(Unsplash/Eli DeFaria)

Every person who has ever lived has this in common: They have never stayed the same. In fact, change is one of the major constant forces in our lives.

It's inescapable. It's inevitable. And it's happening all the time.

Change enters into our lives the second we are born. Even Jesus, who "is the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Heb. 13:8) experienced the same human changes in development that we experience during His walk on Earth. His body grew, and He progressed from being a babe in arms to a child living with His parents to a Man.

The entirety of the Bible, Genesis to Revelation, speaks to the prevalence of change. We see the concept of change when God turns nothing into an entire universe full of life. There is a change in humanity's relationship with God after the Fall. This corresponds with a change of God's covenant with us and a change in our relationship with Him. When we make a decision to follow Christ, the focus of our life changes from serving ourselves and our own happiness to serving God and His kingdom.

While some changes aren't optional, there are some changes that we bring into existence by our own choices, such as the profound shift that takes place when we choose to accept the gift of salvation. The impact of these changes hinges on one truth: We can choose what we allow to influence our choices, and what we choose to be under the influence of.

The Word of the Living God reveals the victorious and overcoming life we can enjoy when we choose to live under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The Gospels show us that before Jesus did anything He was first filled with the Spirit and under the influence of the Spirit toward kingdom action. When the Son of God prepared for the attacks of darkness coming to distract, distort, and deceive Him in the wilderness, He did so by clinging to the Holy Spirit. Luke 4:1 tells us this: "Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness" (emphasis added). The writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us that Christ "has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin" (Heb. 4:15). How did He avoid temptation, including during those forty days in the wilderness? By living under the influence of the Holy Spirit.

The devil is using the same temptations he leveled at Jesus on people today. He tries to tell us that the answer to any discomfort is the lust of the flesh (see Luke 4:3-4) and tries to intimidate us by suggesting we must not be normal if we don't yield to those desires. He whispers, "You deserve this." The devil always wants to take our attention off of the Father and make us the center of our own attention (see vv. 5-8), saying, "We live in a jungle, and it's all about survival of the fittest. Live only for your basic instincts. Get to the top! Get to the center of everyone's attention. You are the solution!" When they are unprepared for his whispers and influenced by his temptations, people choose to put themselves at the center of life instead of the Word of the God. As a result, they are increasingly filled and led by self-doubt. The aggregate impact of these choices is that our culture today is changing and shifting ever farther from a Christ-centered values system. We are living under the constant strain of intimadation and drain of self-doubt.

We can reverse and prevent the negative impact of poor choices in our lives by choosing to live under the influence of the blood of Jesus that was spilled at the cross and not by the influences of the world. We overcome the devil "by the blood of the lamb," "the word of...[your] testimony," and by not loving your life "so much as to shrink from death" (Rev. 12:11). When we do this, and when the cross and the blood of Jesus are lifted up, we will experience change in our personal lives, our churches, and our culture at large.

Why? Jesus said, "If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32). This isn't just lost people. This is all people. The more Jesus is lifted up, the more we are drawn under His glorious influence.

Live under the influence of the Word and Spirit of God today, and you will see the positive changes of victory come into your life and all around you.

Mikel French has challenged spiritual awakening all across America, where many celebrations extended into multiple weeks, and has conducted celebrations in France, Sweden, Russia, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Germany, South Africa, Malawi, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Haiti, Japan, Singapore, India and Thailand. He conducted an outreach celebration in Manila, Philippines, reaching 200,000 teenagers with the book of hope. Through the generous support of partners, he has presented the message of Jesus Christ to millions of people in the nation of Russia through televised citywide soul-winning celebrations. Mikel considers it an honor to assist in conducting the annual pastor's conference, where thousands of pastors from Russia's 11 time zones come for training, teaching and equipping. Mikel and his wife, Marsha, reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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