Why Is Deep, Significant, Lasting Change So Rare?
Welcome to 2020! It’s not only a new year, it’s a new decade. It’s time to PAUSE, do some serious Holy Spirit-led REFLECTION, and then chart a new course for the new year. If the paragraph above brought about a quick “twinge of guilt,” or even a dark cloud of dread; you’re not alone.
Making New Year’s resolutions, setting goals for the New Year, or promising yourself and others that I’m “really going to change this time” rarely works for more than a few days or a few weeks.
Despite the clear teaching in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” This simply isn’t happening for the vast majority of God’s people in America. But why?
QUESTION: Why do our best efforts at deep, significant, lasting change so often fail?
ANSWER: Because will power is no match for the power of evil.
The current culture has taught us to believe that we can achieve anything if we just: “follow our dreams,” “work harder and longer than anyone else,” “think positive and never give up,” “just believe in yourself.” We’re told that if we do these things, we can have or become whatever we want or desire.
The problem with these mantras of success and self-improvement are 2 faulty assumptions about life and ourselves.
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FAULTY ASSUMPTION #1: The Power For Life-Change Is Within Our Grasp!
This message is heard so loud and so often that many sincere believers are seeking to change through self-dependency versus Christ-dependency.
By contrast, Jesus speaking about Himself said, “Truly I say to you, the son can do nothing of Himself…” (John 5:19) And later, “I can do nothing on my own initiative” (John 5:30).
Still later, Jesus instructed His disciples just before He went to the cross, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). The deep, significant, transformation of our character and values in everyday life where love, joy, peace, and patience flow “in us” and then “through us” to others is the byproduct of actively depending on and abiding in Christ and His Word, not the latest self-help strategy.
FAULTY ASSUMPTION #2: Failure To Change Is 100% Your Fault!
The reason many have given up on New Year’s resolutions or setting goals for really significant life change issues is shame and discouragement.
When failure occurs, the world’s message is: “You don’t have what it takes,” “you don’t want it badly enough,” or “you’re weak, lazy, a loser.” No wonder we hide our addictions, pretend things are better than they really are, or just stop trying.
By contrast, Jesus compassionately reminded His disciples, “The spirit is willing (sincere desire, godly intentions), but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). The flesh refers to our human frailty, our susceptibility to temptation, our inborn sinful desires and passions that are energized by the seductive world system and orchestrated by the “Liar of liars,” Satan himself.
THE PROBLEM: We fail to “actively” realize we are in a spiritual battle, an Invisible War.
Yes, we all fail and make wrong choices. We must own our responsibility in those mistakes. But believing that “it’s all your fault” only leads to condemnation and hopelessness.
Did you ever consider that some of your deepest struggles with anger, envy, lust, greed, comparison, resentment, self-pity, unforgiveness, or addiction to food, sex, or work could actually be a spiritual battleground? What if deep, significant change requires new insight and supernatural power rather than your best self-effort and strongest will power?
I’ve counseled so many believers over the years who intellectually believe in spiritual warfare, but relegate it to the bizarre or paranormal, rather than realizing that 90% of spiritual warfare is about deception, lies, and emotional bondage that enslaves God’s people to their passions, hurts, and family of origin scars. Sadly, the result is that deep life-change rarely occurs and God’s intended impact through them never happens.
Am I saying that all of our struggles, lack of discipline, addictions, and relational challenges are caused by the devil? Of course not! What I am saying is that most of us live our lives as though none of them are. As a result, we are held captive by lies about ourselves, God and others.
“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness” (Ephesians 6:12). We are in an Invisible War!
“Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). We must be PREPARED or we will FAIL!
ACTION STEP: If you want to experience deep, significant, lasting change, you must learn what the Bible teaches about the spiritual warfare; how to put on the armor of God, and how to engage the enemy and win.
I have watched countless sincere Christians experience breakthroughs, victory, freedom, peace, and amazing transformation after learning and applying the truth of The Invisible War.
I would be honored to give you this video-based Bible study with study guide absolutely free if you will commit to do it with at least one other person. No strings attached, no hidden next step. I long to see Christians really live like Christians and God has led us to take this radical step of giving it away to help you and those you love.
Let’s fight this battle together and win!
CEO & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge