Not Ready for Change
And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” Acts 14:9-10
I often meet those who wish life was different. They know they have a drug or alcohol problem and they wish they didn’t. They might even say they’d give anything to find recovery, but when I suggest the radical changes it might take – treatment, meetings, change in friends and environment – they reveal this truth: They wish for transformation, but they’re not willing to do what it takes to get there. Even though they say they want it, they’re not actually ready to change.
I’ve been there. For most of my 15 years of drug use, I knew I had a problem and I wanted it to stop. My long-term desire was that I’d be sober. My right-now desire though, kept wanting to use. Why did the right-now appetite win for 15 years? Because I was addicted and to get out of an addiction is painful. For 15 years, I wanted to be different, but I wasn’t really willing to do the hard work it took to get there. If nothing changes though, nothing changes, so I stayed stuck in my addiction until I caused enough pain to make me ready for change.
Today’s passage tells of a man who was truly ready for change. In the story, Paul and Barnabas met a man crippled from birth. Paul saw in his eyes someone who was desperate for transformation and salvation. There was no waffling or equivocating in him. He knew what he wanted, and he’d do anything to get there. With this, God would work his miracle. Had the man sort-of wanted healing, I doubt he would have found it.
Many of us live in this state where we sort-of want change. We wish things were different. We contemplate changing, but we remain unwilling to do what it takes to get there. Authentic transformation is hard, so, we simply stay stuck in the thing we hate. We want to lose weight or get sober, but permanent change requires too much of us, so we just sit and wish.
If we truly want things to be different, we must decide – not just once, but daily, for the rest of our lives – that we’re willing to do whatever it takes to abandon our path to follow Christ’s. Then, we must do it, no matter what.