Changing who you are

I was driving down the road today, flipping absent-mindedly through the radio stations. A song that was unfamiliar caught my attention with its catchy tune. I hesitated for a moment, my hand hovering over the dial. "You ... change who you are ..." the voice crooned.

I moved my hand over to the volume dial and turned it up. Did he say you CAN change who you are, or you can't? I listened more closely.

You can change who you are.

You can change. And I knew immediately I had found a Christian radio station.

Why? Because a secular song would bring the message that however you are, it's just fine. You were born that way and it's who are you. You have a bad temper? A nasty attitude? A major selfish streak? That's just you, and everyone else can love you or leave you alone. You can't change who you are. Celebrate your flaws! Everything that's bad about you is good--it's what makes you real, and makes you human!

The Bible, on the other hand, tells us that we were created in the image of God. We should strive to be like Christ, and He will change us from glory to glory and keep improving us until the end of time. The Bible says that nothing is impossible with God. He gives us beauty for ashes, and joy for mourning, praise for heaviness. Any aspect of our human nature that is working against us can be overcome with the power that is given to us through Jesus. We can renew our minds completely and be transformed in Christ. He makes all things new!

I smiled wistfully as I thought about how strange it is that the messages from the Bible are so contrary to those from the world. But as I gave it further thought, I realized the messages have a lot in common. The enemy doesn't take the truth of God and turn it completely on its head: that would be too obvious. The opposite of the biblical message of our infinite value and precious potential would be that we are totally worthless as human beings. That's not a very palatable message and most people wouldn't fall for it. And so the enemy has just distorted the truth ever so slightly, just enough to take away our hope, and therefore our faith. Your weaknesses aren't so bad, and you can't change them anyway. You will always be who you are right now. The only thing you can do is accept it.

The end of the song brought everything home for me: "At the foot of the cross, you change who you are." The moment we come to the cross, God's power begins its work in us. So it's never in our own strength that change happens. We don't let go of our negative character traits by sheer willpower. It's only by surrendering them to Jesus, laying them at the foot of the cross, and allowing Him to work in our lives that real change comes.

Is there something you're struggling with in your personality or temperament right now? Are you thinking and behaving in ways that are making you less effective as a teacher because of those traits? Maybe you find yourself giving up on students far too easily, or raising your voice unnecessarily. Maybe you're complaining all the time and constantly looking at the negative. Maybe you're overly critical or unkind in your work place. Or maybe a bad attitude has just become the new norm for you.

The message I have for you today is this: you can change, at the foot of the cross. Resist the urge to make excuses for yourself and stay stuck in an unhealthy and unproductive mindset. Bring your shortcomings and your failures to the Lord. Ask Him to help you be the best teacher you can be, and to keep working on and through you. Ask Him to show you when you're falling short of His standard and bring you up ever higher. He will do it, and He will love you exactly as you are, every step of the way.

You can change, at the foot of the cross.

You can never fall too hard
So fast
So far
That you can't get back
When you lost where you are. 
It's never too late
So bad
So much
That you can't change who you are.
You can change who you are...
 So let the ashes fall wherever they land,
Come back from wherever you've been.
 To the foot of the cross,
To the feet of Jesus.
The feet of Jesus.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post!

Lara said...

Thank you.

Marsha :) said...

Thank you, this was right on time!
Peace and blessings~

Carla said...

So glad to have found your website. Thank you Lord!

Anonymous said...

I have been following your posts on Facebook for quite some time. As a teacher, they have really been my savior on some days when I feel like giving up. As I was searching for devotions for teachers, I realized that you do those as well! I am so delighted to find this blog. Thank you SO much for all that you do to help us teachers make it through!

smileymom said...

My children and I love that song. We stumbled upon a new Christian radio station and it is the only station we have listened to for over 2 months now. It makes for many wonderful teachable moments from the words of the songs. So glad to have found you on Facebook.