You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.~John 15:16
Have you ever experienced a time where you decided to make a change in your life and you feel like you are doing great for a period of time, (hello New Year's resolutions) only to find that you wake up one day feeling like you have been completely defeated?!? I'm sure we have all felt like that, whether it's for a day, a week, or a season of our lives. This can leave you feeling discouraged and in some cases even like there is no point in even trying to make a 'change'. After all, you know in time that you will just fail again, so why bother?
If it does, you are not alone! Why is it that as humans we so often feel like we are bound to fall at some point after we decide to make a change? Well, I can speak from experience here, and say that whenever I try to accomplish anything without the Lord it always leads to failure. I may make it awhile on my own, (which certainly leads me to believe I have been successful for that period of time) but it is always inevitable.... When I try to make a lasting change without the Lord's help, guidance, and strength the out come is always the same... I fall back to my 'old' ways.
This pattern went on for much of my life, as I tried to succeed in many things without the Lord, (or according to the worlds way's of doing things), but it wasn't until I woke up one day and realized that I wasn't getting very far using my wisdom, or the wisdom of this world. I decided one day that instead of trying to 'change' things about myself, that I was going to follow the direction and guidance of Matthew 6:33, which states, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
It wasn't until I fully made the decision to pursue the Lord's ways for me and sought Him out in specific areas where I needed change, that I was finding lasting change was being produced in my life. This is what the bible talks about when it speaks of bearing fruit that will LAST in our lives! (John 15:16).
I now know that anytime I am seeking change in an area of my life that I can overcome anything and be successful in anything I set out to do, but it truly is only THROUGH Christ that I will get the strength that I need for lasting change! (Philippians 4:13)
Practically speaking, I have concluded that all lasting change begins with a simple cry out to the Lord for help. I know that in myself I am not strong enough. I begin by acknowledging that I NEED Him to guide, counsel and strengthen me in a specific area.
The next thing I do is go to the Word and ask the Lord to give me promises to stand on relating to whatever it is that I am dealing with. He is always SO faithful to point me to the truth that I need in each situation, (Matthew 7:7). I write these verses out on a piece of paper and keep them where I can see them to remind me daily of the truth. I also know that God's word is life-giving and encouraging when I am tempted to feel discouraged or afraid (Proverbs 4:20-22).
Another thing that I have learned that is vital to walking out change is staying connected to the 'vine', which is Jesus! John 15:5 reveals this truth when Jesus tells us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;apart from me you can do nothing." There is no magic formula to this, but for me, I know it requires taking time out of each day to spend with Jesus. For example, if I find that I am getting overly busy that it isn't long before I feel my eyes being pulled away from the Lord. I know that I absolutely NEED to spend time with Him to walk in freedom and walk by the Spirit daily! I think this can really be summed up by the scripture that says, "the cares of this world come and choke the Word"...(Mark 4:19). We don't even need to be preoccupied by 'bad' things...just being overly busy with the cares of this world can really drown out the truth of God's Word in our lives.
Now the good news...I can honestly say that every time I have ever brought something to the Lord that needs to be changed in me, I have been radically changed. Not changed for a while and then in a matter of time I fall....I can say by experience that when you get the Lord involved in any area of your life, you will always reach a place where you are so far removed from those things of your past that you will look back and not even be able to identify with that old habit anymore!
It's so amazing how the Lord heals us from our past and truly wipes it clean! I think that's why I can so freely talk about eating disorders without any shame or guilt... The Lord has truly made me new in this area!
Change can take time and there is often a healing process, which isn't always easy, but the Lord is faithful when you trust Him and don't give up! It is then that the miracle of healing and restoration takes place by the Lord in those places that used to be a struggle. And before you know it, they become a distant memory. And what's even better... a testimony that can help set others free!