After years of making spiritual determinations to change, we may question ourselves: “Is it even possible for me to transform?” We may have struggled for many years with the same problems, never seeming to be completely liberated from the things we wanted to get rid of. Sometimes, we are not even sure we want to change. “Is it even worth it?” we may wonder.
Zacchaeus’ testimony attests that true repentance is essential to a life of transformation and salvation. As a tax collector for many years, he had cheated others to accumulate wealth and attain status. Perhaps he felt proud of his accomplishments, burying his conscience for the sake of his dreams. However, in his heart, he still knew that something was wrong. He wanted to change.
Transformation comes with effort. “He sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way” (Lk 19:3-4). When obstacles blocked Zacchaeus from seeing Lord Jesus, Zacchaeus did not surrender; he worked even harder to overcome them. His genuine repentance was manifested in concrete actions, although it meant physical loss and disgrace. “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (Lk 19:8). He did even more than what the Mosaic law required because he understood the importance of being right with God again (Lev 6:1-7). “Today salvation has come to this house…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk 19:9-10).
Lord Jesus sees our every effort to change, just like He saw Zacchaeus as he ran ahead of the crowd to climb the tree. He wants to stay at your house, in your heart, to transform your spiritual life for the better. What is your choice? It is your choice to invite Him in, showing genuine repentance in your life through true actions. Determining to live a holy life in the fear of the Lord may take some sacrifice, but the more we give to the Lord, the more we will receive from Him.
Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid? Your heart, does the Spirit control?
You can only be blest and have peace and sweet rest, As you yield Him your body and soul.
(Hymn 418, refrain)