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February 26, 2015

The Power to Change

“You formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You.”  Saint Augustine

People who know their lives will soon be over tend to feel a desperate urge to change. But desperation to change is not enough. In order to sustain the changes, we have to be connected to a power source beyond ourselves. We have to move from willpower to the real power that comes from a connection to our Creator. If you have come to the end of yourself and are exhausted from trying to control your life, Jesus offers you the invitation of a lifetime:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burnt out on religion? Come to Me.
Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to
take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me – watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”  Matthew 11:28-29, MSG

The Bible consistently reveals that humans are created in God’s image and that we have an eternal part of us – our spirits. It’s the most important part of our lives because everything else hinges on it. We were created as spiritual beings and, to develop spiritual energy, we have to cultivate a healthy connection to our Creator. If you are connected to your Creator, you will grow like you’ve never grown before, and you’ll experience real power to make lasting changes.

Just as a branch bears fruit out of its connection to the vine, Jesus says our lives will be fruitful if we remain connected to Him. We are the branch and He is the vine. As His power and life flows through us, we are able to bear much fruit. The branch by itself cannot produce life; it can only draw life from the vine. As strange as it may sound, it’s not up to you to produce the results. You’re not responsible for producing fruit; Jesus is. You don’t have to sweat and strive, work harder, or discipline yourself to be more spiritual through sheer willpower. When you realize this truth, it’s incredibly liberating!

All we have to do – our only role – is to be the branch and connect to the vine. If we are connected to the vine, we’ll be spiritually healthy and be filled with His energy. Relying on Him will reduce our stress and allow us the freedom to be fully engaged in life.

So, how do you stay connected to the vine?

1. Constant communication. We maintain this connection through conversational prayer. When you wake up in the morning, it’s vital to start your day off right by just talking to God. Then, keep the conversation going throughout the rest of your day. This is called practicing the presence of God and will keep you connected to Him.

2. Constant confession. This doesn’t mean you have to seek out your pastor, priest, or minister and tell him your latest dirt. It also doesn’t involve beating yourself up and feeling bad for a set period of time. No, it’s really just another dimension of your ongoing conversation with God throughout the day. When you become aware of something you shouldn’t have said or done, just confess it and move on. Confession is agreeing with God that our way was wrong, and repentance is deciding to go God’s way and trust His power.

Communication and confession will keep us connected to the ultimate power source – the vine. This is the key for moving from willpower to real power. Resolutions and commitments are useless when we rely on our willpower. You may be able to keep them for a while but, eventually, your own power won’t be enough. You move from willpower to His power by staying connected.

Personal Challenge:

1. Have you ever truly connected to your Creator? Respond now to Jesus’ invitation to come to Him. ( Matthew 11:28-29) Offer Him your life in exchange for the life He intended for you. Then, you will experience His real power in your life.

2. Begin to practice a life of constant communication and confession. It will make a difference in your daily life.