Only God

Joyce Meyer – Dec 16, 2023
An open Bible ready for a daily devotional with a wall of pink and purple flowers in the background.

Adapted from Healing the Soul of a Woman

Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

There are many situations that we want to change, but they are completely beyond our control. There are times we want to change other people, but we are powerless over them. There are also times we want to change ourselves, especially when we are hurting. We simply want the pain in our hearts to go away or we want the struggle we are dealing with to end. We want to think differently, to feel differently, and sometimes to live differently! But we can’t change ourselves either. We can’t heal ourselves; we can’t strengthen ourselves. All of that is God’s job, and He will do it as we surrender to Him and trust Him. He will work with us patiently and lovingly, to lead us to the very best He has for us.

The apostle Paul understood this well. He knew the power of God’s grace in such an intense, personal way because of his radical encounter with Jesus (see Acts 9:1–22). God changed him from a vicious persecutor of Christians to one of the true heroes of our faith. He transformed Paul’s heart completely! Because of his experience, he could say with authority that only God can change a person.

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he makes several important points. One of them is what he says in Galatians 3:2, when he asks the Galatians whether they received the Spirit by works or by faith. Of course, he knew the Galatians received the Holy Spirit by faith. He asked the question because he wanted them to think about it. Everything God does for us; we receive by faith. We receive Christ totally by faith; we receive the Holy Spirit by faith; we receive the love of God by faith; and we need to live our lives totally by faith.

When we realize we need to change in some area—whether that change means we need to be healed and strengthened, or whether we should think or act differently—our natural response is to try to make that change happen. Our human nature thinks, “I will change!” Often, we become very disappointed with ourselves, and we even feel condemned when we do not succeed at transforming ourselves. We would be much wiser to devote the energy we use trying to change ourselves to praying and trusting God to do what He needs to do.

You may be thinking right now of something you wish you could change about yourself. You are certainly responsible to do what God shows you to do and to be obedient as He leads you to change, but both the process of change and the end result are up to Him. He is working in you, and He will bring about the changes needed in your life as you continue to surrender to Him and follow Him.

Prayer of the Day: Father God, only You have the power to change me, and I trust You to do it as I follow You, amen.