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by Tim O'Hearn

Lately the Wheel of Fortune television game show has been featuring follow-ups with some of their big-money winners. Almost all of them say their winnings were “life-changing.” Some insurance company ads, and their opponents the personal injury lawyers, also describe large settlements as “life-changing.” If this is true, then something may be wrong with their life.

Such events may certainly change the situation of your life. They may make it easier to buy a house or a new car. They may even take someone from homelessness to a permanent home. But those are just situational changes. If they actually change the way you live your life, then you have problems with priorities.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matt 6:25-30)Jesus says that circumstances are not your life. What you do is not who you are. You may work as a secretary or a mechanic or a burger-flipper, but that is not who you are. You may have fifty pairs of shoes in your closet, or just the ones on your feet; that is not who you are. You may even preach for the largest congregation in the world, but that is not who you are.

What do you do with the much or little you have? How do you treat people? How do you treat family? That is who you are.

Paul believed that changing your circumstances would not change who you are. If you got rich and used your money for selfish or evil things, then you remain selfish and evil. This is essentially what he told the Galatians.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Gal 6:7-10)What, then, is truly life-changing? Only obediently trusting Christ changes lives. All have been enslaved by sin. Our lives have been defined by sin. We have been sinners. It was not just what we do, but who we are.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor 6:9-11)You were that kind of person. You are not now, because you have been sanctified. If you were that way but are not now, what made the difference? You were born, or can be born, into a new life. Romans 6 describes the process. It is the same as physical death, but on a higher level. One dies to the old life of sin, one is buried by immersion in water, one is resurrected a new life.
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Rom 6:4)Money is never life-changing; it can only be circumstance-changing. Christ is the real life-changer.