Saturday, April 18, 2015

How am I Ever Going to Change?

I’ll be honest. I want to change. As a matter of fact, the more I am changed to be more like Jesus Christ, the more I recognize how desperately in need of change I still am.

Truth be told, that’s always going to be a reality. While I’ve been given the power to walk in holiness, I will never reach the state of Christ’s absolute, innate perfection. I will always need to change.

Sometimes, though, change seems impossible. No matter how much I try, I am in many ways still the same. I’ve come to realize, though, that unless I understand a number of things about change, that will always be the case.

1) Change is my responsibility

Especially as a young person, it’s easy to blame my character flaws on others. “My parents never taught me that,” I might think. “It’s all I’ve been surrounded by my whole life.” I can even blame the Lord by saying, “It’s just my personality.”

Maybe those things are true. Maybe my upbringing, surroundings, or personality have caused certain flaws. The point is, that doesn’t matter.

I am responsible for my own character. If I discover a fault in myself, it is my responsibility to change it – no one else’s.

2) Change doesn’t always remove consequences

Let’s face it: we all have reputations. I develop a name for myself – good or bad – based on what others see in me. If I frequently lie, I will become known as a liar.

Sometimes, though, I expect that simply because I begin to change, my reputation will change like the flip of a coin. Unfortunately, like the boy who cried wolf, this is not the case. Although my reputation will certainly change as my character becomes more like Christ’s, it will seldom be immediate.

All character flaws have their consequences. Perhaps it’s an addiction or just a bad habit. These things take time to leave, but the point is that they will leave.

3) Change is hard

There’s no denying it. Even in the physical world, change requires energy. It doesn’t really matter how mature I become; change still takes work. It’s slow. It’s painful.

Sometimes I think that just deciding to change will solve everything, as if I can simply identify areas of weakness and they’ll take care of themselves without any effort on my part. I look at a failure and think, “Yeah, I need to work on that,” and then ignore it, hoping that it will fix itself.

But that’s not the way change works. Change is hard. In fact, change is outright impossible – if I try to do it myself. I have just as much power to change myself as I had to save myself from sin: none at all. Only Jesus Christ has the power to change my heart and character.

That’s what makes change so hard. I can’t do it. I can’t have control. I must hand the hard clay of my heart over to the Potter, Who will do whatever necessary to make me moldable. That’s His love. And sometimes love hurts.

4) Change is worth it

Yes, change is hard. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it might hurt. But it’s worth it. When Christ changes me, He makes me more like Him. He grows in me His joy, His love, and His holiness.

To be like Christ is worth everything. When I am like Christ, I will experience His blessings, walk in wisdom, know His peace, and see His power like never before. If a change brings me closer to the Lord, it is never too small.

However, if I don’t change, I will never experience the glory of the Lord as I could. I won’t know the fullness of His peace, love, or power.

Change is my responsibility. It won’t always remove consequences. It’s hard. But when I realize that change will make me more like the magnificent image of my Savior, how could I ever stay the same?