We Can Truly Change
by Gary Henry
“…that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
FEW THINGS ARE MORE UNIVERSAL THAN THE HUMAN DESIRE TO CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. The sheer size of the self-help section in any bookstore is a fair indication of how desperate we are to conquer the problems that beset us and to increase the quality of our lives. Virtually every person would like, in some significant way, to improve the “self?” that he or she presently is.
How ironic it is that, despite our deep desire for change and the lavish attention that publishers pay to our personal improvement, many people still hold to the deterministic idea that real change is not possible for a human being. This viewpoint says we are so conditioned by heredity and environment that we can’t change in any radical way. Whatever we “are,” that is what we’ll always be. And our culture has no shortage of psychologically correct labels to define what we are. Once labeled, a person cannot unlabel himself. The most he can hope for is to keep from externally acting out what the label says he’ll always be on the inside.
Christianity, however, makes a deeper change possible. After listing certain groups who practiced notorious sin, Paul said to the church in Corinth, “And such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). These were people who’d actually changed, and the change was not just behavioral. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul wrote: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3,4).
What Jesus Christ offers the groaning human soul is not superficial pain relief but radical surgery. The drastic rehabilitation He envisions is certainly not the work of one day. But just because we require more than a quick fix, that doesn’t mean we’re forever locked into our mistakes. “Beware of succumbing to failure as inevitable” (Oswald Chambers).
“Change, indeed, is painful, yet ever needful; and if memory has its force and worth, so also has hope” (Thomas Carlyle).
A Good Attitude
by Irvin Himmel
The posture of one’s mind makes him what he is. Words and deeds are mere reflections of the heart. It is highly important to develop a good attitude. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). Here are some ways in which it is imperative that one show a good attitude:
Toward the Word of God
God gave us the divine word to guide us. We are not capable of directing our own steps (Jer. 10:23). God’s revelation shows us the way out of darkness into light, out of sin into righteousness, out of gloom into hope, out of failure into success, out of misery into joy, out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of Christ.
When Paul preached the gospel to the Thessalonians long ago, they displayed a good attitude toward the truth. They received the word of God, “not as the word of men, but as it is in the truth, the word of God” (1 Thess. 2:13). God’s word is to be reverenced and obeyed because it is the word of God. To have the right attitude toward God necessitates the right attitude toward His word. This is the disposition to believe and yield to the authority of His will.
Toward Correcting Faults
No matter how terrible a mistake one may make, there is hope if he shows a good attitude. David did not have that kind of attitude immediately after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. For a time, he attempted to conceal his guilt. He wanted to shift the blame. It was not until Nathan the prophet pointed the finger of accusation straight toward David, using the parable of the little ewe lamb, that the proper attitude developed. David humbly admitted his guilt, God put away his sin, and from that time on, David was of a different disposition toward what he had done. If a person has a good attitude toward correcting his faults, he does not become angry with one who lovingly points out his sins, nor does he resent attempts to help him overcome his weaknesses.
Toward Daily Work
Every person is free to choose his occupation. Whether one decides to be a plumber, doctor, lawyer, salesman, farmer, teacher, engineer, policeman, or something else, his mental outlook toward his vocation has strong bearing on success versus failure. Some people complain constantly of their work, the low pay, the horrible conditions under which they labor day by day, and the general misery that they experience. One wonders why they do not change jobs. Is their work really all that bad, or is it a matter of attitude?
Other people have the kind of attitude that makes their daily work a joy. They have been careful to choose the kind of vocation that enables them to do what they really want to do. Their frame of mind contributes to their being successful and feeling a sense of accomplishment. This good attitude toward their chosen field of work enables them to cope with unpleasant situations which may arise.
Toward Solving Problems
Perplexing and distressing developments have a way of surfacing in all human relationships. Problems may arise in the church, in the home, in our work, in school, in the neighborhood, in business transactions, and in numerous other connections. It is a bit unrealistic to expect life on this earth to be free of problems, and it is equally visionary to expect our problems to automatically vanish.
Like the poor, some problems are always with us. But the person who has a good frame of mind toward the solving of his problems, whatever they may be, is to be commended. In many cases, our attitude toward a problem is half the solution. With a good attitude we can approach the problem objectively, view it sensibly, and handle it wisely. Even if the problem is never fully solved, a good attitude will provide the means to forge ahead and not be unduly upset or hindered.
The times in which we live are trying to our souls. Evil forces are pulling and tugging at us. On every hand there are temptations to sin. Young people who want to do right have an especially difficult task. So many of today’s youth have imbibed the “do as you please” philosophy. Drugs, illicit sex, insistence on one’s rights to gratify his lusts no matter how others may be injured, intoxication, profanity, lying, stealing — these and other evils are increasingly prevalent among young people.
The Bible warns that all who do right will be subjected to fiery trials. Old and young alike may expect pressures and temptations. We must learn to have a good attitude in the face of whatever trials come our way. “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial . . .” (Jas. 1:12, NASB). With the proper attitude toward trials the Christian keeps his faith, prays for strength, rejoices that tribulations empower him to develop patience, and draws comfort from the promises of God.
What is your attitude toward the word of God, toward correcting your faults, toward your daily work, toward solving problems, and toward trials? May each one of us examine self and work to develop an improved attitude in all these vital areas.
— Via Truth Magazine XXII: 30, pp. 488-489, August 3, 1978
News & News
We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Tom Holland who recently passed away. Let those of us who are Christians be praying for all his loved ones.
And also for our prayer list…
It was discovered that a small tumor, about the size of a pea, has developed, due to Judy Daugherty’s severe fall to the head. She will soon be undergoing some tests to determine how to best treat it.
Bennie Medlock appears to have had a minor stroke recently; and though he is now feeling better, he will be seeing a doctor this week concerning it.
Michelle Rittenhouse has been been having some trouble with fibromyalgia, which she began taking treatment for a few weeks ago and was also diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
Jewell Wilson, who is 97 and continues to have various health problems, has now begun hospice care at the home of her daughter and son-in-law.
The shut-ins: Mary Vandevander and Sue Wooten
Others to remember in prayer: Ronnie Crews, Sunny Nichols, Jean Beach, Raylee Metts, Lexi Crawford, Steve Vesta, Dexter Roberts, Betty Miles, Buddy Gornto, Dolly Downs Moody, Jesse Bailey, Colleen Henson, Donell Wells, and Kelsey Williams
Let us also not forget our elderly and those of our number who have chronic ailments.
The ladies Tuesday evening Bible class will be discontinued for the next several weeks.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21)
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 5 PM (worship)
Wednesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)