Sunday, June 1, 2014


"And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt ... be turned into another man."
1 Samuel 10:6

In the past, I often found myself wishing that I could be like somebody else. I want to be as smart as this person, or as cool as that person, or as likeable as that other guy. Inevitably, this line of thought led me to despair. How could I ever be as awesome as the people around me?

After many years of struggling with this, I came to the stark realization: I couldn't. It was literally impossible for me to be the kind of person I wanted to be. I came to realize unequivocally that no matter how hard I tried, I could never do the kinds of things I wanted with my life.

The realization was at the same time deeply disturbing and utterly liberating. I became keenly aware of my own worthlessness but realized, for the first time in my life, that since it was utterly impossible for me to achieve my goals, I could finally stop trying. I could actually rest for the first time in my life.

You would think that this conclusion would have made me feel hopeless, but the exact opposite happened. I had never felt more hopeful in all my life. I realized that I could never achieve my goals, and that I didn't have to. I simply had to let God turn me into another man.

This new man would be able to achieve all the goals I never could. He would be the kind of person I liked spending 24 hours a day with. He would be the kind of man I could look up to. He was the kind of man I would want to be friends with. After years of beating my head against the wall trying to do things by myself, I finally just allowed God to turn me into someone else.

But who was this other man I had been replaced with? How did he get here? The answer is found in 1 Samuel 10.

In 1 Samuel 9 we meet this guy named Saul. He's a pretty cool guy who's just minding his own business, trying to find his dad's donkeys who have gotten lost. However, Saul is apparently getting pretty sick of looking for these donkeys and decides to throw in the towel and go home. His servant, however, has one last idea. He knows there's a seer in one of these towns close by, and figures that if they find the seer, he can tell them where to find the donkeys. So they round up some loose change (apparently it was customary to tip seers back in the day) and go to find him.

As it turns out, the seer they are looking for is Samuel, and God has told him that Saul and his servant are coming to see him. When they finally show up, Samuel is waiting for them (he even has food ready for them) and informs Saul that he is going to be the next captain over the armies of Israel. He then tells him that he will run into some prophets on the way home who will be prophesying, but then "the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man." Apparently, everything happens just the way Samuel said it would, because in verse nine it says, "And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day." 

As I see it, this verse give us the "who" and the "how" for becoming a new person. The only way to be turned into another person, to be replaced by another person, is through the Holy Ghost. In fact, the person that replaces the "old you" is actually two people: a combination of the best elements of your old self and the Holy Ghost. This is the new person that we can be changed into. It is this that allows us to do and be so much more than we were before, because we aren't doing it by ourselves anymore. When you have become one with the Holy Ghost, one of the three most powerful beings in the universe, even the tough things we have to do don't seem so tough anymore.

The way to achieve this is simple: the Holy Ghost gives us another heart. He can change our desires and make us into new people. It is this process that allows us to become infinitely better, and to be the people we want to be. The process may not be easy, and it is reversible (Saul seems to have rejected this new heart pretty quickly) but I know that this is how regular people can become better people and be who we want to be. 

Perhaps it's time to allow ourselves to be turned into another person. 

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