CAN WE CHANGE OUR LIVES?

CAN WE CHANGE OUR LIVES?

I read the other day that the phrase “Is it possible to change your life?” has been typed into Google more than one billion times. People all around our country are asking if it is possible to change something about yourself.

Google does not have the answer, nor does Siri.

Some two thousand years ago, a conversation took place between Jesus Christ and a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a man who appeared to have it all. He was known around the country. He was known as a spiritual counselor. He had fame, money, and power. He also was deeply religious. But something was missing in his life. There was a hole in his heart, and so he came to Jesus, searching.

What relevance does a conversation between a man named Nicodemus and a carpenter from Nazareth have to do with those of us living in the 21st century? Everything, because essentially it is a conversation between God and man. If we were to elect someone to represent us, we could not find a better representative than Nicodemus. He is as close as we could get to a good person.

The Bible identifies Nicodemus as a Pharisee. Pharisees dedicated their lives to keeping the commandments. It was very hard to be- come a Pharisee. A Pharisee was required to take a vow before three witnesses that he would devote his life to keeping the commandments.

And not only was Nicodemus religious, but he was also a famous religious leader.

It is worth nothing that Nicodemus came to see Jesus at night. Why? Probably because he was afraid of others seeing him. After all, he was a celebrity. He was supposed to be the go- to guy for spiritual information, yet he him- self was searching. So he went to Jesus under the cover of night for this special meeting.

Many times we are so worried about what other people think about us. Maybe that is why the Bible says we are just like sheep: “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned, every one, to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6 NKJV). Sheep are truly some of the dumbest animals on the face of the earth. They tend to follow other sheep, even to their own harm, even to their deaths.

I read an article awhile back about 450 sheep that fell to their death in Turkey. One sheep jumped to its death, and then 1,500 others followed. Not all were killed, because the first ones to jump cushioned the fall for the other sheep that followed.

Yet is it any more ridiculous when we do what everyone else does, thinks what everyone else thinks, says what everyone else says, and march in lockstep with a culture that is going in the wrong direction? Let’s think for ourselves and make our own decision based on what Jesus Christ says.

Nicodemus wasn’t content to let others do his thinking for him. He came to Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” (John 3:1 NKJV). For a man of Nicodemus’s caliber to call Jesus “Rabbi” was a pretty big deal. Understand, Jesus was a peasant from Nazareth, humanly speaking. Nicodemus was a man of letters. “Rabbi” is a term of respect, and Nicodemus respected Jesus.

That is how a lot of people feel toward Christ. They respect him. They say he was a good man and a great moral teacher. They may even say he was the greatest man who ever lived, and they really admire him.

But Jesus didn’t say, “Admire me.” He said, “Follow me.”

And in answer to the question Nicodemus asked, he said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3 NKJV).

You must be born again. Here the conversation shifted from face-to-face to mind-to- mind. So Nicodemus said, in essence, “I don’t get it. Break it down for me. How can a per- son be born again?”

Some people think they are Christians just because they are Americans. But there has to come a moment in our lives when we believe in Jesus.

Others say, “I’m a Christian—I am just not one of those Born Agains.” But you can’t be a Christian without being born again. Jesus said that unless you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God. It isn’t an option.

Still others will say, “I believe in the good Lord, and I believe in the Good Book.”

But the Good Book tells us that we need to turn to the good Lord, and we need to be forgiven of all our sins.

So what is the process of being born again? The answer Jesus gave to Nicodemus is probably the best-known verse in all of the Bible, John 3:16. You might even know it by memory:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV).

For God so loved the world that He gave. . . . What did he give? He gave his only begotten Son. There is no greater gift that God could have given. And it is a gift that has been offered to you. When someone offers you a gift, you have a choice either to accept it or reject it. God has put a gift out there for you. You can either accept this gift or reject this gift. There are no other options. It is the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Jesus went on to say that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. This means that your eternal destiny rests on your decision to accept or reject the gift that God offers you. If you will believe in Jesus, you will have everlasting life and the guaranteed hope that when you die, you will go to heaven. Do you have that hope today?

Getting back to the question that so many people want to know: “Is it possible to change your life?” The answer is no. You can’t change your life any more than a drowning person can save himself. But let me restate the question:

Can God change your life? The answer is absolutely.

He can change you—if you will turn from your sin and put your faith in him.

By Greg Laurie