YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE POSITIVELY 

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

MARCH 16, 2024

TOPIC: YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE POSITIVELY 

BY T. O. BANSO

“Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me” (Philemon 1:11 New International Version).

Oftentimes, people pray to God to change their lives. This is not wrong because there is nothing that God cannot do. But to make the change in their lives possible, God needs their cooperation. God’s power does not replace man’s responsibility. Everyone can change his life positively in one area or another.

Some people know the areas they need to change but are not ready to make the changes. Therefore, they have continued their lives in the same direction or remain at the same level they are. It is not enough to lament about what you don’t like in your life; you must take action. You must do the right things that will bring about the desired change. This could be in your relationship with God, relationships with others, and your health, career, and so on. You can change your life positively.

The prodigal son made a bad decision by asking his father for his share of his property and travelling to a far country where he squandered his wealth in wild or riotous living. “After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything” (Luke 15:14-16 New International Version).

Seeing that things began to go from bad to worse for him, he came to his senses. He was not pleased with the direction and degeneration of his life and decided to change his life by making the right decision that would change his life positively. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father” (verses 17-20 New International Version).

The prodigal son could have remained in the far country he travelled to and continued to suffer until he died of hunger. But he did something to change his life. He was not ashamed to admit that his earlier decision to leave home was wrong. He was not ashamed to return to his father even if it would mean that he would be made like one of his servants. Unlike this prodigal son, some people would prefer to die in their error and suffering rather than humble themselves, especially when hunger is teaching them a lesson and no help is coming their way.

But contrary to the expectation of the prodigal son, his father welcomed him back home and treated him not as a servant but as a son. “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate” (verses 22-24 New International Version).

The prodigal son changed his life when he came to his senses. Some people are in a similar situation today and they must come to their right senses to change their lives. Their lives will change when they make the right decisions that will change the present situation that their wrong decisions have brought them. They may need to decide to come back to God, their Maker, by accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Or they may need to return to their spouses or parents. If they do, they will change their lives positively.

In the book of Philemon, Onesimus changed his life when he gave his life to Jesus through the ministry of Paul. Onesimus was Philemon’s slave. Maybe he stole something from him and ran away. He met Paul in Rome where he was imprisoned, and became a Christian through Paul. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 New International Version).

Because Onesimus became a new person, Paul referred to him as his son. Paul wrote to Philemon and appealed to him to receive Onesimus back. “Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me” (Philemon 1:11 New International Version). Paul was engaging in a word play because Onesimus means useful or profitable. Onesimus changed his life and Paul sent him back to Philemon, useful to both Philemon and Paul as a brother in Christ. Paul said, “Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord” (verses 15-16 New International Version). Note the phrase “better than a slave” Onesimus became better than a slave after becoming a Christian. He changed his life positively.

Onesimus changed his life such that he became worthy of Paul’s recommendation. Paul wrote to Philemon “I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you” (Philemon 1:12 New International Version). Also in Colossians 4:9, Paul said of this former runaway slave in his letter to the Colossians, “He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you” (New International Version). In this scripture, “He” refers to Tychicus, whom Paul called a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant. Note in that scripture Paul’s reference to Onesimus as “our faithful and dear brother.” This shows how much Onesimus had succeeded in changing his life. He was worthy of Paul’s recommendation. This happened because Onesimus received Christ into his life. Both Philemon and Onesimus were of Colossae. Therefore, Paul’s words about Onesimus were bound to give him a positive image among the Colossian believers.

Whatever the current state of your life, you also can make decisions that will change your life. Like Onesimus, you can become useful or profitable if the current state of your life is the opposite. When Jesus comes into your life people will notice the changes in your life. When anyone becomes a child of God he becomes a new and better person. Change your life today. Make a decision that will start the change.

When Saul (Paul) went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus to take the followers of Christ as prisoners to Jerusalem, he didn’t know that he was on a journey to change his life eternally. On the way to Damascus, Jesus encountered Paul and he became a Christian. “As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do’” (Acts 9:3-6 New International Version).

After this incident, God sent a certain disciple in Damascus, Ananias, to minister to him so that he would see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Saul changed his life by accepting Jesus into his life and cooperating with His plan for his life. “Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, ‘Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?’ Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah” (verse 19-22 New International Version). People were amazed at the change in the life of Paul. You can change your life too by coming to Jesus today.

No matter the current state of your life, you can change it positively. What is bad can become good, and what is good can become better. It is not enough to pray for a change in life positively; you must fulfil your responsibility. You must do what you should do to make it happen. The prodigal son, Onesimus, and Paul did, as you have read.

What must you do?

1. Define the change you want.

2. Identify the decisions you should make and make them.

3. Determine the actions or steps you should take. It could be cultivating certain habits, acquiring a particular knowledge or skill, or similar things.

4. Pray to God to help you. Change often comes with pain. Don’t be afraid and stay in your comfort zone.

5. Enlist the right people for support in your life-changing decisions. You need the right association. These people will encourage you to cope with the pain of the change.

6. Be patient for the results of the life-changing decisions to manifest.

You can change your life positively. Don’t be afraid to make the right decisions. Don’t procrastinate.

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself, and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to make the right decisions that will change my life positively. I shall not be afraid or procrastinate but take the steps I am supposed to take to make my life change positively.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.                                                                                     Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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