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Pointers along the way #87

Determination to change
- Jacob Ninan

What do we do when we see that we lack something, or we have been wrong in something, in the sight of God? Let us say that we don't want to justify ourselves or blame others, but we know that the fault is really ours. What do we do then? Of course we ask for forgiveness, from God and from other people whom we have hurt. Don't we then wish that we could change and be different in the future?

This is a point at which we can make one of several mistakes. If we just 'wish' that we could be different, it would not change us. On the other end of the line, if we determine that we are going to change, grit our teeth and try to change our behaviour, we may probably succeed in changing our external behaviour, while inside our spirit we may continue to be the same person as before. This will become clear when we are caught off guard, and our inner nature comes out in our words or our behaviour.

Some people think that the solution is to pray and leave the matter into God's hands. There is indeed a great truth in this. By this we acknowledge our utter dependence on God. We cast our burdens on Him, and get rid of our worries and anxieties which, in any case, could not help us. We express our confidence in God and His promises and expect that He would take action on our behalf. This is all how it should be.

But by doing all this it should not be as if we relieve ourselves of any responsibility in the matter. We are always responsible for our actions including the words we speak (Ro.14:12;Mt.12:36). We will also have to reap the consequences of what we say and do, whether good or bad (Ga.6:7,8). We are responsible if we continue to yield our body to the desires of the flesh (Ro.6:13).

It is our choices and our actions that shape us. A man of God has said that what we are today is the result of all the choices and decisions that we have made in the past. If we want to be any different in the future, we have to necessarily make different choices and decisions.

Are we determined to make these changes, in the way we think - about God, people, the world, ourselves, our goals and desires - and in the way we speak and behave? If so, we need to equip ourselves to make these changes and we need to be diligent in watching our own progress. Don't leave it to chance, expecting that changes will take place automatically. God is working in us, helping us to make the right choices and to carry them out, and we have to cooperate with Him by actually doing what He tells us through the Bible - directly or through other people - and through the promptings of the Spirit in our spirit.