Everyone wants to know the secret to making lasting change. Most people believe that the secret is willpower . . . until they discover that their “will” really has no lasting power! The Bible makes it crystal clear that the “how” of lasting change will only come through the “why” of lasting change. In other words, the why is the how!
Oh sure, our willpower can initiate change, but it is only temporary. Most of us have discovered this truth by watching our new years’ resolutions—“This year I’m going to eat right, exercise more, read the Bible more, stop this or that bad habit, pray more, serve more” and so on—falter and fade away. The reason, of course, is that only when the Spirit of God changes the hearts of Christian believers that we will ever realize lasting change. It all comes down to the difference between temporary behavior modification and lasting heart transformation.
Christ’s love compels us. (2 Corinthians 5:14)
Lasting change will only come through a compelling love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Love for Christ, not personal power, will propel us into the clear blue waters of a changed life. When a compelling love for God inspires us to engage in spiritual warfare against the forces that want to keep us down and out, temporary change perseveres and becomes lasting change. We resist the temptations to sin simply because of the love of Christ compels us to turn toward God and away from sin.
- Why forgive completely? Because the love of Christ compels us!
- Why serve faithfully? Because the love of Christ compels us!
- Why give generously? Because the love of Christ compels us!
- Why love unconditionally? Because the love of Christ compels us!
Bryan Chapell wrote in Holiness By Grace, “A love for God made vital and vigorous by sensing deeply his compassion toward us is the primary means that enables believers to resist Satan.” The love, mercy, and compassion of Christ is always and in every way the only compelling why behind every lasting how.
So . . . how is Christ’s love compelling you lately? If you’d have to candidly answer, “Not as much as I’d like,” perhaps you need a clearer vision of the hill Golgotha, where the Son of God took your place on that rough wooden cross. If there is no greater love than to lay your life down for someone else, then we need look no further than the cross to keep before us the only WHY we will ever need to be what God is calling us to be.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!