“Let no one say, 'I cannot overcome my defects of character'; for if this is your decision, then you cannot have eternal life. The impossibility is all in your will. If you will not, that constitutes the cannot.” ~ Sons and Daughters of God, p115.
Remember it is not God's will that you remain out of His saving grace. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” ~ II Peter 3:9.
So it is up to each one of us to direct our minds to come as little children, prepared to learn at the feet of the very one who promises us eternal life, but also to be willing to change our defects of character. Perhaps the hardest prayer to pray is to ask God to put you through all that it takes to make it to heaven. That is a strong prayer and will most probably have significant consequences. But as God allows and progresses with His chiselling and polishing, be prepared for change and refinement.
The very first thing that needs to come to mind is the familiar song most know well, “And the things of earth grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Keep the mind stayed on God, to have Him constantly in your thoughts. If we allow our minds to be invaded with these thoughts, it will eventually crowd out the world and its attractions. “Uprightness in deal and moral integrity will secure the favour of God, and make a man a blessing to himself and to society.”
Also take courage when trials come upon you. “The Lord Jesus gave Himself a sacrifice for us. He knows us and He knows just what we need. Trial lasts only for a season. Encourage your heart in faith. We must not look on trial as punishment. Christ is the sin bearer. He is our Redeemer, and He desires to purify us from all dross. He means to make us partakers of the divine nature, developing in us the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The very fact that we are called upon to endure trials proves that the Lord Jesus sees in us something very precious that He would have developed. If He saw nothing in us whereby we might glorify His name He would not spend time refining us.” ~ That I May Know Him, p277
So don't become slaves to passion and vice because we don't think we can change. No, be prepared to go through whatever changes are needed to find the favour of God. He won't work on worthless material, but will bring about trials and difficulties for our learning and refinement. They are the best form of education and they only last a while. Constantly dwell upon the beauty, goodness, mercy and love of Jesus. It will strengthen your mental and moral powers.
Changes Us From Sinners to Saints
The promise for this change is, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” ~ Isaiah 1:18
Our God is clothed in power. If we say we cannot overcome sin, we deny His omnipotence and make void the gospel. He is able to take all who are dead in trespasses and sins and by the intervention and co-operation of the Holy Spirit, transform the human character, bringing the soul back to the lost image of God.
Those who believe in Jesus are changed from being rebels against the law of God into obedient servants and subjects of His kingdom. They are born again, regenerated, sanctified through His truth, of which is found for our learning in His word, still freely available to us.
The world is to see God in His followers. The more closely we behold Him, the more nearly we shall resemble Him in character, and the greater will be our efficiency in working for others. Keep a watch on Him who lived a life among men of perfect obedience and you will by living faith have a living connection with God. Remember, if we would be a saint in heaven, we all must first be a saint on earth.
Changes our Rudeness to Refinement
The promise for this change is, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” ~ Romans 12:9
Rudeness is often a trait that is developed early in years, and left without check will develop into a habit, which when often repeated, will become part of our character. This trait lasts into adulthood and the longer it is left to manifest itself, the harder it is to overcome it. What many don't realise is when they display rudeness and arrogance, they push people away from them. Even those who profess to be in the message of truth who do not make any attempt to squash their unruly traits, distance themselves from people, because they push others away with their harsh and rude words. It often breeds selfishness into the character as well. What ever they think is right, is right, and not to be questioned.
To enjoy the company of people and have them want to be with you, make the atmosphere warm and inviting. Let kind words be spoken, show self-sacrifice, let love be cherished with peace and Christian politeness, and you will not only have people enjoying your presence, but also angels will be your guests.
The best place to start is in our very own homes. If self-denial and thoughtfulness are practised to each member of the family, it will make a significant impact on the whole family and bare its fruit right through to the family in heaven. This principle is too often taken far too lightly. If we can’t get our homes right, then we will have very little hope of getting the church right, which in turn, the community will fall into utter ruin. That is obvious in the communities around us in today’s society.
Changes our Slothfulness to Dispatch
The promise for this change is, “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” ~ Romans 12:11
Many fall into the trap of burning the midnight oil and neglecting to get the hours of sleep before the midnight hour. Then as the morning dawns and the freshness of the early morning air is awaiting the arising of the early riser, these slumbering ones continue to sleep in bed and miss that early morning vigour in their day.
Rather than fall into this trap, try making a list of what is to be achieved the following day and endeavour to rise up early and set your times sufficient to achieve them and stick to it. When one task is complete, it will give a sense of achievement, then move on to the next with new enthusiasm, and when the day is coming to a close, the sleep will come early and will be a sweet sleep, getting those valuable hours before midnight.
If any are under the control of slow, sluggish movements, it will make a long job out of a short one. It is the duty of those who are slow, to reform and become more expeditious. If they can take this to heart, they will overcome their fussy, lingering habits.
Earnest, persevering efforts will place every soul on vantage-ground of victory. He who strives to overcome in and through the grace of Christ, will have divine enlightenment, and will bring a good religion into the little as well as into the large happenings of life with efficiency and lightness.
Changes our Stubborn Will to Sanctified Will
The promise for this change is, “As the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” ~ Ephesians 6:6
Naturally we suffer from a stubborn and wayward heart. We are naturally under the law of Satan's government as we come into this world and a major difficulty we have is to deal with the corruption of an unsanctified heart, including an unwillingness to submit to the will of God.
But don't give up in despair. When there is a determined purpose born into the heart to overcome, we will have a longing for something better. As we each exercise to correct the defects of our character and cultivate right practises, the difficulties of overcoming will be lessened in proportion as the heart is sanctified by the grace of Christ. What a work could be done in our hearts as individuals if our proud and stubborn wills were submitted to the will of God. We need to ever keep in mind that self-will and pride were the very evils that turned angels into demons and barred the gates of heaven against them. It will be no different to weak humanity if we hold on to the same traits.
By yielding your will to Christ, your life will change and be allied to a power which is above all principalities and powers of this earth. You will have strength from God and there will be a power, earnestness, and a simplicity that will make you a polished instrument in the hands of God.
Changes our Constant Complaining to Praise.
The promise for this change is, “Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” ~ Psalm 107:8
As we live our lives, we should not display a faith that is like a crippled band of mourners, groaning and moaning all along the journey to our Father's house. No, if people are going to come up to genuine Christians in the last of time and ask what we have because they see something in us worth having, it won't be frowns and complaints they want. We must display an attractive and bright demeanour. The Christians who profess to know Christ who constantly complain, who seem to think if they wear a smile of happiness and contentment is sin, they need to look at their perspective of Christianity again.
Suppose we change the order. Count your blessings. Realise there are a lot of people worse off than ourselves. The blessings of God are more than the hairs on our head. Meditate upon His love and care for each one of us, and may it inspire us with love that trials cannot interrupt or afflictions extinguish.
If we would only see how we have been delivered by the hand of our merciful God every day; that our pulse beats and our heart pumps moment by moment, may we not complain of our trials and struggles, but count them as education of a highest order and talk more of the mercies of God.
Changes our Defiance to Submission
The promise for this change is, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” ~ Hebrews 13:17
So many people busy themselves in their work, and when another comes to offer some advice on another method of accomplishing the task, they get offended and become stubborn to change. They refuse to receive correction and help, busy themselves even more in their work, but accomplish little and become confused and discouraged in their daily chores, whereas if they had just chosen to listen to some sound advice, they would learn to accomplish much more.
From the other perspective, it is a very delicate task to tell others their faults. The reprover is likely to find those whom they are trying to help will respond with defiance and opposition. But for all this, advice should still be given, and faults explained. Often when alone and the task at hand is becoming heavy and tedious, the mind can reflect on the words spoken and a quiet submission will bring about the needed change.
It may seem that we measure ourselves by ourselves to improve, but this usually only produces deform, not reform. We must begin in our own hearts, then the spirit, the words, the expressions, and the actions of life will manifest that change has taken place. In humility we shall correct every fault and defect of character, because Christ is our measure, abiding in our hearts, then we shall be fitted up for the heavenly family above.
Changes our Empty Lamps to Full Lamps
The promise for this change is, “But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” ~ Matthew 25:4
Let everyone consider the parable of the ten virgins. All had lamps, that is, an outward resemblance of religion, but only five of them had the inward piety. Five of them were wanting in the oil of grace. The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, was not abiding in their hearts, they didn't know their Saviour personally. Without the oil of grace, of what use was it to bear the lamp of profession?
No matter how high the profession, or how high the positions, if the oil of grace is void, there is nothing to feed the lamp, and it cannot show the clear shining rays of light.
The reason why the Bridegroom delays is because He is long-suffering to us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Through Christ each of us can climb the ladder of progress and bring every power under the control of Jesus. In spirit, in thought, in word, and in action, you may show and display that you are moved by the Spirit of Christ, and your life will wield a power of influence for others.
Dear friends, we are living in sincerely solemn times, too serious to be careless and negligent. Pray, believe and obey, but it must be emphasised again, we cannot do it of ourselves. Only by the grace of Jesus Christ can you have power to bring good to your own person, and the greatest blessing to others.
Lay hold of Jesus, and you will work the works of Christ and finally receive the eternal reward, along with many you have laboured for.
~All based on Sons and Daughters of God, pages 111-118