"If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things pass away, new things come."
2 Corinthians 5: 18
Resistance to change is enormous -- giving up a way of life is like giving up our identity. And taking a new direction for our behavior and personality is what we fear most of all. We are insecure when we face an unknown quantity. We are secure with the known even if it is harmful to ourselves and to others. We will go to great lengths to remain the same. We will embrace many substitutes in an effort to avoid changing. We will become very active and busy in good causes (this substitute is widely used in Christian circles). We may move to a new locale, we may divorce the former life and the people who go with it. We may blame our faults and defects on other people, we may refuse to admit that we have any shortcomings -- develop a "cloudy eye." We may refuse to change using the excuse that others are trying to manipulate us by demanding that we change thus making them out to be the villain and leaving us innocent with all our personality problems still intact. We soon discover, however, that nothing changes until we change.
Change can only take place through the inner struggle and the conflict is between what we do and what we should do, what we are and what we should be, how we behave and how we should behave, what we say and what we should say. For the Christian changing is described in these words -- taking off the old man and putting on the new, killing the old nature and living in the new. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. The difficulty is to be "in" Christ. To be in Him we must take on His divine nature. Our old nature can't intrude here.
To change we must catch a glimpse or vision of what we can be with the help of the Lord. What do you want to be like a year from now? Ten years from now? I have listed below some of my goals. Perhaps you will identify with some of them. I hope you will make a list of your own.
I want to be like Jesus. In everyday terms this means:
It isn't easy to change. The will of our flesh is deeply ingrained and in control. At this point we must take account of this fact -- ultimately we do what we want to do. Therefore the catalyst for change is the desire to change. I want to be like Jesus. Or do I? I want to obey Him. Or do I?
Changing to become like Jesus is not an option, it is an imperative. Do I hear you say, "I've tried over and over and I can't"? Then you didn't really want to! This statement is not to put you down or ridicule your effort. It is to say, hang in there, keep trying. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you an intense desire to be holy. Paul had the same problem. He discovered "how it works" and so can you.
"I can't," I said,
And it was true;
There was nothing I could do.
"I can," I said,
And it was true;
All He asks, I can do.