What It Takes To Change

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” (1 John 1:8 NLT)

We’re all defective. None of us measure up to a standard of perfection. It is silly to pretend that you’ve got it all together when everybody knows you don’t. In fact, the Bible tells us it is self-deception.

You will never be sinless on this planet, but it is possible to sin less. So why is it so hard to change stuff in us that we really don’t like?

  1. Because we’ve had our defects so long. Some of our destructive patterns were developed in childhood, perhaps in resistance to pain or as a stress coping device. These defects may be self-defeating, but at least they’re familiar!
  2. Because we identify with our defects. We often confuse our identity with our defects. When you see yourself connected to your defect, you set yourself up to perpetuate it.
  3. Because our defects have a payoff. Whatever is rewarded gets repeated. The payoff for the defects you have in your life may be to mask your pain, cover up a fear, give you an excuse to fail, or compensate for guilt.
  4. Because Satan discourages us. Once you start to work on something in your life that you want to change, Satan starts saying, “Who do you think you are? You haven’t been able to change in the past. Do you think you’re going to be able to change now? It’s hopeless. It’s not going to work.” Those fears are planted in your mind by the Devil himself.

These things keep us from changing the hurts, habits, and hang-ups that we know are unhealthy.

So what does it take to change those deep patterns in your life that you really don’t like about yourself?

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God — truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And ‘don’t sin by letting anger control you.’ Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil” (Ephesians 4:21-27 NLT).

Talk It Over

  • Have you ever tried to change a bad habit in the past and felt discouraged? Why do you think you felt that way? How did you respond?
  • What defect do you perpetuate by thinking it is part of your make-up? Try changing your thinking. Instead of saying, “I’m a workaholic,” say, “I work too much.” Instead of saying, “I’m lazy,” say, “I have a tendency to put things off and procrastinate.”
  • What truths and promises from Scripture can you use to combat Satan’s lies about your ability to change and become more like Christ?
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