Three Reasons Why You Should Believe that You Can Change
One of the things that sometimes works against us in the Christian life is a certain skepticism about whether people can actually change or not. When it comes down to it, many of us struggle with believing that someone could really be any different than the way they’ve always been.
After all, when you have been thinking the same old things and doing the same old things for years, what is the likelihood of anything changing? This sense of hopelessness can be even stronger when it comes to habitual sins and addictions.
Like Matt, for example. He is a believer that has been struggling with a particular character issue in his life for decades, literally. He wants to get past it but has seemingly made very little progress. Matt came to the point of wondering “Am I just stuck with this for the rest of my life?”
That is, until God helped him see that he had hope for a change. Through a friend, Matt realized that because of Jesus Christ, positive change was still a possibility for him. Regardless of how much time had gone by and how much he had failed, his friend pointed out a few reasons why he shouldn’t give up:
- The stories in the Bible of people who were changed at their core by the power of Christ. Perhaps the Apostle Paul is one of the most inspirational examples, because he was such a mess before he met Jesus. Granted, he was a religious mess, but a mess nonetheless. The guy you see in Acts 28 is radically different from the guy you first meet in Acts 9. Why? Because he changed. Or better yet, because he was changed. By the transforming power of grace that he received in Jesus, Paul became a different person.
- Change is a Biblical imperative. That means it must be possible. Here’s a key verse:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” Romans 12:2
Did you notice that? “Be transformed” sounds kind of like a command? The point is that if God tells us to “Be transformed,” then this means that it can happen. Logically, if transformation were not possible, God would not tell us to be transformed. Not that it happens fast or that it happens easily, but personal transformation CAN happen.
3. When something is happening slowly, it is easy to think it isn’t happening at all. Life-change is a lifelong process. Maybe you’ve heard before that the Greek word for “transformed” in Romans 12:2 is metamorpho, like the stages leading up to a butterfly’s emergence from the cocoon. It may seem like nothing is happening at times, but it is. Sometimes it’s ugly and sometimes painfully slow, but the work that the Lord started in you is going forward (Philippians 1:6). Be sure of it.
Back to Matt…when people used to ask him how it was going for him, he would just say “Oh, you know, same old same old.” But not anymore. Now when someone asks Matt how it’s going, he says “I have hope for a change.”
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.