Titus 2:13-14 “our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
Have you ever wished you could change someone? Are there people that really irritate you sometimes, or maybe all the time? And maybe that person is your spouse, or your kids, or someone else that you, in your heart of hearts, love, but who nevertheless irritate you, grieve you, or do things that you just can’t stand from time to time. Well, imagine how God sees us, this One Who “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4).” He has said “As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11).”
God wants more than anything that sinful, fallen people turn from their wicked ways and live – not because they irritate Him (although he is surely grieved by those who reject Him and continue in their self-destructive patterns of sin) but because He loves them and wants nothing else but to bless them with all the blessings His love will afford them. But he doesn’t force these things on anyone. He warns, encourages, entreats, and pleads with people to turn from their wickedness and live, but more than that, He has given His life for them. He has died on the cross, the greatest act of love ever demonstrated, that we might live. And it is this same love that He wants us to shower on others, though they may be sinners, and though they may hate Him. No amount of brow-beating, threatening, and criticism will turn a person from a sinner to a saint. Nor will these same tactics change the heart of anyone in our life. Do you really want the best for others? Do you really want them to change – not to make them more like you, but so that they would be transformed to be like Christ. Then set your heart of loving them, no matter what. Set an example for them, bless them, pray for them, and give yourself to them, in small ways and large, as God gives you opportunity. This is the example of Christ, Who, in the end, is the only One Who can truly change anyone. He does this by purifying their hearts, if they will but put their trust in His death for them, the most unselfish love ever poured out on anyone. It was “while we were still sinners (that) Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), and it is His unselfish love demonstrated in the hearts of those who truly love Him that will reach those around them with the cleansing gift of forgiveness and love that He longs to pour into their lives.
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