By Elizabeth Prata
When the Lord comes into your life and you are born again, you change from the old creature to a new creation. This change is evident and observable among those who know you. It’s also noticed by you, yourself.
See the change in the disciples from before the Holy Spirit’s coming, to afterward. Before, they didn’t pray that we readers could see. They had to be taught by John the Baptist, and they asked Jesus to teach them also. (Luke 11:1). Jesus asked them to stay awake and pray with Him in the garden of Gethsemane, but they fell asleep. (Matthew 26:40-41)
Barnes’ Notes observes:
As he was praying – Luke has taken notice of our Saviour’s praying often. Thus, at his baptism Luke 3:21; in the wilderness Luke 5:16; before the appointment of the apostles, he continued all night in prayer Luke 6:12; he was alone praying Luke 9:18; his transfiguration also took place when he went up to pray Luke 9:28-29.
Teach us to pray – Probably they had been struck with the excellency and fervor of his prayers, and, recollecting that “John” had taught his disciples to pray, they asked him also to teach “them.”
Afterward, they never stopped praying!
All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. (Acts 1:14).
Before the Holy Spirit’s coming, the disciples were selfishly proud, as all of us are. You remember that Jesus chided the Pharisees for always wanting the honor seats at the feasts and the best seats in the synagogues? The disciples were like that, too! (Matthew 23:6). In fact, worse, because they wanted the best seat of ALL!
And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” (Mark 10:35-37).
And again, at the Last Supper, they argued among themselves, selfishly in pride:
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. (Luke 22:24).
Afterward, Peter wrote an emotional tribute to humility, something he himself had learned. Treat others as higher than yourselves, lovingly, not as a bully-leader seeking best seats and honor, but as a servant in humble entreaties, by example even through sufferings, he wrote:
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:1-4).
Before salvation, Paul was at the top of his career, a Pharisee of Pharisees, from the best tribe, faultless, and doing the best work: killing Christians as a favor to God. (Philippians 3:4-6). Afterward, Paul was totally humble, as we read in Jerry Bridges’ article from Ligonier:
Paul’s humility is most clearly seen in his own self-appraisal. Writing to the Corinthians in AD 55, he calls himself “the least of the apostles unworthy to be called an apostle because [he] persecuted the church of God (1 Cor. 15:9). To the Ephesians about five years later, he refers to himself as the very least of all the saints (Eph. 3:8). Near the end of his life, he considers himself the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). That is quite a progression in his self-awareness, from a proud, self-righteous Pharisee to the foremost of sinners. Only a person of genuine humility would describe himself in such terms.
The dramatic change in us from one kind of creature to another should be stark. Think of the change from a caterpillar to a butterfly. A caterpillar’s DNA changes as the old creature literally melts away inside the chrysalis and he emerges totally different in every respect.
We are the same. The God of the universe in the person of the Holy Spirit can’t dwell IN us and there be no change. No matter how fast or slow (and wouldn’t it be nice that it was as fast as 2 weeks like the butterfly), we transform into His likeness by His power and our striving walk.
How have you changed over time since before your regeneration to now?