Meet Roxanne, the African Spotted leopard. She held the record as the oldest spotted leopard living in captivity; 24 years plus. She looks quite tame in this image but I am not so sure I would trust her not to harm me. Perhaps, supervised and with a competent trainer, I would risk a quick cuddle but nothing more. She is after all still a leopard with her God-given instincts still intact, though they be buried under years of pampered care and gentle handling.
Our verse for today has become a well-known proverb in our day. A leopard cannot change its spots. A person cannot change his essential nature. The idea is the same in the expression, “A tiger cannot change its stripes.” Our verse goes on to say that an evil person cannot change who he is by doing good. Without the Lord, every good act is regarded as a filthy rag in His eyes (Isaiah 64:6). A person can look good with the right image. He can live a life doing good things. But until the heart is changed from its essential nature, it is all window dressing!
How hopeless this sounds until I realize the change God creates for those who place their trust in Him. He radically changes my heart. He does not just reform me but makes me a completely new creation! (II Cor. 5:17) Now, the good things I do for His glory are truly good, flowing from a changed heart. No, I cannot change my “spots” but I am eternally thankful that He has!
I am grateful that You Lord, create true change!