Making a Lasting Change

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It’s 2016 and I begin to think about changes that I need to make. The changes are based on a reflection of things from the previous year that I need to correct and dreams of where I want to be. One of my goals, like many people, is the desire to lose weight, and get in better shape. I start to eat healthier foods and carve out time for the gym as I am enthusiastic, and eager to progress toward my goal.

But just as the attendance in the local gyms dwindles, so does my commitment to my goal. It is not because I am not interested in reaching my goal, but life gets in the way. I have to work late, and miss the exercise class I planned to attend. “I’ll just go to the gym tomorrow” I say after a long and stressful day. Well, tomorrow comes and something new impedes me from continuing my plan. Ultimately, instead of going to the gym 5 times per week, I may only make it 2-3 times. The discouragement wears me down and I am ready to quit as I have not seen any change in my weight or body tone.

Changing our appearance, even though it is healthy, it is an outward change. We also need to examine our heart to see if we need to make an inner change. We know there are things we need to change, our language, our attitude, how we treat one another. We are able to do it for a while, until- someone says something we do not like or maybe someone does not treat you the way you should be treated- then we get sidetracked. Sometimes our friends want us to join them at the club, but you realize that there is nothing for you in the club. You are tired of meeting the same people with the same attitudes and same drama.

Romans 13:12b-14 talks about making an inner change. “…So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” What this is simply saying is it is time to examine ourselves and stop doing some things that are not pleasing to God and replace them with actions and a lifestyle that are consistent with Jesus’ example. We need to give up the things we do in secret when no one can see us, and instead strive for our daily actions to always line up with Christ.

Just like losing weight starts with a desire to make a change, then changing our habits, and sustaining the new habits, so does making an inner change of our thoughts and actions. But we can make a lasting change if we lean and depend on Christ to help us on the way.

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