing for Him to do His work in her life.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
-1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (emphasis added)
When God doesn't work
As Alanah watched the transformation in her younger sister's life, she couldn't help being amazed. There was no denying that she had changed for real. In fact, she truly believed that Katie had something that she didn't. Alanah's was the sensible good girl that everyone wanted her to be, but it was all superficial. What Katie had was real.
The thing is, Alanah had built up her model lifestyle by her own efforts. It looked impressive to everyone who watched her, but only she realized that it was hollow. She kept every law in the Bible, and yet her heart was missing. She had built her life based on her own abilities and performance, not on submission to God and a desire to see Him glorified.
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
Perhaps as you read this, you can think of a few Alanahs or Katies in your own life. Before you go figuring who is who, I want to encourage you to prayerfully examine your own life. If you want to fix up some people that you know, that may be an indication that you're an Alanah, yourself.
I can say this because I know from experience. I'm a lot more like Alanah than I'd like to admit.
As for the Alanahs and Katies in your life, God has a plan for them. He may work in their hearts and lives to bring about some major transformations. He may even use your words and actions to accomplish it. But the actual transformation - whether in your life or in theirs - will be His work.
Only God can change hearts.
I'll be reading all you comments, so let's discuss it!
- Are you more like Alanah or Katie?
- Have you had any experiences where God taught you something and you *know* it wasn't just you?
- If you can't change a person's heart, how can you be a friend to them?
Resources for deeper digging
Psst! For more on life transformations that only God can bring about: Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth writes for a predominately female audience, but we can all learn from this article.