How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Galations 3:3 NLT
It’s that time of the year when I resolve to make sweeping changes in my life. I promise myself I’ll lose thirty pounds, pray twice as much, walk twice as much, talk half as much, and never be cross with my children again. Predictably, the sweeping changes last for about two days, and I’m right back where I started. Only I feel worse after yet another failed attempt at increased self-control.
Maybe you’ve been there, too. We’re finally going to quit (insert bad habit here), and definitely going to start (insert desirable habit here). Our resolve is firm, our intentions noble. So why do we fail? How do we miss it? Is it possible we’re trying to change our lives in our own strength, leaving God out of the process? I think that’s exactly where we go wrong.
I received Christ at age 28, after a life of…well….worldly living. It would be an understatement to say that God radically changed my life. We see in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that we become “new creatures” in Him, and that’s what happened to me. But the transformation didn’t happen because I had such great will power to make those sweeping changes in my life. Change happened because I surrendered my life to God and begged Him to change me. The closer I walked with Him, the more bad habits and old temptations began to “fall off” my life, like dead leaves from a healthy branch. So, what makes me think that what God started in me by His Spirit, I can now finish in my own strength?
Are you discouraged by your lack of resolve? Do all your efforts to “follow the rules” more closely end in disappointment? Do you long to live a life that is more like Christ, but find you’re unable to make it happen? God never intended for us to live this new life on me-power. Maybe it’s time you once again cry out to God and beg Him to change you. I know it’s time for me.
What would 2009 look like if we started by asking God to change us? He might begin by showing us little changes to make. Sweeping change begins with small change. In the same way that small adjustments to a budget make a large impact over time, small adjustments in our days make far-reaching transformation in our year. A little time spent reading the Bible, repeated 365 times becomes a daily devotional life. Ten minutes with God every morning becomes a prayer life. A thirty minute daily walk becomes increased health and fitness. Dinner every night with the family becomes connection with our teens. Are you ready? Let's remember that He is the only One who brings real and lasting change to our lives.
Prayer for Today: Lord, forgive me for my weak attempts to finish in my own strength what You began by Your Spirit. I invite you to examine my heart, and change the things in me that do not bring You glory. I bring my willingness, and wait for Your power. In Jesus Name, Amen.