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Change is an Inside Job (published in The North Weld Herald 12/30/09)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:15 PM by Fccea Webmaster
A new department head at a small hospital requested repair of a leak under one of the sinks. Maintenance personnel promptly appeared with a bucket which was positioned under the drip with the promise that after more urgent requests were satisfied, they would be back to fix the leak. Meantime, they suggested someone be assigned to empty the bucket periodically.

Fifteen years later, just prior to retirement, the same department head called to report that the faithful pail had sprung a leak. Could the drip please be fixed? Shortly, maintenance arrived -- with a shiny new bucket!

Real change is tough. It's far easier to resort to old habits and favorite workarounds, which explains why most New Year's resolutions quickly fail. We want to fix the drip, but it's so much easier to just buy a new bucket.

The problem? Resolutions concentrate on outward actions rather than inward motives. Resolutions put Band-Aids on symptoms without attacking root problems. Addressing undesirable actions and long-established habits without reference to inward change is like trying to stop a cholera epidemic by treating individual cases rather than cleaning up the water supply.

Step one in human reclamation is to establish a relationship with the Creator. That happens according to John 1:12 when we accept Jesus as Savior: "But as many as received Him (Christ), to them He (God the Father) gave the power to become the children of God, even to those who believe on His name." We become God's child when from the depths of our being we acknowledge our sin, and ask for and accept His forgiveness.

What happens simultaneously is described in 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." The basis for real change is laid because God and "inner me" are now connected!

But while salvation is instantaneous, change takes time. That's because while a true believer has become a new creature, the old self continues as a reality during our lifetime on earth. Any given action is either driven by the new inner person in submission to Christ, or the old inner person with its allegiance to self.

Thus, the Christian life is one of constant inner warfare. The Bible summarizes the situation concisely in James 4:1, "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?" Each outward action is determined by who wins that internal war of passion -- the old self or the new.

We can affect that warfare -- but not by means of resolutions. Real change depends on feeding the new self and starving the old; and, though often maligned, simple Christian disciplines are the key to this. Applied Bible study feeds the inner person, resulting in outward change. Prayer effects instantaneous connection with the Father. Church attendance, where the Word is honored and faithfully taught, speeds our growth, as does accountability fostered in Bible studies where we learn and apply biblical truth to life. These are the pursuits that will starve the old and feed the new resulting in genuine change -- from inside out.

One busy mother was looking through her closet for something to wear. When she casually asked her 4-year-old, "What do you think I should change into?" He thought awhile before replying, "A butterfly." Great suggestion, right? But we all know that kind of change requires a metamorphosis starting from the inside.

Why not make 2010 the year when you don't just "change the bucket". Fix the leak by feeding the inner self with the Godly disciplines which have the potential to make us like Christ.

By His grace, Pastor Dave