Apart from Him we can do nothing

Does God Want to Change Who You Are?

A person looking in a reflection of himself in a window. Sometimes we ask "Does God want to change who we are?"

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Does God want to change who you are? It is true He wants to transform you, but God will not erase you in the process.

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

Let’s face it. Nobody looks forward to change.

Change can be messy. Painful. Uncomfortable.

In our humanness, we are not immune to this attitude when it comes to God performing change in our lives. We wonder if there is something about ourselves that we appreciate that we will lose if we allow Christ to do His work.

If this causes us to hold back parts of our lives from Christ, this is something that needs to be dealt with. If we have made a decision to follow Christ, we must be prepared to surrender to Him.

However, a new believer who is still learning about how Christ and the Holy Spirt are going to work in their lives may have a bit of fear related to the unknown.

If you find yourself fearing God wants to change who you are, take heart. God does have change in mind, but if you are committed to following Christ, it is the kind of change that you will appreciate in the end.

God Wants to Cleanse You

As today’s passage states, God wants to give you a new heart. He wants to remove the heart you have, with all its resentment, anger, and defiance, and replace it with a heart that responds to His love.

Wouldn’t this mean God wants to change who you are? No. Because when God gives you a tender, responsive heart, what He is doing is making it able to commune with Him. This isn’t about changing your essential personhood, but transforming you from death to life (Ephesians 2:4-7).

How does this happen? We are transformed through Christ when we believe in His saving work of sacrificing Himself on the cross, paying the penalty for our sins.  This aligns us first with His death, and then His life. This is the essential symbolism in the sacrament of baptism – showing we are buried with and then made alive with Christ when we believe (Romans 6:3-4).

And just like the baptismal water symbolizes, we emerge cleansed, purified to walk with Christ in the lifelong journey of discipleship. Which also means, we enter into God’s lifelong work of sanctifying us – transforming us more into the image of His son (2 Corinthians 3:18).

God Wants to Equip You

Today’s passage also tells us that God wants to put a new Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit – so that we will obey God.

There are many ways the Holy Spirit ministers to us and through us. One of those ways is that He empowers us to do the things that please God.

Paul frames this in the negative, telling us that the Spirit gives us the opposite desires of what our sinful flesh craves (Galatians 5:16-18), but the point is identical.

We have spoken often on this site about obedience being a mark of a true disciple of Jesus Christ. The reason we are able to will to do good is because God gives us His Holy Spirit. Otherwise, we would be in a hopeless position, for the Bible tells us of the wickedness of the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9).

The Holy Spirit’s involvement also helps us see that obedience is not about earning our salvation, but about the gift God provides us when we put our faith in Him.

God does not want to change who you are. God wants to equip you to do His will, as well as equip you in the desire to do it. This is a change in your perspective, not your personality.

God Wants to Transform You

Rather than changing us, God is actually developing us into our best possible version of ourselves. God’s desire is to transform us into the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29).

Link to Pinterest pin image of a butterfly cocoon with text that reads "The Christian life is like a Chrysalis. Our old self dies so our new self can live in Christ". God made each of us unique. He made what He intended to make the first time. But just as our human bodies change and grow over time, so will our spiritual lives in Christ when we submit to Him in faith.

Think of the lesson of the caterpillar. The caterpillar may enjoy its existence now, but unless it goes through a transformation, it cannot become all that is intended for it. In fact, the butterfly is its final natural state. If a caterpillar never transforms, it will never experience the fullness of life that lies ahead of it.

The Christian life is like a chrysalis; our old self dies so our new self can live in Christ.

Things can change about us, but we are still who we are. I am still me, whether I am a newborn, child, adolescent, adult, or senior. When we say God wants to change who we are, what it really means is God wants to help transform us into mature disciples of Jesus Christ. One that can fully, freely enjoy all the blessings of communion with God.

If we are fully surrendered to Christ, we need to learn to embrace the change He is producing in us, even when we don’t understand what He’s doing.  We can trust that God has our best in mind (Jeremiah 29:11).

More Bible verses relevant to the question “Does God Want to Change Who You Are?”

Psalm 51:10; Acts 15:8-11; Romans 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 4:21-24; Titus 3:3-7; 2 Peter 1:3-7

All Biblical reference links courtesy of Bible Gateway, a searchable online Bible tool hosting more than 200 versions of the Bible in over 70 languages.

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