If you gather any given group of people together, there will inevitable disagreements among them. They will have many diverse opinions about any topic you bring up. However, there’s one thing that everyone can agree on:
It’s hard to change ourselves. It's hard to change our lives.
Whether you’re talking about changing your diet, your job, the way you dress, you way you talk or think, or virtually any other habit, change is almost never easy. In fact, Mark Twain once said, “The only people who like change are wet babies.”
So how is it possible to change? Is it possible to break the patterns of sin and bad habits you’ve developed over the years? I believe it is, and this passage gives us the secret.
If you look in the last couple of verses in this passage, the secret is that the power to change is available to us.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. [Romans 8.8-11]
We think of personal change as something we have to do ourselves. Have you ever told yourself something like this?
“I just need to work harder.”
“I’ll do better tomorrow.”
“I just need to watch what I eat.”
“I need an accountability partner to keep me on track.”
We’ve all said those kinds of things to ourselves. Those are all legitimate statements, and probably all true, but they don’t point to the real source of power. The real power doesn’t like in your friend, or an increased sense of self-discipline, or the guilt you continue to heap on yourself because you can’t get it right.
The real power to change—the real power to be free—comes from Jesus Christ. The very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to you and I. The power that brought him back to life is the same power that breaks the chains of death and spiritual enslavement.
A couple of years ago, during a bad storm here in St. Louis, one of the three main branches of a Bradford pear tree in our front yard was broken off. Rather than having a goofy-looking tree with one of the main branches missing, I decided to cut it down. However, there was one problem: my only tool for cutting branches was an extension pole with a foot-long attachment blade. That wasn’t going to get the job done, so my brother was kind enough to let me borrow his chainsaw.
Having the power of a chainsaw made all the difference in the world. It turned an impossible job into one that was still difficult, yet do-able.
You want to hear some good news? God specializes in turning the impossible into the “do-able.”
When it comes to dealing with sin in your life, you can try working from your own power, or you can rely on Christ’s supernatural power. Needless to say, the second option is much more effective!
There’s no more powerful force in the universe than the one that can bring a dead man back to life. And that great news is this: that same power is available to you and I, to gain freedom from the power of sin and death.
My Challenge For You
For today's challenge, I simply want to ask you a question. Whose power are you relying on to bring about real change in your life? Are you relying on your own power, or the power of Christ to make a true, long-lasting difference? Search your heart honestly, and ask God to give you wisdom as you seek to rely on him more.