As I mentioned yesterday, as stimulating and invigorating as change may be—it is never easy. And when it comes to certain habits that haunt and harm us, change can be excruciating. But it isn’t impossible.
I warn you, the number one enemy of change is the hard-core, self-satisfied sin nature within you. Like a spoiled child, it has been gratified and indulged for years, so it will not give up without a violent temper tantrum. Change is its greatest threat, and a confrontation between the two is inevitable. Change must be allowed to face and conquer the intimidations of inward habit—and I repeat the warning that a nose-to-nose meeting will never be an easy one.
The flesh dies a slow, bitter, bloody death—kicking and struggling all the way down. “Putting off” the clothes of the old self (the old, habitual lifestyle) will not be complete until you are determined to “put on” the garment of the new self (the new, fresh, Christian lifestyle) [see Colossian 3:9–10]. The tailor’s name is Change, and he is a master at fitting your frame. But the process will be painful...and costly.
Change—real change—takes place slowly. In first gear, not overdrive. Far too many Christians get discouraged and give up. Like ice skating or mastering a musical instrument or learning to water ski, certain techniques have to be discovered and developed in the daily discipline of living. Breaking habit patterns you established during the passing of years cannot occur in a few brief days. Remember that. “Instant” change is as rare as it is phoney.
God did not give us His Word to satisfy our curiosity; He gave it to change our lives. Can you name a couple of specific changes God has implemented in your life during the past six or eight months? Has He been allowed, for example, to change your attitude toward someone...or an area of stubbornness...or a deep-seated habit that has hurt your home and hindered your relationship with others for a long, long time...or a pattern of discourtesy in your driving...or a profane tongue...or cheating...or laziness?
Perhaps a better question would be, “Exactly what changes do you have on your personal drawing board?”—or—“What are you asking the Lord to alter and adjust in your life that needs immediate attention?”
The tailor’s real name is the Holy Spirit. You can count on Him to dispose of your old threadbare wardrobe as quickly as He outfits you with the new. By the way, He’s also on call 24 hours a day when you have the urge to slip into the old duds “just one more time.” If you ask Him, He’ll help you remember what you looked like on the day you first walked into His shop. He has a mirror with memories—the Bible.
Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.