It’s Just the Way I Am – Don’t Buy the Lie
One the greatest lies to fill the hearts and minds of Christians is, “I can’t change because it’s just the way that I am.”
In one regard this is not a lie for everyone. If you are son or daughter of disobedience, who by nature is a child of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3), then you might be able to say this with a good conscious that you are only doing what you were born to do, namely sin.
But if you are in Christ, if you are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), you are no longer dead in your transgressions, but light in the Lord, so walk as a child of the light (Ephesians 5:8) and don’t cave to the lie that God can’t conform you to the image of His Son.
If you believe the lie then the lie might not be a lie, but a reflection of who you really are. Because if you say you can’t change then you are really saying Christ hasn’t changed you. Because when Christ saves you the Holy Spirit changes you and if the Holy Spirit can’t continue you to change you then what are saying about the Holy Spirit who supposedly indwells you?
An illustration might help us. Suppose an adult is trying to teach a first grader how to read. But the child insists, “I can’t read. I was born this way and I can’t change. It’s just too hard.” The adult responds, “I’ll teach you to read, give you the resources you need, model reading for you and we will do this together. I will help you.” But the child rejects the help and says, “I can’t! It is no use.”
It’s not that the child can’t read, rather it is that the child won’t read. The child is saying, “I don’t want to read and I won’t read.”
When a Christian who is indwelt with the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead says they can’t, what they really mean is that they won’t. They won’t because it is easier to live in disobedience, and if this is the case it means either one of two things. Either they are not a Christian or they are just a willfully disobedient Christian and if they are a willfully disobedient Christian then they might not be a Christian at all (Galatians 5:21).
Maybe you grew up in an environment of explosive confrontation and anger. Maybe you are compulsively jealous. Maybe you cave to lust often. If so, examine yourself (2 Cor13:5) to see whether you are really in Christ; trusting Christ. If you are in Christ, believing in His finished work on the cross, give thanks to God for Christ who bore your sins in His body on the cross that you might live to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24). But don’t stop there. Continuing in the deeds of the flesh is not a befitting expression of thanks for grace. As a matter of fact, willful disobedience is a back-handed slap of insult and it should never be (Romans 6). So don’t stop short. Thank God that the Spirit who dwells within you has convicted you of your sin. Thankfulness is a result of being controlled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:20). And then glorify God be being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), by keeping in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-18).
So don’t buy the lie that God can’t change you. Jesus died to change you and to keep changing you, so that you might no longer live for yourself and your sin, but for Him who died and rose again on your behalf (2 Cor. 5:14-15).