Saturday, October 11, 2014

Why the Bible doesn't talk about change the way we do ...

The first question I ask anyone who comes in for counseling is, "Why are you here?"

That question is far deeper than it might initially sound.

The response from many people is to immediately describe a terrible set of circumstances they are currently facing, or are about to face, and they say they want help with escaping, minimizing, or at least enduring those circumstances.

It's in situations like those that a highly competent counselor will help the person understand the inadequacy of their goal.

You see, real change as persons doesn't come by escaping, minimizing, or just enduring terrible circumstances that often come from our own bad choices. Real change only comes when we learn why those circumstances have occurred, and learn how to have different desires and make different decisions so that we don't continue to create the same kind of bad circumstances for ourselves and/or others.

Often, in their current state of irrational thinking, the person who just walked into the counseling office thinks, "If I just can escape or get through this okay, I'll never put myself into that kind of situation again." That may feel very true at the moment, but that thought and feeling are very often not true. In the heat of trying circumstances, we just want out of a bad situation. But it is very commonplace for people to put themselves into the same kind of bad circumstances over and over ... and over and over and over again. That's because their real goal was not personal change, it was getting out of the bad circumstances. Once they're finally on the other side of those circumstances, they continue to have the same desires, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that created those old problems, so it's not long until they have a new set of negative circumstances.

Who we are, and how we live, always generates consequences which directly impacts and shapes the circumstances we find ourselves in. If how you live routinely creates negative consequences, and bad circumstances, then you need your self changed in order to be able to live differently. For real change going forward, you have to experience a transformation of your desires and thoughts; as your thoughts change, your feelings will change, and transformed thoughts and emotions will bring transformation to your behavior.

When we talk about change, it's usually in terms of changing our circumstances. But God, who knows all things, thinks very differently about "change" when it comes to us. While God may care about the circumstances you find yourself in, He cares much more about you, and it's His desire to transform you so that you are changed forever! That's because He understands the root of the problem ...

"As scriptures say, 'No one is righteous --- not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one'," Romans 3:10-12.

Without real personal change, we will always be inclined to sin and we'll live a life that is destructive for ourselves and others. God wants to do more than change the circumstances of the choices we make, He wants to transform us from the inside out so that we have the righteousness of Christ and are made holy in Him. From that kind of change come desires, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that build a life of holiness and wholeness rather than brokenness and destructiveness. And when you live that life, empowered by the Holy Spirit living in you, then you won't have to fear the outcome of the desires and decisions made from a position of holiness.

You won't be perfect  in this life, but God does more than promise to change us into the likeness of His Son; He also promises to walk with us through this life, every step of the way, helping us to grow up into the likeness of Christ, to lead us through our trials and momentary failures, and to see us through to the completion of our earthly human experience.

In that case, which change do you really want?

Scotty

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