Do you ever have the attitude of the trolls in Disney’s Frozen, when they sing, “We’re not saying you can change him, ‘because people don’t really change.”
Sadly, that is true for someone who does not have a personal relationship with Christ. However, for the believer, true lasting change is always possible. Why can we be so certain? Because believers through the Spirit have the power of the resurrection, which gives them both the hope and ability to change.
This is part of what makes our celebration of the resurrection so powerful.
When Paul wrote to the Christians at Ephesus, he emphasized the power of the Spirit that resides in each saved person. For Paul it was imperative that every Christian understand the significance of possessing the power of the Spirit for change. He prayed, “that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,…” (Ephesians 1:18-20).
Here Paul uses five different words to express the power God gives to every person in Christ. He identifies this great power as resurrection power – the power that raised Jesus from the grave! It is resurrection power that provides you the ability to change for God’s glory.
He prays again in Ephesians 3: “that [God] would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, …Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (3:16-21).
Again, Paul refers to the strength we receive through the Spirit in our inner man. He describes it as strength that does exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. It is the same kind of strength that empowered Jesus exceedingly abundantly above all that anyone could have ever imagined when it raised Him from the dead. It is amazing power!
Why is hope of change important through the power of the Spirit?
Real hope in the power of the Spirit for life change is important because there are so many counterfeit imitations. People receive false hope in a variety of ways. Some of the most popular include psychotropic medications that promise a cure, the power of positive thinking, hope in a list of behavioral changes which can include anything from new exercise programs to specific diets to spiritual disciplines, or hope that is placed in special people or relationships. Often in life, we bounce from thing to thing just hoping something will ultimately work. When it does not, two things typically happen. First, we suffer severe discouragement because nothing has changed despite all our efforts. Secondly, our experience confirms our false belief that there is nothing we can do to really change.
True hope is in the power of Christ.
Prior to salvation, you and every person are under the inescapable influence of the world, the devil, and the flesh (Eph 2:1-3). However, when you get saved by grace through faith, you become God’s workmanship (Eph 2:10). God breaks the power of sin and begins to do a good work in you ( Rom 8:13). Plus, God moves you from outside His family with no hope to inside His household where He begins to grow you (Eph 2:11-22). As part of God’s family, through the resurrection power of the Spirit, you have hope for real, lasting change.
Taking advantage of true hope begins with prayer.
- Pray to recognize the incredibly vast power God provides to you in your circumstance (Eph 1:18-23);
- Pray to enlarge your gratitude for God’s provision of strength (Eph 3:16; 5:18-21);
- Pray to realize that God is active and works in you according to His plan to grow you (Eph 1:11; 2:10);
- Pray to acknowledge God’s strength as greater than all other spiritual forces (Eph 1:20-21; 6:10-11);
- Pray to increasingly hope in God alone (Eph 3:14-21).