James MacDonald - Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! - Romans 7:24-25
God is in the change business! Jesus promised, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” (John 8:36). He could have just as easily said, “If the Son changes you, you are changed indeed!” We have looked at six different plans that offer change, but can’t deliver. They can’t bring about what they offer because they all depend on us to bring about the change. The plans are faulty because the main component of the plan (us) is faulty. The way to real change has to do with us getting out of God’s way rather than continuing to insist, “Let me help, Lord. I know I can do this!” Here are the preliminaries to real change under the power of the Holy Spirit:
• Biblical Change Step 1: Admit
Admit; acknowledge the fault and the need. My problem is a heart problem. It’s me. I’m broken because of sin. That’s why Paul says, “Wretched man that I am!” (v. 24). The word wretched means distressed or miserable through exhaustion from hard labor. The work of trying to change myself without 100% submission to God is exhausting. I am wretched! My problem is a heart problem. Admit your condition before God.
• Biblical Change Step 2: Turn
Turn; repent of any and all alternative plans you have been trying to solve the problem of sin on your own. Turn from them and turn toward God. Only God can change my heart. Paul exclaims in Romans 7:25, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Jesus Christ is the One through whom we gain the power to change.
Have you ever admitted your helplessness over sin? Your incredible inability to change yourselves? I have a heart problem: admit it.
And then turn. Only God can change us. Every other “change plan” can be dropped in a large bag in left by the curb. The beginning and the end of real change is found in Jesus Christ.
How would the people closest to me know that I am relying entirely on Jesus in dealing with the need for change in my life?
Who have I noticed recently has been changing under the power of God? Have I encouraged them by letting them know I see good changes in them?
Father, I thank You for giving me not only the desire for change but the means to change. I want to be a man of purity. I want to be a woman of tenderhearted righteousness. I want to be all that You want me to be, God. And life is passing by. And so I pray in the strong name of Jesus that You would immerse me in an unusual season of humility. I pray, God, that You would grant to me a hunger to be different. Help me turn from the despair of faulty methods and failed efforts that don’t honor Your desire to partner with me. Ignite within me a fresh hopefulness. I’m ready for change, Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.