We are excited to introduce our newest blogger here at Biblical Counseling for Women. Elizabeth Bowman is a student in Reigning Grace Counseling Center’s online training program.
Why Is It So Hard to Change Directions?
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” ~~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
So you finally came to the place in your life where you understood that you needed to make a change for the better. Not simply a minor change such as going on a diet or choosing to exercise. No, you finally responded to the Holy Spirit’s call to receive Jesus Christ, God’s Son as your Savior. Now you have a new nature. You have put on Christ. As the Bible says you have put on “a robe of righteousness.” You have become a new creation.
What Does the Bible Say About Your New Life? . . .
Second Corinthians 5:17 reads: “old things have passed away, and all things are become new.”
We Rejoice in Being Born Again! . . .
Hallelujah. Our inner self rejoices. Yay God! We are now born again. Whew! And we feel like we have it made, but only for a brief moment. But then, the old nature flexed its muscles again. You thought you were going a new direction – walking on God’s path to a life of righteous living. But your outward person (that is your flesh) was (and if you’re like most of us probably still is) at war with this new creation. You want to change directions — change your behavior but it seems so hard to actually do.
We Are Not Alone . . .
You and I are not unique in experiencing this, however. Even the Apostle Paul faced these same challenges. Notice what he wrote in Romans:
“Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don’t do it. I don’t do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don’t want to do. Now, when I do what I don’t want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it. Sin that lives in me is doing it. I take pleasure in God’s standards in my inner being… However, I see a different standard at work throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin’s standards which still exist throughout my body. What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body. I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me!” ~~ Romans 7:18b-20; 23-26 (GW).
A Noted Theologian Weighs In . . .
Charles Spurgeon, (a theologian and pastor who lived during the 1800’s) discovered that it was essential that he have an unwavering belief in God’s sovereignty in order to live the Christian life. We Christians need to know who we are and Whose we are — even if we don’t feel like it outwardly. Little by little, we change and grow all through our lives. And only God knows why it seems to take so long to become Christ-like, think godly thoughts, speak with wisdom, and live a life totally pleasing to God.
Are You Bound By An Addiction? . . .
Maybe you, like so many, are bound by an addiction. As a Christian, you want to overcome it, but you simply can’t seem to. How is it that you came to have this addiction, and why can’t you break the habit? Dr. Mark Shaw writes in his book The Heart of Addiction:
“Quite simply, physical addiction occurs when you repeatly satisfy a natural appetite and desire with a temporary pleasure until you become the servant of the temporary object of pleasure rather than its master. Addiction is likened to slavery and idolatry in the Bible. You use a temporarily pleasurable substance to escape, but in reality you find that you are physically enslaved rather than free.” (page 27).
On a Personal Note . . .
Our family loves to go to the beach! Years ago, it took us over four and a half hours to get to the beach because the roads from our home to the coast were a combination of two-lane roads, four-lane highway, and Interstate. The two-lane road had many stop lights, lots of traffic, no passing zones, and several changes in the speed limit. You can, of course, drive a little faster on the four-lane highway and make really good time driving on an Interstate highway. Why? Because there are fewer exits, faster speed limits, fewer interruptions in the journey. This gets us to our destination more quickly. But is faster always better? At first, we think, yes. But . . .
Consider This . . .
How hard it is to build an Interstate highway. How much work goes into the building of a new and wider road that eliminates many of the delays and hazards of the narrower roads? Habits are like roads and pathways that we choose to take. It takes a while to form a habit – whether positive or negative. We get used to getting on the highway and going fast and arriving at our destination quicker with fewer stops, and we think this is easier and less painful. Even though we arrive more quickly, is that really the best route? Or have we become numb as to where this road is leading us. Ask yourself this question: Are you willing to make a new road? A narrower road? To get off the Interstate? Roads are like our brain. Once the pathway has been created, it can be very difficult to change. Following the crowd may mean that you are on a broad road that leads to destruction.
The Bible Says . . .
“Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” ~~ Matthew 7:14.
We read earlier that becoming a Christian involves putting off the ‘old man’ and putting on the “new man”. The good news is that our brain is able to regenerate itself and form new pathways of healthy habits when we take our thoughts captive, think on things that are lovely, choose to take action and make a new road.
Action Point . . .
Are you ready to reconsider your thoughts and feelings, and then take action over what enslaves you? Maybe nothing captivates your heart and pulls on your soul. Maybe you are the lucky one, and your Interstate is one that is paved straight to Heaven and Home.
I know for myself, though, that many crooked paths and habits have formed over the years. At times I repeatedly took the same highway that led me to physical and mental exhaustion, even depression. It has taken a long time to build a new road. I needed to be willing to be humble, overcome my pride, and allow Him to search my heart. Even though my road is still at work, I have found freedom in building the road HIS way. And I am so glad that this new road — a road less traveled — leads to hope, restoration, love, and freedom. We can’t do this on our own, by the way. We need the Lord’s help. I received His help, and you can too.
Pray With Me . . .
Father God, this battle between the spirit and the flesh is hard at times. Sometimes, I want to jump on the old highway that relieved and seemed to solve my problems — even though it was only a temporary fix that left me exhausted and sad. Now I rejoice and praise You that You will help me form new habits and a new road that leads to hope. To life! Amen.