Authored by Dan Roselle
Each one of us changes over time—our looks change, our likes and dislikes change, even our personality changes as we go through different experiences in life. Some of these changes are dramatic, while others are gradual. In some cases we might not even feel like the same person we were a year or so ago.
Recently when thinking about how much I’ve changed over the years, I made a list of the foods that I didn’t like when I was younger, and I was surprised to see how picky I used to be. Let me give you a few examples.
As a kid I couldn’t stand avocados. My mother would put them in the salad, and my brothers and I would beg her to keep them on her own plate. It was only many years later, after living in South America, that I began to develop a taste for avocados. Now they’re one of my favorite foods; I eat them in salads or sandwiches, and I especially like them in guacamole. YUM!
I also hated tomatoes. At restaurants I would pull them out of my hamburgers or salads. I remember while on an extended trip with some of my friends when I was about 21 (and money was scarce), I forced myself to learn to like what we called “tomato sandwiches”—just bread, mayo, and tomatoes. Again, my tastes changed, and now I can easily eat a large tomato in one sitting.
When I was sixteen, I worked at a store that sold chocolate. My fun-loving and easygoing boss, Maxine, said I could eat as much chocolate as I wanted. “Gotta know how it tastes so you can sell it,” she said with a twinkle in her eye. That’s a pretty risky thing to tell a sixteen-year-old boy. I worked there for a number of months and ate so much chocolate that by the time I quit, I couldn’t stand chocolate. I didn’t eat it for almost thirty years! As a matter of fact, I once lived near a chocolate factory in Guadalajara, Mexico, and I would go out of my way to avoid passing by it (even though it was a shortcut to the supermarket) because I couldn’t stand the smell of chocolate. A few years ago I took a taste of chocolate, just to see if I still had that aversion to it. I’m happy to say that I am now eating dark chocolate again after all these years, and I really like it!
Today, mangos are one of my favorite fruits. But my affair with mangos was not love at first sight (or first taste). I was in my early 20s, in Puerto Rico, when I first tried a mango. I found the taste strange. I also soon discovered that I was mildly allergic to them, because after I ate one, I had a little rash around my lips, and when I climbed one of the mango trees in our backyard, I developed a rash on my legs. I am not quite sure when my body stopped being allergic to them, but five years later when living in Panama, we had another mango tree that, when in season, produced about twelve dozen mangos a day! We ate mangos in just about any way you could imagine—fresh mangos, green mangos, mango smoothies, baked mangos, mango pie, mango slices in our cereal. Thankfully by this time I was no longer allergic to mangos, and I loved them!
I’ve experienced the same with my musical tastes. There were genres of music that I enjoyed when I was younger that I find rather distasteful now. And there were some styles of music that I didn’t like when I was younger that I now like.
Not only did my tastes change throughout the years, but also my acclimation to certain climates or even preferences to where I lived. For example, I never wanted to live in a dry desert climate. Then I moved to northern Mexico (a place where tumbleweeds blew across the landscape), and I liked it! Neither was I inclined to live in a cold, snowy climate, but when I moved to Seoul, Korea, I had experiences that are now some of my best memories. I remember telling others that I never wanted to live in Los Angeles, but sure enough I ended up living there for about ten years, and guess what? It grew on me. I never wanted to camp in a tent or live in an RV, but, yes, you guessed it, I did that too—for a number of years—and I really enjoyed those times in my life. You see, I changed, or should I say, my attitudes changed.
In short, we change. And I am comforted to know that I am not alone when it comes to continual change. Many characters in the Bible also went through changes of their own—some of those changes were small and perhaps insignificant, while others caused major decisions to take place, which ultimately resulted in a career “redirection.”
The apostle Paul underwent a major change of lifestyle, which began with a dramatic conversion.1 You most likely remember that he was Saul, a man who hated Christians and was determined to hunt them down and put them in prison.2 His goal was to eradicate the Christian sect while it was still in its infancy. But look how dramatically he changed after that encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. His life changed in a matter of days; he went from wanting to destroy Christians to preaching about Christ in the synagogues.
Peter, the disciple of Jesus, also had a tremendous change in his life. While following Jesus during the three years He was on earth, he seemed a somewhat intense and proud man. There was a time that Peter rebuked Jesus for speaking of His death and resurrection.3 And when Jesus humbly offered to wash the disciples’ feet, Peter proudly announced, “You will never wash my feet.” When Jesus explained it was necessary to wash his feet so that he could be counted as one of His disciples, Peter then exclaimed, “Well, then don’t just wash my feet, but wash my head and hands too.”4
You are probably also familiar with the time Peter told Jesus that even if everyone else fell away, he would never leave Jesus’ side. Jesus’ response was that Peter would deny him three times that very night—and he did.5
But after Jesus’ resurrection—and with the anointing of the Holy Spirit—Peter accepted God’s anointing and he became someone who spoke with authority, humility, and power. He saw things differently; he spoke differently; he acted differently. He had changed!
There’s also the story of Gideon found in Judges Chapter 6. His country was being invaded continually by foreign soldiers who stole their livestock and grain. Gideon was the youngest son in his family of farmers. An angel of the Lord appeared to him while he was working and called him a mighty warrior, telling him that he would defeat the foreign armies. What?! A warrior? Defeat armies? He was only a poor farmer. How could that happen? However, because Gideon eventually believed that God could turn him into this promised warrior, and he obeyed God’s instructions, he led his people to victory, and there was peace in his land for many years.
Aside from these famous people in Bible history who had major changes occur in their lives, there are countless of stories of changed lives in recent times. Some of these changes are due to a person’s religious conversion; others are due to a marriage, a divorce, a birth of a child, an accident, or a turn of “good fortune.” There are many things that change us or bring change to our doorstep.
Maybe at this point in your life, you find yourself feeling impatient with certain people because of how they act or with the things they say or do. You wish they would change. Give it some time, though, because everyone changes over time—even you. You may one day realize that they have changed. Or you might come to notice that you aren’t as bothered by that person as you were before, and be pleasantly surprised that while they continue to act that certain way, God has changed you and given you the ability to accept, understand, and love that person the way they are.
God can change each of us; He can change our attitudes, our desires, and our very nature. If there is something about “you” that you want God’s help with changing, then ask Him for it, and give Him a chance (and time) to change you. The Bible tells us to “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ.”6 That one act would mean a huge change for each one of us, no matter how Christ-like we might consider ourselves to be. One way that we can put on Jesus’ mind is by living a life that is focused on others and not on our own self, a life that keeps love at the center of all thoughts and actions.
Think for a moment of how your preferences or desires have changed over the past few years. Do you find it difficult to believe that your personality can also change? Remind yourself that nothing is impossible. Jesus can change anything about us, if we ask Him and then let Him work in our hearts and spirits. Consider men like Paul, Peter, and Gideon, and you will see that God has a pretty good track record of what He can do through those who allow Him to change them in the way He knows best.
1 Acts 9:3–19
2 Acts 8:3
3 Matthew 16:22; Mark 8:32
4 John 13:8–9
5 Matthew 26:33–34; Mark 14:29–30
6 Philippians 2:5, ASV
Read by Stephen Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright © 2012 by The Family International