I Was Once . . . Now I Am . . .
Go to any book store and you will find that one of the largest sections is Self-help / Personal Development. Hundreds of books on making yourself a “better you”. The consistent mantra goes something like this: Change what you do and you will become thinner, better looking, more fulfilled or financially successful. Sounds great! Sign me up. I’m ready to try harder.
Trying harder sounds right, doesn’t it? But if that was enough, wouldn’t many of my problems, weaknesses and sinful habits just dissolve away as a result? So I work harder to do or not do. I become a “behavior management specialist”. I may see some early results. Then the weight of trying harder becomes heavier and heavier until one day I can’t do it anymore. A stumble, a relapse, a backslide. Maybe I just run out of steam and just don’t want to do it today. I catch myself thinking “What’s the use…this is just who I am!”
Then we discover God’s Truth!
“…I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a ‘law man’ so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not ‘mine’, but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.” (Galatians 2:19-21 Msg)
We’ve Recognized our problem is bigger than we can handle. We’ve Rejected our behavior and are sick of it. We’ve confessed our sin to God, Repented and received His forgiveness. Our desire is to live God’s way. Our 4th “Re” is REPLACE.
The “Replacement Strategy”? DO → BE or BE → DO?
Scripture is clear and life proves it…I do what I do because I am who I am. Being produces doing. I love how Galatians 2 says it:
- “. . .the life you see me living is not mine…”!
- “. . .I identified myself completely with Him…”!
- “. . .I have been crucified with Christ…”!
- “. . .Christ lives in me…”!
My story is about an obsession to be liked and approved by others. It drove me to sinful behavior. God ultimately used very difficult things to bring me to repentance and a change of heart. In His patience and grace, He has brought me along. I can now say:
I was once consumed by the need to find my approval from others;
Now I am complete in my identity and approval from Jesus alone.
Replacing behavior takes time. One of my favorite scriptures says: “…I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6 NLT)
Lasting change happens when we allow Christ’s life within us to take the pressure off of ourselves and place it on the only One who can pull it off! He may sometimes deliver change immediately or He may take time to build your faith through the struggle. But He will REPLACE it!
The final “Re” is REJOICE. It acknowledges that God has brought transformation to our lives. The result is that gratitude wells up in us because of what God has done. Gratitude produces JOY. Scripture says the joy of the Lord is our strength. This final “Re” finishes the cycle of change in us.
What is it in your life that you are craving that kind of change . . . that kind of freedom? Let Him do it!
By Dave Galbraith, BreakThrough Moments