Posted by: glorifyhim1 | May 19, 2018

The One Who Changes Me

The One Who Changes Me

 

“Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.”

(Psalm 61:1-4)

 

Recently, during my devotions I read the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector who, short of stature, climbed a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus. You can read this story in Luke 19:1-10. I have read this story countless times, animatedly told it to preschoolers, and sung songs with them about the “wee” little man. Yet I’m not sure that I was prepared for the question that God placed on my heart during my devotional time – What are you willing to do to be closer to Jesus?

 

Is there something I need to give up?

 

Is there something I need to do?

 

Is there an attitude that needs an adjustment?

 

What am I willing to do to be closer to Jesus? What are you willing to do?

 

Zacchaeus eagerly sought to get close to Jesus as he climbed up the sycamore tree to watch Jesus pass by. When Jesus told Zacchaeus he needed to go to his house, Zacchaeus gladly welcomed Him. However, as Zacchaeus got close to Jesus, we discover that not only did he welcome Jesus into his home, but he also welcomed Jesus into his heart. Getting close to Jesus made a change in Zacchaeus. “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (v.8). Zacchaeus willingly gave half of his goods to the poor and vowed to restore fourfold anything that he had taken from anyone falsely. Jesus had changed Zacchaeus’ heart. And that’s what happens when we truly get close to Jesus. We are changed!

 

Jesus wants to have a relationship with you and me just as He did with Zacchaeus. Do I seek Jesus? Do I read my Bible, study His Word,  and spend time alone with Him in prayer? Do I welcome Him into my life and heart just as Zacchaeus did? The writer of Hebrews stated: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts you double-minded” (Hebrews 4:8). The Psalmist exclaimed: “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). As we look to Jesus in every circumstance or situation, in every joy and every need, as we seek Him in all we do, He comes to us and envelops us with His Presence. He draws us closer and closer to Him.

 

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he urged them: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

As I come to Jesus just as I am, as I seek Him with all of my heart, and as I bring everything before him in prayer – my worries, my struggles, my fears, my frustrations, my sorrows, my hopes, my dreams …. – He meets me where I am. Through the years I’ve learned that problems do not necessarily go away, burdens are not always lifted, the miraculous does not always happen. Yet God is faithful. He walks with me, helps me, strengthens and encourages me, comforts me, and gives me peace.

 

And, in the midst of my circumstances and situations, He changes me. He teaches me. He guides me. He may give me understanding that helps me grow. He may shine light on a situation that helps me be patient and wait. He lovingly and tenderly works to fashion me to become more like Him. And when I get discouraged because I seem to grow so slowly, He covers me with His mercy and grace and guards my heart and mind with His peace. This peace protects me from thoughts, attitudes, pre-conceived notions, and any other thing that can hinder my closeness to Him and His work in me.

 

I am so very thankful for Jesus, the One who comes near, draws me close, and keeps me near to Him. He is my Savior (Matthew 1:20-21), my Redeemer (Mark 10:45), my Shepherd (John 10:11), my Friend (John 15:13) – and the One who changes me! Thank You, Jesus!

 

 

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