Do You Even WANT To Change Your Life?
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
For years, I didn’t want what Jesus had to offer, that is, my flesh and unrenewed mind didn’t. My spirit? Yes! My spirit wanted exactly what Jesus wanted! However, the battle going on inside me, as my mind was being transformed, caused me to live in a manner which did not match up with Christ’s plan for my life: allowing Him to live through me. My flesh and mind didn’t want that yet.
And I should say, my flesh will never want it. My flesh is but a wild animal, it has no moral compass or manners. My mind, however, it’s customizable. It grows through walking by either my heaven-ready spirit, or by my impulse-driven flesh. So when I choose to make choices of my flesh, I’m not being my true self (see Romans 8:9). My mind adapts according to the flesh’s or the spirit’s guidance.
Further, there is no way to tame the flesh–we have to stop trying to do that. Taming the flesh in an unwinnable battle. To counteract Mr. or Mrs. Hyde, we must simply walk by our perfect spirit. Paul told the Galatians about this formula:
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
So what happened to me? Old Matt, the Matt who hadn’t yet allowed Jesus to begin reconditioning his intellect, he kept banging his head against the same dumb wall and then blaming the wall for his headache! He kept going around the same stupid mountain, and then blaming the mountain for his poor sense of direction!
Then one day, I finally had a come-to moment, “I gotta change. I gotta change. Not people, not circumstances, but me.”
I was ruining my life trying to change others and the state of affairs in which I had no power to change. The devil had me fooled about my authority, “You can change them if you are hard on them! You can alter your unfair situation this way!”
He not only tricked me through my mind, but also through my flesh. My fleshy ego wanted me to constantly get revenge and manipulate. My stinking thinking only made things worse by causing me to make spiritually immature choices. Then one day, the Holy Spirit finally convinced me of this:
“Matthew, stop getting upset about what you can’t control. Just do your best to control what you can, and be yourself. Then you’ll have peace.”
That sounded amazing. However, I believe that in order to have these “Holy Spirit come-to moments,” we simply have to try things out the wrong way long enough to realize it won’t work. Some people have this moment of repentance early in life, some in the middle, and some never do. The sin of the flesh, as well as undeveloped mindsets, cause some Christians to become bitter, blameful old people, whom nobody can stand to be around. They can’t even stand themselves.
The good news is, 9 years old or 90, as long as your heart is still beating, it’s never too late to make healthy changes which will produce peace and joy! God keeps us alive for a reason–that reason, is to become who we really are in spirit, gracefully.
The sad thing is, some people never decide to change. They simply don’t want it. And they don’t want it because they think they don’t need it–and they think they don’t need it because of a nasty little word: pride. Pride is the root of all sins as well as a terrible life! Out of pride grows:
- Unforgivness. If a Christian continues to listen to the enemy’s sales pitch of acting on pride, even to the point of refusing to forgive others as Christ forgave them, then they can expect a frustrating life. We have to want to forgive people. This is not easy, but it is possible as you act on the want-to of your perfect spirit (see Philippians 4:13).
- Self-Pity. In John 5, Jesus approached an invalid sitting by the pool of Bethesda. This was a man who had been stuck in self-pity for 38 years. Jesus said to him, “Do you even want to get well?” The man replied with the same stale excuse that he’d been giving everyone for years, “Nobody will help me.” Jesus didn’t reply with, “Oh, you poor baby, let me do that for you.” No, He said, “GET UP!” God is not an enabler. He cares for you, He knows what you’ve been through, but He doesn’t want you to live in a constant state of grief and blame. Therefore, He will point out your excuses to you and then expect you to do something about those excuses with Him.
- Sin-Soaked Choices. I was the worst with this, as the pride of my flesh and childish mind gave me tons of excuses to sin. “Get drunk! You deserve it! Relax! You work hard! Nobody appreciates you anyway!” Or, “Go ahead and watch that porn, nobody is watching. You’ve not had sex in a while, it’s no big deal.” Or even, “Get them back! They need to get what’s coming to them so they can learn a lesson!” SIN. SOAKED. CHOICES. I had to begin acting on what my spirit wanted in order to stop this ignorant stuff.
- Arrogance. Please don’t get arrogance confused with confidence. God wants you to be confident! (See Hebrews 10:35). Over time, the Holy Spirit will reveal the difference to you as you grow in His grace. Arrogance says, “I don’t need to change anything. I’m never wrong. People make me like this.” Arrogance looks upon others with a hyper-critical attitude–Christian or not. It’s nasty. Arrogance has no mercy, no love, and it is anti-gospel.
So today, my friends, know this: Believe it or not, as a Christian you do want to change your incorrect attitudes and actions! God doesn’t try to bribe you to change, as if He has poor parenting skills. Instead, He lovingly guides you toward change. He says, “Look, my child, this is who you really are.” Once we realize this, change happens organically, and it feels really good!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, you are such a patient, good God. Thank you for helping me change my entire life after I realized I wanted to change. Right now, I lift up all these dear readers directly to you. For those who aren’t believers, I ask that you impress upon their souls just how much you love them. It is in your deep love we all become born again and get a new spirit, as we choose to believe in Jesus’ forgiveness. After that, we naturally want to live out who we are inside. Help the non-saved people to WANT to change. You will always give us opportunities to change, but we still have to decide on our own to “GET UP!” just like the man laying by the pool. Give them that extra nudge to WANT to get up today! And for the Christians, show them what they really want: to be themselves. In Christ’s name, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days For Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!