Why Change is So Hard
For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 1 Corinthians 7:22
Recently I’ve found myself asking this question: Are there some people who cannot change or find recovery? I’ve watched others make the same mistakes over and over and wondered if they simply lack the ability to turn their lives around. It seems that some people are just destined to fail repeatedly, never experiencing freedom and peace. I must believe that anyone can change, but there are those who obviously face a much more difficult challenge than others.
To truly repent and turn life around, first, I had to recognize that I was at fault. I knew my life was miserable, but I had to accept that it was miserable because of my life choices. I couldn’t blame anyone else. I was the problem.
Second, I’ve had to learn to surrender my way of doing things. For me, this has – and continues to be – the hardest part of change. My greatest life problem is that I want to do what I want to do, and it turns out, my way is eventually disastrous. If I want to leave behind the self-destruction of the old life to embrace the new one in Christ, I must daily work at denying self and following him.
The problem for many of us is, we either don’t see ourselves as our greatest life problem, or we’re not yet at the point where we want to give up our right to rule our own lives. We either lack honesty or the ability to surrender.
In today’s passage, Paul addressed this condition. In it, he said that following Christ meant becoming his servant. Being a Christian means giving up our right to rule our own lives. Paradoxically however, this is the only way to find true freedom. While we follow our own appetites and behavioral patterns, we live enslaved to our flawed nature. It’s only in being honest, recognizing that we’re our own greatest life problem, and then surrendering our right to rule, that we can truly repent and turn life around.
This is why change is so hard. It requires us to recognize that we need to change and that we must surrender ourselves to God. If we’re comfortable with where we’re at in life, or if we’re incapable admitting our flaws, our lives are destined for repeated failure. Only those who recognize their desperate need for a salvation will do what it takes to repent. Only those who truly repent can find transformation and recovery.