by Julie Ganschow
Therefore, we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:9 (NASB)
I know quite a few women who are very studious and diligent in studying the Word of God. They attend women’s study groups, and are diligent in their personal reading and meditation. When I am in the company of such women one thing I want to know is if they are making application of what they are learning. Some women are a little stunned by the thought of doing more than just assimilating facts.
We are to continually be in the process of self-examination; determining if our daily lives reflect Christ when held up to His Word (Psalm 26:2; 2 Corinthians 13:5). As we face what God is revealing to us in this process, we can determine to change the things we can change by God’s grace and with His help. The things we cannot change; we need His grace to accept.
We are to make it our aim or our ambition to please God. To be clear, I am not talking about earning salvation or His favor. I am not talking about works righteousness either. The Bible makes it so clear that our lives are to be lived in humble servitude to our King out of gratitude for what He has done for us in Christ. We have been bought with a price, the very least we can do is to honor God with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:20).
As always, I will remind you that changing your behavior is not the entire goal. The changes in behavior come from changes in the heart; it is an inside to outside process. These changes come through the power of the Holy Spirit by prayer and application of biblical truth. Yes, obedience is important, but the Lord is looking for an overhaul of the heart.
…in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:22-14 (NASB)
Begin by looking at your habits. Are there habits you have that need to be changed? Do you have little crutches that you lean on during times of stress, hardship, and trial? These things can easily become idols of the heart. You will know they are idols if you find yourself turning to them instead of to God. Bad habits are difficult to break, but they must be put off for you to live a life that is glorifying to God. The sin you choose to hang onto today will impact you tomorrow and potentially for months and years to come. If you have sinful habits you would be ashamed to have brought into the light, I would suggest you have some cleaning up to do.
What about relationships? Remember that what fills your heart directs your words and actions, and directly impacts your relationships. What you believe in your heart affects how you act, and those things matter! Are these areas of the heart that need addressing? Your interaction with others should speak well of your relationship with Jesus Christ. Do your relationships glorify God? Are they gossipy, nasty, spiteful relationships? Do you use people for your own ends? Are you harsh and critical? All of these sinful things will affect your ability to serve, grow, thrive, love, and honor God.
Are you generous with your time, gifts, and finances? If you were to sit and ponder the earthly treasure you have been given, can you say you have used it for His glory and to further the kingdom of God? I’m afraid many would have to conclude they have frittered away their time and talents, not even including their financial treasure. We must be careful not to give God the leftovers in our lives. This is another matter of the heart. Stewardship is important to the Lord! Not only the money and other material goods, but more importantly, the gifts He has given you personally to be used for His service. If you are unsure what you have to contribute talk to your pastor or women’s leader. They can help you discern where you can be used in the church.
The point is, make it your daily goal to love, serve, honor, and glorify God. He alone is worthy.
Click to Tweet: Changing your behavior is not the entire goal. The changes in behavior come from changes in the heart; it is an inside to outside process. -Julie Ganschow #biblicalchange #applyGod’sWord
NOTE: This blog first appeared on www.bc4women.org on February 22, 2016.
About Julie Ganschow
Julie Ganschow has been involved in Biblical Counseling and Discipleship for more than 20 years. She is passionate about the critical need for heart change in a person who desires change in their life.
She is the founder and Director of Reigning Grace Counseling Center (ACBC & IABC Certified Training Center) and Biblical Counseling for Women. She has been writing a daily blog on counseling issues women face since 2008.
Her extensive training has led to an M.A. in Biblical Counseling; as well as, certification with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and the International Association of Biblical Counselors (IABC). She also serves on the Counsel Board for the Biblical Counseling Coalition
Julie is a gifted counselor and teacher, has authored numerous books and materials for biblical counseling, and co-authored a biblical counseling training course. She is also a featured contributor in GriefShare and a frequent retreat and conference speaker.
She makes her home in Kansas City, Missouri with her wonderful husband Larry. Together they have raised 3 sons who have married and begun to bless them with grandchildren.
Find out more about Julie: Biblical Counseling for Women