Ever tried to start a new regime like a diet, fitness program or Bible
study schedule, only to feel frustrated after just a few days because your
commitment got sidetracked? Or ever wondered why it’s so hard to get
started on those New Year’s resolutions and why it’s even harder to keep
The problem is that most of us try to change for the better by only
dealing with our behavior instead of the real issues.
We may try to stop drinking or stop smoking, or we may try to be a more
patient husband, kinder mother, etc. But the
truth is that a superficial focus and analysis always leads to
For true, lasting life change, we need to find the core issue of why we do the things we do.
In my own life, I had to get honest about my own core issue of being a
workaholic. And what I realized is that my issue wasn’t that I worked too
much. My issue was that deep down I didn’t feel loved. I worked hard
because I wanted people’s approval.
After I took an honest look at myself and recognized my core issue, I knew
I needed to take some steps to change – like memorizing God’s truth about
myself and getting in a men’s small group. But I still had to find the
motivation to follow through with doing the work, even when I didn’t feel
like it. And, let me reassure you, I didn’t always feel like it!
The other problem most of us run into is that our motivation to change
is often rooted in reasons that aren’t sustainable for lasting change.
Those motivators are our guilty feelings and selfish desires.
When we tell ourselves,“I should go to the gym and lose 20 pounds,” or “I should go to church more” or “I should stop smoking,” these thoughts don’t
provide enough motivation to produce lasting change because they’re driven
Similarly, if we’re primarily motivated to change in order to meet our own
personal, short-term gains, we won’t experience lasting change either. The
mantra, “If I change, then I’ll be happy,” just doesn’t work.
So how do we get beyond our guilty and selfish desires as motivation? The
Bible provides us with a more effective motivator for change.
We need the motivation of accountability.
God is going to judge every single believer on account of their works, not
their sins. There will come a day when we’ll stand before God and we will
give an account for every act, thought and dollar we’ve spend, what we did
with our time, talent and energy – and also why we did it.
If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly
stones, wood, hay or straw,
their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring
it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test
the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives,
the builder will receive a reward. (1 Corinthians 3:12)
When our life ends, wherever we’ve invested it, we’ll either reap a reward
or some sorrow.
This is based on the law of sowing and reaping.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he
sows.” There are natural consequences to our actions. (Galatians
If we live our lives apart from the will of God, we will reap negative
consequences. But when we live a life of integrity according to God’s will,
over time, we’ll reap a harvest of righteousness that will impact our
family, friends and co-workers.
Having this kind of accountability gives me the motivation to do the things
I know I should do – even when I don’t feel like it. It also gives me the
certain hope that if I do life God’s way, in time, I will reap His
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion
until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
Finally, here’s what I want you to know: God isn’t concerned as much about
whether or not you go down from a size 14 to a size 6, or if you keep that
gym membership this year.
God is more concerned about inwardly transforming you to become more
And this type of change doesn’t come by faking it or by trying harder. Real
change begins with transforming how you think and believe so you can come
to the point of accepting how deeply you are loved. Everything else funnels
from out of this.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these
things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
For more information on how to have lasting life change,
check out our
small group resources.