Frustrated by Those Who Refuse to Change
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 5:24
I go to one of those CrossFit gyms, where regular worldwide competition is part of the landscape. I’m not terrible at it. I’m in the upper 50% . . . of all the men . . . over age 45 . . . at my own gym . . . in the 6 AM class. I’d be better if I weighed less, but that last 20 pounds just doesn’t seem to want to go away.
I’ve talked with those who are more successful than me. When they ask why I don’t lose the weight, I’ve told them how I struggle with over-eating after 9PM. When I explain this, they shrug and say, “Don’t you know that’s bad for you? You get out what you put in.” The look on their faces though, says “Why would you do that to yourself? Why won’t you change?”
I’ve been on that side of it – frustrated by another’s unwillingness to do what it takes to change. I’ve sat in jail across from the addict who’s wasted second, third, and fourth chances. Why would you continue to do this to yourself? Why won’t you change? The only answer is that, on his own, he’s powerless over his diseased nature. His only choice at that point, is to stay where he’s at, or to follow God to a radical new life – but this is far from easy.
In today’s passage, Jesus said that whoever believes in him passes from death to life. When put like this, it seems like such a simple idea. Why would anyone choose misery and death? How could anyone be so foolish?
The answer for me, lies in my eating predicament. Mine isn’t a knowledge problem. It isn’t that I don’t know what I should do. My problem is in the doing. Believing in a thing isn’t just knowing it to be true. Believing in a thing is living out that truth. In remembering my own failures, I better understand the struggles of the one still wrestling with following Christ into the new life.
Jesus says we will find the new life when we believe in him. This isn’t just a thought in our heads though. Authentic belief is knowledge that governs how we live. We will walk in the new life only when we practice faith, doing whatever it takes to abandon our way to follow God’s.