The Bible Speaks

The Holy Spirit can bring about real change
Jul. 28, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

“Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you…will be changed into another man.” 1 Samuel 10:6

I have counseled a great many people in the 30 years I have been in the ministry. Most of those I counsel have marital troubles, and usually either a husband or wife is in my office telling me how bad things are at home. The focus of the conversation is most often upon the absent spouse, and how much pain and heartache he or she has caused. “If only he wouldn’t … if only she would …” is what I hear most. In such situations I always open my Bible and share with the one in my office about what they can do to respond in a Christ-like way. “You can’t change him,” I will say, but you can change how you react to your troubles.

Most people who are experiencing heartaches in life believe that their trouble would be lessened or even ended if the person causing it were to change his behavior. Whether it’s a contentious marriage or a wayward child, an overly demanding boss or an impossible neighbor, a change in the actions of the one causing the trouble would be the most welcome news to the one who is suffering. After all, when the people in your life do well and act right, everything is so much better. The problem, of course, is that they don’t, and all your lectures on how they should be have largely gone unheeded.

In today’s text we find a very simple, but profound solution to the dilemma I’ve described. Samuel told Saul that when he encountered a group of prophets prophesying he would himself be filled with the Spirit, and would be “changed into another man.” The indwelling of and controlling by the Holy Spirit always changes a man, always. The Holy Spirit is God, and when He is given control of our lives He will only lead us to do that which pleases God. A man who is filled with the Spirit is emptied of his own selfish desires and sinful behaviors. The secret to real change in our lives is not a makeover, but a takeover; a yielding to the Spirit of God such that He controls us, instead of our controlling ourselves.

There are people in your life that need to change, yet you are not the one that can change them. Honestly, telling them how to think and what to do hasn’t worked so far, why do you think another lecture will make a difference? Stop trying to change them, and instead pray hard that the Lord will get a hold of their lives. The Bible speaks of real change that can only be brought about by the Holy Spirit working on the inside of man. When the Spirit changes the inside, right actions follow. The Holy Spirit came upon King Saul, and he was changed into another man. The same Holy Spirit that transformed him can work in your loved ones. He can do it, so why not ask Him?

The Rev. Bruce MacInnes is pastor of Turner’s Chapel.