What does real transformation look like? We try all sorts of things to get results in our lives. We desire change for the better but keep sliding back into old habits. There's even a slick little quote floating around stating "insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Is it dumb luck that some people get results? Are some people just doomed by fate to a life of misery? Why are we so apt to keep doing the same things even though we hate it?
The answer: Human Nature (a.k.a. our flesh) This is why alcoholics fall off the wagon; why mothers who've vowed never to yell at their kids again, do. Abusers continue to beat, thieves steal, addicts get numbed one more time, procrastinators will get results...tomorrow, eating disorders destroy bodies, liars fib, and sinners sin. How do we NOT walk in our flesh when it's our nature to do so?
Now, I hope you're not feeling bleak at this point. Keep reading. But in order to get to the good news, we've got to look at the bad news first. When we typically look for a solution for our "bad habits" we either:
1.) Try and stop doing something - OVERCOME
2.) Try and start doing something - PERFORM
Both solutions have a dismal long term success rate. Why? Because they are both based on self-effort and works and not faith. We really have no power to overcome or perform our way out of this state. Now, some of you may be thinking, "I am strong. I've beat my issues. How dare you judge me!" Hold on. I'm not saying you may not have times when you've managed them better than others but let me ask you this: When the fires of life show up and the pressure is on, you're pressed from all sides and your negative emotions begin to swell, will you want to return to your old habits? Will your eyes long to find porn, your mouth water for a taste of alcohol? Will your anger build walls and throw bricks? Will you do everything in your power to control the situation or will you just shut down completely and check out? If you're a Christ-follower, you've heard that we are to walk in the Spirit and walk by faith, not by sight. How? And where is this peace that God says we'll find in Him anyway?
Here's the good news; It's there. Just as he says... it's found in Him.
"Don't be anxious about anything... the peace of God will guard your heart and mind in Jesus."
"May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times, in every way."
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you." ***
Peace doesn't come from trying to feel peace, from overcoming your pain or outperforming your old habits. Peace is a product of the Spirit, the Fruit of the Spirit, in fact. So, here's a question to ask yourself? If I'm not experiencing this peace he's offered, WHY? Could it be because you're not truly trusting him? Does it feel true that "I can be worry-free and have complete peace in ALL circumstances?" The reason I ask if it FEELS true is because our feelings stem out of what we believe. If it doesn't feel true, (not is it true, because we know it is because his Word tells us so!) then ask him, "Lord, what do you want me to know about this?" Seek him and trust that he will answer you.
Let me finish up today's thoughts with the complete verses from Philippians.
"Don't be anxious about anything, BUT in everything, BY PRAYER AND PETITION, with thanksgiving, PRESENT YOUR REQUESTS to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me; He delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4
*** Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Thessalonians 3:16, Isaiah 26:3 Check these out in your bible today and ask God, "Is this true?"