In the early 1990s, I worked with an MSW-Social Worker for one of New York State’s Division of Parole’s Transitional programs. Joe taught me a lot about the grimy-dirty side of life that I had never been exposed to and the ways to avoid being taken advantage of. He would always explain that the optimism that I possessed left me open as an easy target for “bad people with bad intentions.”
In New York City, many individuals take public transportation or walk to their destinations due to the hustle and bustle of life in an overly populated city. One day, as we returned from lunch, I decided to stop by a bodega and buy a packet of gum. After we left the store, Joe commented on the fact that I did not count my change, and my quick response was that “it was only coins, and that it really didn’t matter.” I knew that Joe would always have a rational explanation, so I sighed and prepared myself to hear yet another reason why I should change my behavior.
My faithful friend explained that if 100 customers enter the store every day and each person is short-changed by 10 cents, then the overage that the store-owner receives in a month adds up to $300 per month and $3600 per year. When I sat down at my desk and counted my change, I realized that I had been short-changed by 18 cents. The owner of the bodega used a technique in which he apologized for giving me nickels and pennies because he had a limited amount of quarters. The lesson was well-learned: Be willing to listen, learn, and remain open to change!
From a spiritual perspective, we have a guidebook-the Bible which addresses every aspect of our daily lives. Often there is a gap between studying the Word of God and the practical application of the Word to our daily lives in order for a complete transformation to occur.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22 NIV
We must possess the desire to live by the Word of God. God is awesome in the fact that He did not give us the burden of trying to figure out what is needed in our lives; the gap is filled in by the Holy Spirit who is our Teacher. For the connection to be complete, it is our duty to pray for wisdom and to be filled with the Holy Spirit, or the power of God cannot fully institute the much-needed changes in our lives.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV
Begin today by performing a self-evaluation of your thoughts, behaviors, and habits. Are there discrepancies between God’s definition of righteousness by faith and your current lifestyle?
As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; Romans 3:10 NIV
Confession, Repentance, Praying for Forgiveness and Making a Commitment to Serve God requires Obedience and Sacrifice.
God has given us the ability to renounce sin and strive for spiritual perfection. Just a word of caution: If you make the commitment to do the will of God and completely live for Him, you will have to give up and let go of people, places, and things.
Do not be deceived or short-changed by the enemy-Satan! The Word of GOD is TRUTH and we can be transformed through the power of God and our Teacher-the Holy Spirit.
Jesus left us an example of obedience and servitude; He was born lowly, lived to please God his Father, sacrificed his life and suffered a cruel death on the cross. But, we know the story did not end there; Matthew 28 tells us of Jesus Christ rising from the dead and Acts 1:9-11 states:
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Allow the Holy Spirit to fully lead you and guide you from this day forward; God has a great work for each of us to do before His Son, Jesus comes again.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NIV
Claim your transformation by inviting the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and direct your life. Jesus’ Second coming is upon us: We can be Victors and have Eternal Life if we so desire.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019
Bible Reading: Matthew 28 and Acts 1
Prayer for today: Dear God, We confess that we have not lived as you have commanded. We ask forgiveness for not listening, learning, and fulfilling our Commission to witness to others about your love, sacrifice, the plan of Salvation, and your soon return. We ask you to fill us with your Holy Spirit and to transform us from our pitiful state of hearing and not doing as you have commanded. Lord, we are willing to completely submit and obey; we will live according to your will from this day forward. This prayer we ask in the Worthy name of Jesus. Amen.