Can A Leopard Change Its Spots?

Jen’s Gem: Real change starts with one good decision. 

I recently changed grocery stores. After many years of brand loyalty, the sticker shock finally got to me. I’d dipped my toe in the water at the new store but since it’s across town, I resisted. I rationalized that the money I was saving was being eaten up (hee hee) by the gas I was using.

The final straw happened the other day when my son came home with three barely-filled bags and a receipt total that made me do a double take. No more! I was going to have to leave the convenience and comfort behind if I wanted to be able to retire at a reasonable age.

With list in hand, I traversed the aisles gathering the items I needed while also trying to memorize the location of products I use often. When I got to the checkout, I was pleasantly surprised. Mission accomplished.

The experience reminded me of a Bible study I recently taught at my church. Its title was “What’s Your Name.” I spoke about the various people in the Bible whose names were changed after an encounter with God.

1. Abram’s name was changed to Abraham when God told him that he’d be the father of many nations. An infertile, nearly 100-year old idol worshipper became the seed of generations of people, including you and me.

2. Simon’s name was changed to Peter when Jesus told him he’d be the leader of the first church. A stubborn, prideful fisherman, who denied even knowing Jesus became a powerful orator and healed the sick.

3. Saul’s name was changed to Paul after Jesus got a hold of him, showing him revelations that even Paul struggled to comprehend. A persecutor of Christians became the most famous evangelist, writing nearly two-thirds of the New Testament.

These men’s lives were completely transformed and because of it, we are still reading about them thousands of years later. Through their experiences, we can learn more about their respective relationships with God and know that the same is available to us if we make the decision to do so.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)

Let’s face it. Every change we want to make first starts with a decision. Perhaps this decision is brought on by a trial. Other times, it’s simply because we know “there’s gotta be something better” and we want to find out what it is.

We see someone else living a more blessed life than us. We witness someone going through a difficult time, yet they are not crushed. Our curiosity gets the best of us and we are pushed to ask them how they did it. Here’s how:

1.    They recognized that the life they were living was less than stellar.
2.    They made a decision to seek a better way.
3.    They stepped out in faith and took a risk.
4.    They persevered through the challenges and did not give up.

In no way am I comparing my grocery store transformation to the people I mention above, yet as simple as this change was, I followed the same model. I also took this same approach when I decided to make God and a relationship with Him through His Son the highest priority in my life.

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)

That one decision has resulted in more blessings than I can count for me and my children. I’m not talking solely about material things, although that has been a part of it.

  • I’m talking about having a peace through the storms.
  • I’m talking about revelations of who God really is and the depths of His love, mercy, and forgiveness. 
  • I’m talking about revelations I received about God through His Son.
  • I’m talking about once being a blogger who wrote about parenting and baby gifts to someone who jumps out of bed on Sunday morning and “preaches” a message that I pray helps you in some way.

Why do I do this? Simple.

We are living in precarious times. Each of us has been stretched to the point of breaking. Every day brings a new challenge impacting us and our families. How we handle these hiccups directly impacts our quality of life. Here’s what I know for sure:

When you put your faith and trust in God and His promises, when you get to know Him through His Son, Jesus, you’ll see that a leopard really can change its spots.

This one did.

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Jennifer Covello, Copyright 2023