by Rick Warren
“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God — truly righteous and holy.” (Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT)
It’s not enough to want to change. It’s not enough to desire to change. It’s not even enough to say, “I have a dream of changing.” Dreams are worthless unless you wake up and actually act on them. You’re not going to change the defects in your life until you choose to change.
How are you going to be different in six months? Are you going to be emotionally stronger? Are you going to be mentally sharper? Are you going to be physically healthier? Are you going to be spiritually deeper?
It isn’t going to happen automatically. You aren’t just going to get healthier by accident in any category of your life. A lot of times we think we’re waiting on God to change us. You’re not waiting on God. God is waiting on you.
There is no growth in your life without change. And there is no change without loss. You’ve got to let go of some old stuff. And there is no loss without pain.
Some of you are stuck right now because you haven’t learned how to let go. That’s a choice. Ephesians 4:22 says, “Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception” (NLT).
You might say that your defects are biological or sociological. Some of them are from your circumstances or your chromosomes. But it doesn’t really matter where they come from. You need to deal with it. Genetics explains your inclinations, but it doesn’t excuse your sin.
Here’s the good news: Once you become a believer, you have a new power in you that is greater than those old tendencies. That power is the Holy Spirit.
Philippians 2:12-13 says, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (NIV).
Does that mean you are supposed to be afraid of God? Of course not! Be afraid that you’ll miss God’s best and waste your life. Be afraid that you will go your entire life and never know God’s purpose.
The secret to changing your life is not willpower. It’s God giving you the will and the power through the Holy Spirit to do what needs to be done.
Talk About It
- What do you think it means to “work out” your salvation?
- How have you experienced the Holy Spirit’s power in your life?