Changed, Yet Changing

“A Christian is a radically changed person the moment he or she trusts Christ.

This doesn’t mean we become ‘saints’ in practice overnight. It does mean a new creation — a new principle of life — has been planted within us by the Holy Spirit, and we can never be the same again.
– Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace

Yesterday morning we sang the song once. Twice. Three times.

Each time, I was moved.

“I’m no longer a slave to fear/
I am a child of God”

That usually means something. The song was meant for me.

no-longer-slaves

No Longer Slaves \\ Jonathan and Melissa Helser \\ Bethel Music

But it’s one thing to sing the words. And another thing to mean them.

I do know I’m a child of God. I totally believe that.

But no longer a slave to fear?

Um, I’m not there yet.

It can make me question whether I’ve been truly transformed into Christlikeness. I know I’ve been fully justified, but what happened to being sanctified?

It’s a process. A long one.

But a real process, nonetheless. I mustn’t forget. Because the truth is, I have been delivered from bondage to fear. And as I grow in understanding and practice of that, I continue to see more of the transformation.

“In justification we rely on what Christ did for us on the cross. In sanctification we rely on Christ to work in us by His Holy Spirit. In justification, as well as regeneration, God acts alone. In sanctification He works in us but elicits our response to cooperate with Him.”
– Jerry Bridges

I want to fully depend on what Christ did then.

And I want to fully cooperate with what he’s wanting to do now.

So I continue singing:

  • to declare it as truth,
  • to preach it deeper into me,
  • and to claim it as a promise that will be fulfilled.

“You split the sea so I could walk right through it /
My fears were drowned in perfect love /
You rescued me so I could stand and sing /
I am a child of God”

Even though I’ve been changed, I still continue to change—sometimes in ways I can see, and sometimes in invisible ways that lie beneath the surface.

Either way, I’ll never be the same again, praise God.

2-Corinthians-5-17

* * *

In what ways have you seen change? In what ways do you still long to see change? Please share in the comments.

Listen, believe, and worship with No Longer Slaves here. 

40 thoughts on “Changed, Yet Changing

  1. blankCeil

    Hi Lisa! You hit on a place that I need to work on. Saying my faith vs. being truly invested in it. I think I’ll be working on that my whole life.
    But I have seen change in the way I don’t sink quite so low in the bad times. I’m working on prayer and then ‘letting go’, realizing that God has everything in his hands. It’s actually very freeing!
    Happy Monday,
    Ceil

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I do believe it’s a lifelong journey, this transformation into who we’re meant to be. It sounds like you’re on a great path, Ceil. Anytime we see progress, rejoice! 🙂

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I am learning to release that frustration more an more, but it still lingers underneath. 🙁 But yes, his grace is a life-giving answer to all our problems. Thanks, Mari-Anna.

  2. blankSharon

    You know, Lisa, that I will totally relate to and understand your thoughts in this one. We have talked about being *fear friends* – not something that I’m happy about for either one of us, but comforting all the same. Yes, the Lord has delivered me from fear, and it is now the process of working out that victory that He is seeking to do in my life. It’s a long process, sometimes I sail and sometimes I fail. I’m just glad that He doesn’t give up.

    I remember the time that these verses struck me in a new way:

    “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.” (Hebrews 2:14-15, NLT)

    What struck me was the wording – “lived their lives as slaves to the FEAR of dying.” Notice that we are freed from death, once and forever. So the devil was disarmed of that weapon. But, in absence of that, he still uses the FEAR to enslave us. Somehow knowing that fear isn’t just an emotion, but a weapon used against me, sometimes makes me braver in the fight. I don’t like to give the enemy any territory!

    Thanks for your thought-provoking words. And I join you in praising the Lord that we are being changed, transformed, renewed all the time in His Spirit!

    GOD BLESS!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I know you know how I feel, Sharon. This is so good: “It is now the process of working out that victory that He is seeking to do in my life. It’s a long process, sometimes I sail and sometimes I fail.” Your words really speak to me. The enemy of fear can be so debilitating, even when there is no substance behind it. I like your attitude and join you in praising God for what’s he’s already done and will continue to do in us!

  3. blankBarbara H.

    First of all – love the bottom graphic, and looked up and installed Bible Screen!

    Yes, I have areas like that where I’ve seen God work and change me, but I still have a long way to go: fear/anxiety, pride, the need to love more and better. I’m so thankful for His grace and longsuffering.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I had never heard of Bible Screen until I found that image. I’m glad I ran across it now for both of our sakes. 🙂 Yes, his long-suffering and grace are priceless gifts!

  4. blankAndrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Thinking of fear, I am always reminded of Yoda’s classic line in “The Empire Strikes Back”.

    When faced with Luke’s declaration that he’s not afraid, Yoda says, “You will be.”

    And that is the crux of the matter for me. I don’t ask freedom from fear; I am quite happy with God giving me the sand to keep doing something useful in the face of fear that turns my guts to water and empties my bladder of its own accord.

    Please pardon the image, but start terror does that, and as recent events have shown – it is coming to a neighbourhood near me, and near you.

    I pray to God that I will continue to run to the sound of the guns, rather than away. That’s honour enough for anyone.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/09/your-dying-spouse-208-drinking-from.html

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, that is honor enough. You’re a brave soul, Andrew. Not many of us have your courage. But I pray for grace to respond with bravery if I’m ever in your circumstances. We do know for certain that death is around the corner for each of us; the question is how we will respond in the face of it. You’re answering that daily.

  5. blankPam

    So enjoyed this post, Lisa! I could not agree more…transformation and sanctification are long processes and I am not sure they are really accomplished until the moment He calls us home. There is so much to discover about Him and ourselves and there are some things I don’t think He can show us until we are older. I love the Jerry Bridges’ quote and it is from one of my favorite books!! Have a richly blessed day in Him.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Good point, Pam. There are lots of things that we aren’t even prepared to see until we’re older. That’s more evidence of God’s grace itself! Thank you for sharing that with me. I’ve loved every Jerry Bridges’ book that I’ve read. Glad you liked this one too. So sorry we’ll no longer have more writings from him.

  6. blankDianne Thornton

    Yes … sanctification is a loooong process. I’m grateful that God is willing to take the necessary time in order to help us (me) become like His Son. Learning new aspects of the same lesson. I, too, want to fully cooperate with Him! I love the “repeat” of music to drive the theme deeper into our souls …

  7. blankRachel Q

    Yes, I can agree with you on this. I am no way living perfect yet so thankful for His grace and sanctifying work in me to bring me to a better place. Thanks for these encouraging words! (Stopping by from #Intentional Tuesday)

  8. blankMary Geisen

    We also sang the same song on Sunday and I remember repeating the words “I am no longer a slave to fear” throughout the day. It was almost as if I needed to get myself to believe what God has already proved.

    I know I am a work in progress and continue to work through change. However, I choose God to walk this journey with me. He is patient and is willing to wait for me to catch up. Blessings my friend!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      You sang it too? Love when that happens. I need to keep the chorus on repeat in my brain. 🙂 Love this: “He is patient and is willing to wait for me to catch up.” Thanks, Mary!

  9. blankJean Wise

    beautiful song and message. Yes yes a process. over and over again, slow transformation. Often we don’t ever see the change but it happened. I always read your posts and leave with something to think about. Thank you for all your work here.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Jean. On World Gratitude Day, I am grateful for your friendship and encouraging words you always share with me! I’m doing good so far to not complain about anything. 🙂

  10. blankKaren

    Love that song. We are members of Passion City Church in Atlanta (Louie Giglio, Kristen Stanfill, Chris Tomlin) And obviously, have sung it a lot on the past. Yes, I know exactly what you mean about “not being there” — sometimes we are “slaves” to things that we don’t even realize. But if we are willing to explore our souls with the Lord, he promise to free us. Then, when He opens the door, we have to be willing to walk out of our prison and live in the freedom He gives. … which in itself can be a scary prospect. Thanks for the post!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Oh, I can imagine it’s such a blessing to be a part of that church, Karen. Wow. I hear good things from there. I love your analogy that even with the prison doors flung open, we still have to be willing to walk out. It definitely takes courage. Thanks for sharing!

  11. blankfloyd

    I’m reminded of how often Christ spoke of fear, which sometimes comes cloaked in anxiety, but it’s all the same in the end; reverence to the flesh instead of the One that supplies us breath.

    This is one of those things that I believe we all need to be reminded of, and constantly. Reverence to our Father first, and the fears melt away.

    Thanks for the reminder, Lisa.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yep, this was what I was trying to say summed up in one sentence: “Reverence to our Father first, and the fears melt away.” Praying for my reverence for God to outweigh all my worries!

  12. blankBetsy de Cruz

    I love that child of God song too, Lisa. So many thoughts come to mind here, how we long to be changed, yet we’re daily faced with reality. The now and not yet. But I choose to believe that God will complete the good work He has begun in me!

  13. blankSummer Gross

    There is so much goodness here, Lisa. Oh, I know the feeling of being chained to fear. For an entire 6 months I cried out to the Lord using this Isaiah 51:14 verse, “The cowering prisoners will soon be set free. They will not die in their dungeon nor will they lack bread.” I love how you’re singing your way free! Thank you for this testimony!

  14. blankLori Schumaker

    My absolute favorite song right now! The deliverance is really a layer by layer process. As we peel one layer of bondage away, another is revealed. One we may not have even noticed because the bigger one on top kept it hidden. We just continue to work at it. One layer at a time. Aiming for the victory we will experience someday on the other side of the cross!
    Blessings, friend!
    Lori

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