3 Pre-requisites to changing your life – Part 1

time for changeFor many years I’ve been asking the question,

“What does it really take to make lasting change in your life?”

The reason the question has plagued me off and on is because I’ve experienced both sides of it.  There have been things I’ve started, tried, worked at – and been a roaring succes.  But there have also been things that I’ve started, tried, worked at – and I was quitting with a capital “Q” within two weeks!  So being a person who tries to think about life – I’ve asked the question, “What was the difference between the two situations?  Why did one work great and the other flop before it got started?”  If you’ll take the time to look at your own life, I think you’ll see a pretty even spread of successes and failures too.  Though I’ve not found all the answers on this question (I’m sure), the Lord has given me a bit more clarity about it in the past few years – primarly from seeing changes made (and not made) in the marriage counseling setting.  Wherever I am serving as a Pastor, my wife and I typically wind up doing quite a bit of marital work with people.  Some really change and everyone is rejoicing, and others, in spite of the counsel, continue to struggle along.  Here’s the first of 3 things I’ve discovered (so far) that make all the difference…

1. Willingness – Many years ago I had a CD in and was once again astounded by what I was hearing.  It was one of the greatest guitarist on the planet, a man by the name of Phil Keaggy.  My father-in-law was in the room and I said to him, in the midst of my rapture about the music, “Man, I’d give anything to play like that!”  His response, without missing a beat, was, “No you wouldn’t.”  I was a bit flustered by his remark.  (OK, I was pretty ticked off!)  So I asked him what he meant (I’m sure with not too gracious a tone in my voice).  He simply said, “If you would give anything to play like that, you’d have already done it.”  He was right.  I didn’t really want it THAT much.

What I’ve found is that if we really want something, we usually find a way to do it – or we at least keep at it.  I believe that God has given us a wonderful gift – a will – to do things in life that bring glory to Him.  It may not even be something religious or particularly “spiritual” – but if we do the best we can, with the gifts that HE‘s given us, it brings glory to Him.  Colossians 3:23-24 bears that out.

That kind of determination, perseverance and will-power (so to speak) is the first step toward real and lasting change.  That means you’ve got to be willing to do whatever is needed to see the change take place, no matter how difficult or costly that may be.  We’ve all said we’ve really, really, really, really meant it – THIS TIME!  But the reality is simple – when it all came down to it, we weren’t willing, for whatever reason, to pay the necessary price. 

In a passage where Paul is encouraging the Corinthians follow through on a financial gift they had promised to give, he speaks about willingness.  He says that “if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable…” (2 Corinthians 8:12) Willingness really matters to God…

In the marriages I’ve seen that are really, truly, honestly healed for good – BOTH people were willing to pay whatever price it took to heal their relationship.  THAT is amazingly honoring to God because it is a heart of faith that God will do His part – and they are willing to do theirs…

#2 tomorrow…

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