“How are you sabotaging your own progress?” This is the question our pastor asked today. The following is things I thought about as I reflected back on the sermon. I don’t know about you but I think about and desire to make changes in my life. Often that is true, “I think” but fail to implement changes. Doubts come and fill my mind with all the reasons why it is impossible for me to make changes and fear of the unknown intrudes on my thought process. Some changes I can easily make but others are not quite so easy.
A few reasons we use to justify why we refuse to change…
- 1. Fear of __________?
- 2. What would people say?
- 3. What if I fail?
- 4. Can I financially afford to take that step at this time?
- 5. Who would be willing to give me a chance to start that new career?
- 6. How would change affect my spouse, family, children, and friends?
- 7. Do I have the desire and will power to change?
- 8. How do I implement change into my current life style?
- 9. Is anyone willing to help me?
- 10. Where do I begin?
- 11. What holds me back from implementing change in my life?
- 12. Can I accomplish change and stick to it?
- 13. Am I willing and do I want change in my life or is change something to mull over from time to time and dream about?
The issues and difficulties that we face in life and changes we know we need to make, but refuse to make for various reasons all go back to our spiritual life. They are spiritual issues. Is Jesus first and foremost the #1 person we run to and rely on when the difficulties of life drag us down? Often instead of running to the One who has all the answers and loves us more than anyone else and is our Helper we run to a friend or anyone who will listen. We spend time discussing our problems but not seeking a solution. We run from change that we know we need to make and settle for a life of the status quo and experience feelings of loss within our heart. We are missing the spiritual blessings that God has for us when we refuse to make the necessary changes as God calls us to a higher calling.
What is your biggest obstacle in making changes that will benefit you spiritually? Is it that you are unwilling to give up a habit you know is detrimental to your family, your health, your mental stability, your witness for Christ, or your career? Is it a hobby that consumes you and takes too much time away from your spouse and your children or does not allow you time to serve and worship Christ? Is it your career that consumes your time as you are on the fast track to success? What is holding you back from surrendering all to God, becoming His child, His servant, and worshipping Him?
Eventually we learn the Christian life cannot be lived in our own strength. I thank God for His grace, His love, and His mercy, and ask Him to show me the changes I need to implement in my life. We are all aware of changes we need to put into practice but it is making the change that is difficult. I ask God for strength, courage, wisdom, and peace as I seek to follow Him in making changes. Hopefully you will ask Him to help you and we will be glad we did as we grow into fulfilling God’s desire for our lives and as we watch how the impact of our life changes affect those we love.
The law is good, then. The trouble is not with the law but with me, because I am sold into slavery, with sin as my master. I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. But I can’t help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things.
I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. But if I am doing what I don’t want to do. I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it.
It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right. I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a salve to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. Romans 7:24-25 NLT
As Paul struggled in his life we struggle in our life. Sin looks good and appeals to us as the world beckons. We are to look to God who seeks to keep us from things that will harm us and is ultimately not for our good. Becoming the person God wants us to be is a life long process. We live in faith knowing that God wants what is best for our ultimate good. Sinning and failing is something we all do and it is a part of life. We are not strong enough to keep the world at bay and fight the war in our own strength. We need the power of God in the form of His Holy Spirit who lives within us. He guides us, warns us, and encourages us to do the right thing.
Today let us pray and ask God to help us win the battle that we fight each day and to help us make the much needed changes He desires for us to implement in our lives. This is not always easy for me and often I attempt to do things within my own power and fail. Will I learn to reach out to God who is the source of my strength first? It is my desire for God to be the one I run to first. I am thankful that God sees my heart and knows that regardless of my failures I love and seek Him.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groaning that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Sprit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. Romans 8:26-27 NLT
Our hope is in Christ…