Did you know that in a typical year about 2,000 self-help books come out on the market? Advertisers know that everybody is interested in change. The thing about self-help books and even many of the self-help podcasts out there, is that they tell you to stop doing this and start doing that, which is usually good advice, but the problem is they don’t give you the power to change.
We all have areas that we wish we could change but we’ve just been unable to do it. It may be sexual desires, drinking, spending, eating, or our moodiness to name a few. You name it, and we’ve probably tried to change it. So, why do we do what we don’t want to do? It’s an old question that the Apostle Paul asked in the book of Romans. Today, we’re going address that question by looking at three things:
- The Problem: Why we do what we don’t want to do
- God’s Promise: Getting a true understanding to overcome the problem
- The Prescription (Hey, I’m a Doctor, I can do that): The HOW to live in God’s promises
Join me in Romans 7:15-25: Paul writes,
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”
Let’s talk brass tacks …
- The Problem is that we have a sinful nature in us. What does that mean exactly? It means there’s a civil war going on in us, a war of our flesh against our spirit (Matthew 26:41). This war draws us into a cycle of starting off with good intentions, but then we fail, which leads to guilt. And then it repeats … good intentions, failure, guilt.
- God’s Promise is in John 8:32 , “… the truth will set you free.” The secret to personal change is not “will power.” It’s not a pill, a new year’s resolution, a vow, it’s not even something you say or do. Personal freedom is achieved through knowledge. It’s something you know! When you know the truth, the lies you’ve come to believe are exposed and you can break free from the problems that have held you back from the change you’re looking for.
- When the Prescription is taken, we can live in God’s promise and purpose for our life. Here’s the prescription, take A,B,C,D every time you want to change something about yourself.
A: Acknowledge the root of the problem.
B: Believe Jesus can change you.
C: Confess your struggle to another person.
D: Dedicate yourself completely to Jesus.
Each of these steps are very important. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Acknowledge the sin today. But don’t lose yourself in a cycle of good intentions, failure, and guilt. Believe that Jesus can change you. Romans 7:24-25 says, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Now, I understand, this next step can be hard, but we’re not meant to do life alone. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). When you completely dedicate yourself to Jesus Christ, you’ll experience the one and only God that keeps His promises.
You DO have the power to change through Jesus Christ. And you can start TODAY!