In our struggle with habitual sin we make the mistake of equating control with change. We think, “If I could just get this sin under control then everything would be OK.”
Control is about us, how we feel about ourselves. We make the mistake of thinking it is only about changing our behavior. If we succeed in even temporary victory we tend to rest there and we mitigate the pain and frustration of continual failure.
However, Jesus can do better. Jesus desires to give us more than just control. His desire is for us to experience change and that goes way beyond mere behavior modification. We’re talking being conformed to the image of Christ.
Control is a lot easier than change. Control is about changing what we do. Change is about who we are; becoming who God says we are. Let me give an illustration. Consider a large plant we would like to get rid of. Control is like cutting the plant off at ground level and hoping that it won’t grow back. Things look good on the surface for now. No more ugly plant but nothing new and fruitful either But change is like taking the time to do the job properly and that involves digging out all the roots so that no trace of the plant is left in the ground and something completely different can be planted there. Anyone who has tried to dig out all the roots knows how difficult and time-consuming this can be.
Here our focus is so important. If we love Jesus we will obey His commands. If our focus is on ourselves, we will settle for control and stop short of allowing Jesus to complete His work in us. Change can be traumatic in that it goes to our very identity and may require some disassembly and demolition work in our souls so that God can build something new and better.
So, don’t settle for “change” that is merely superficial and don’t let fear make you miss the mark. Face your fear, press on in faith, and persevere all the way to a new you.