Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.” Most of us can quote the familiar words of the “Serenity Prayer” penned by American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr. To anyone who has ever struggled with change, it can prove exceedingly difficult, and like Neibuhr, we know that it requires courage.
Even Paul, battle-hardened apostle though he was, declared himself a wretched man. “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Romans 7:19).
The first step towards change is admitting the issue. While it sounds simple enough, we recognize our humanity. We blame; we avoid; we ignore; we justify; we put off the inevitable. Whining about what we wish to change is futile. Ignoring what we are afraid to change leaves us powerless.
We cannot change what we will not confront. Often, calling the issue for what it is – putting a name to it – brings it out of the darkness into the light of Jesus’ love, and it breaks the power of it to harm. Satan does his best work under cover of night. When we bring our situations boldly to the throne of grace, Satan’s lies drop powerless in the presence of God’s absolute truth.
Once we confront, change requires commitment, a walking it out by faith. First Corinthians 3:9 refers to us as co-laborers with Christ. He does not leave us to confront and change on our own. When we come to the end of our puny self-discipline, His strength is perfected in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). He supernaturally accomplishes what we are helpless to address in our own strength. With Paul the apostle, we can then proclaim: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
That conflict in which you are engaged? That secret sin with which you struggle? That situation from which you cannot escape? In the power of Christ, confront it today. Call it by name. Bring it into the light. Rise up like a warrior intent on victory. Do not let the fear of change diminish the plans God has for you. He alone gives power to overcome.