Faulty Change Plan # 6
James MacDonald, Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel
 
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. - Romans 7:21-23
 
The last of the faulty strategies for change that influences believers is what we call the intellectual change plan. Paul talks about this in Romans 7:21 (above). He basically admits, “In my mind, I want to do right, but I don’t do it. I can think about the changes that are necessary, but I can’t think my way to them.” That’s Paul's review of the failure of intellectual change. Many people feel this way. “Why did I do that?” “Why did I say that?” “Why am I like that?” And then they always say this, “I know better, but I still do it. I know it’s going to hurt. I know I’m going to get upset. I know I’m going to be frustrated, but I still do it even though I know better.”
 
That’s why we focus upon accountability in our Small Groups, because we want to keep the emphasis on change under God’s plan, not ours. Small Groups are not legalistic huddles or monastic experiments in the modern world—nor are they intellectual work-outs so we can display our “spiritual abs.” We participate in attentive Bible study, knowing that we do need to learn the Word. And we need to grow in our understanding. But information is not the ultimate answer. No one’s going to explain something to you and then it’s going to turn the key. Information doesn’t unlock change. It’s not the truth as an idea that sets you free; it’s Truth as the person of Jesus Christ, living in you, that sets you free!
 
Paul said, I have this law in my mind, but there’s a problem: knowing is not enough. And he agonizes over the problem in Romans 7:24, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” If we follow along Paul’s argument, we’re right with him at this point. The means for change have been weighed and found wanting. We realize that even at our most insightful and sincere, our efforts to change will fall short. We will cry with Paul, “Who will deliver us from this deadly mess?”
 
God made sure Paul didn’t leave us hanging with the question. There is a way out. There is The Way out; Jesus Christ! We can feel Paul’s relief and hope as he declares, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25a). The way of real change always takes us through Jesus Christ.
 
Journal:
How have I discovered the limitations that come when I try to think my way into spiritual maturity and change?
 
Is loving God with my mind (Mark 12:30) something I can do un-aided, or must I rely on the Holy Spirit even for this basic step of obedience? Why?
 
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You have given me an amazing mind and allowed me to use it as part of my wholehearted response to You in love. Forgive me when I forget that my mind is limited by power, distractions, and sin to the point that any meaningful change, even in the way I think, must come from You. Thank You for showing Yourself ready and willing to heal and guide the way I think! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God
Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God 

5 CD Series Set - $35.00

What if you believed—truly believed with all confidence that God is with you? How would today go for you if you knew without a doubt that God is in control? What would be different in your life if you were sure God is watching and good? What would you risk if you were certain God is victorious? 

Just how would believing God’s promises change your life?  

Ask the greatest Christian you’ll ever meet if they hold on to God’s promises and they’ll all say yes. Believing that God will do what He promises leads to a great life. The greatest Christian you’ll every meet knows, treasures, and is resting in the promises of God. They cling to these assurances that God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.

So what exactly does God promise?  In this topical study of what will always be true, Pastor James MacDonald will explore five great and precious promises that God keeps. Enter into this study with anticipation and faith that the God who makes these promises is faithful and true... always true.