Authentic Transformational Change

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I have been teaching a small group bible study on living the spiritually-empowered life and last night there was much discussion about why it is so difficult for us to change. If we were all honest with one another and ourselves, we would have to admit that one of the hardest things we have to do in life is change. We try, we toil, and we become more and more determined, yet we often find ourselves stuck in the same spot, even sometimes a few steps backward from where we started. Frustrating, isn't it?

So why is it so hard to make real, lasting change? Why do we continually fail in our attempts to correct the problem areas in our lives? There are a few reasons, but there are two main ones that are to blame. The first is because we are trying to change ourselves and that doesn't work. The real problem is that we are trying to do what only the Holy Spirit has the power to do in us. We can not really change our character on our own. That is why God sent his Son, Jesus to the world. So, the first step to authentic change is to stop trying to do it on our own and let God take over and change us. When he changes us, it is lasting and authentic.

The second reason why change is so hard is very simple, yet profound. We don't change because we won't die. That's right, die! That 3-letter word sends people running for the door screaming, "Not that! I'll do anything, just don't ask me to die!" You see, without dying to self, any change we make is only outward and you cannot change your character simply by changing your behavior. However, if you die to yourself so that God can have control of your heart, then and only then, can he change you from the inside out. Once you are transformed on the inside, or once there is a change in character, your behavior will naturally change as a result. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul was referring to in Galatians 2:20 when he said, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." Refusing to die will forever sabotage your attempt to see authentic change in your life.

Stop trying to change yourself today and begin to ask God to take over and you will be amazed at the results. Then lay your life down for him. I mean really die to yourself. Once you die, he will make you new again and you will be changed from the inside out. Remember, only he can do that.

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