Do People Have the Power to Change Themselves?

Written by Jeffery Carlson on . Posted in Local

angerHave you ever wanted to change something in yourself or others? It could be an anger problem or a judgmental spirit that is really bothersome to us or others. It might also be a troubling addiction that is taking away the joy of life and destroying a potentially great future. We may have tried to stop or change these things over and over, but nothing seems to happen.

All of this leads to a huge question. Do people have the power within themselves to do whatever they want to do in life? In other words, can we muster up enough "will power" to change our lives and destiny whenever we feel like it? Can we change our weight, stop a bad habit, change an attitude, stop an addiction, conquer a troubling sin or start over at any time, regardless of the issue?

Most people in our world strongly believe we can do anything we set our minds to do. This confidence in our supposed "willpower" has spawned a series of self help books and infomercials that attempt to provide us with the tools and products to conquer any problem or change any issue in our lives. All a person has to do in America today to become rich is simply convince people they can help a person change for the better.

The problem with all of this "willpower" and change techniques is that it almost always leaves out the Lord. As a result, the message that people are given is that you can do it without the Lord. Our world tries to convince us that we all the faith and will power inside of us to accomplish anything in life. We can be as god! Once we begin to believe we can do all things through our efforts, the Lord is totally gone and we begin to be our own "god". The idea that we can be like "god", through our self-efforts, is exactly what the serpent told Adam and Eve in the Garden in Genesis 3:5.

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The reality of the situation is that we cannot really do anything without the Lord. People can't ultimately change themselves without the Lord. Oh sure, you might be able to lose a few pounds or learn some new techniques to manage your anger, but the most important, lasting changes that need to be made are only accomplished by the Lord. It is only the Lord Who can transform our lives into something beautiful that will last. Only the Lord can take our deepest problems and change them for the good. All other attempts to "fix" ourselves on a deeper level will never work. Much of the country today is unwilling to face the simple fact that their own "willpower" is not the answer to solving their problems. Self help is not the answer! The only real thing we need to transform our lives is the Lord's love, grace, mercy and power. Nothing else will really work.

In the passage above from Romans 9, the Apostle Paul reminds Christians that our salvation is not our effort, but rather the Lord's mercy. We cannot save ourselves. We can't die on the Cross. We can't make the payment for sin. We cannot fix our sin. We cannot turn over a new leaf and make ourselves acceptable to God. The only thing we can do is open our hands and receive the Lord's wonderful mercy in Jesus Christ as a gift. The act of receiving the Lord's mercy is the beginning of real change in our lives. When we seek the Lord and His mercy we acknowledge our need of Him. We come to the place where we are His beloved people again and not His competitors as little "gods'.. Only then can we do ALL things through Him who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13).

So as we look to making important changes in our lives, on any and all issues, here is what the Bible teaches us. The only thing we can really do to change ourselves is to make ourselves available to the Lord to work in us and through us in every area of life. We need to seek the Lord to direct us and give us His wisdom and power to make things happen. We need to abandon our "willpower" for His will and His power. We need to be totally yielded to His "God power" in our lives.

May the Lord Jesus Christ help each of us find new ways for Him to take control of our lives, by living out His life in us and through us for His honor, glory and the advancement of His Kingdom.

"It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy."
Romans 9:16
Author Information
Jeffery Carlson
Jeff Carlson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs. Jeff came to personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as a college freshman through the witness of a campus evangelist. He graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois with a degree in engineering and worked in the corporate world for several years before his call to ministry. Following graduation from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California Jeff came to Oakhill Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he currently serves as pastor. Jeff has a tremendous passion to teach, preach and communicate God's Word in simple and clear ways that the average person can understand.

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