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Is It Possible to Change Ourselves?

February 27th, 2012 Posted in sermons

We like the idea of change, of starting over again, of becoming someone different than we are. Sometimes we move to a new place, thinking we can escape our problems. Sometimes we think if we had some new friends or get married that life will be better. Then we think if only we had kids things would be different.

Others think a change in their appearance will do it. A survey revealed that 80 percent of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance. And research has also shown that the more time people spend consuming media, the more unhappy they are with their bodies. They think that if they could look like someone in a magazine, it would meet the deepest needs of their lives.

If you think you would be happier if you were really handsome or strikingly beautiful, consider this statement from actress Halle Berry: “Being thought of as a beautiful woman has spared me nothing in life. No heartache, no trouble. Love has been difficult. Beauty is essentially meaningless and it is always transitory.”

A professor of sociology said, “The demand for instant identity transformation has never been so pervasive. People want change, and they want it instantly. From fame to the instant thrills of Botox or liposuction, the capacity to reinvent ourselves has become fundamental.”

But can we really reinvent ourselves? Can we really change? Here is the answer: No. You cannot change who you are on the inside. You can change your appearance. You can change your location. You can change your relationships. But you can’t change yourself any more than a drowning person can save himself.

Sometimes it is said the answer is within, but the reality is the problem is within. And that problem inside of you and inside of me is called sin. We have all sinned. And we can’t change our essential nature. The Bible says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT). There is only one person who can change the human heart, and that is God. God can change your life. It is possible.

There is a story in the Bible about a woman who got caught committing adultery. Some religious leaders found her and decided she ought to be executed for this. We don’t know what happened to the man she was with, but apparently he walked away free. But they brought this woman to Jesus and threw her down at his feet. Now, they didn’t really care about this woman. What they really were trying to do was to trap Jesus. They wanted to know what he would do.

They said to him, “This woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” (John 8:4–5) Now, Jesus was on the horns of a dilemma here. If He said, “Stone her,” he would have been justified, technically, but that would have been pretty harsh. If he said, “Let her go,” then he would have been seen as being too lenient.

So what did he do? He looked at them and started writing in the sand. What was he doing? I don’t think he was playing tic-tac-toe. I think he wrote something significant. And when he was finished writing in the sand, he stood up and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (verse 7). Then he stooped down and started writing again.

We don’t know exactly what Jesus wrote, but I think he probably wrote the names of the religious leaders next to the commandments. Yeah, Caleb, I know what is up with you. … Hey, Joshua, I know where you have been. … Eliezer, I know all about you, buddy. And then they left, from the oldest to the youngest. And why did they leave in that order? I think it s because the older guys had more sins they had committed. They got busted. Instead of condemning the woman, Jesus condemned the self-righteous condemners.

Then Jesus said to her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more” (verses 10–11).

Some might say, “How could Jesus pardon her? She was caught in the act. She wasn’t even a believer.” But I think she was. Why? Because she believed. I am not sure exactly when she believed, but probably right before she said, “No, Lord.” How long does it take to believe in God? Only an instant.

Jesus said four things to her that were very important.

Her sins had been forgiven. He said, “Neither do I [condemn you]. Go and sin no more.” God can forgive you of all of your sins. And not only will he forgive them, but he will forget them. They will be behind you. The Bible says it will be like they are buried in the depths of the sea (see Micah 7:19).

She did not have to fear the judgment day. There is a day of judgment coming when everyone will stand before God – the rich and the poor, the famous and the unknown. And the question in that final day will not be whether you lived or a good life or were a nice person or whether you recycled. The question will be: What did you do with Jesus Christ?

She had new power to face her problems. “Go and sin no more,” Jesus told her. God will give you the power to be the person he wants you to be.

I never wanted to be a religious person. I never wanted to be someone who went to church. But when Jesus started changing me, I said to God, “I don’t even know how to pray. But I will say this: if you are real, then you will have to make yourself real to me.” And he started changing me. He will start changing you too. You will see.

6 Responses to “Is It Possible to Change Ourselves?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    thank you so much, for your honesty.. i felt like i was reading my ouwn prayer to the Lord.. I feel exactly like you brother David Pike.I strugle everyday with Romans 7 as well.. Why do i do that which i dont want to do.onononon… Lord jesus Help us deliver us tonite. amen

  2. Walter Kubiak says:

    I can connect with what I am reading. I to am struggling. It seems to me that I am overly trying to please God. Going to extremes.It is hard for me to stay quiet sometimes. It is like I want to get a message out and yet it comes out not the way I want it to or people don’t understand because they have not experienced life the way I have.I have been known to stay silent out of anger. This is also said to be a sin. It seems to me that I continue to go back and forth on the sword of life. One blade to the next,not being able to find the center or the fine line. I feel that I will remain here until I do find the fine line which will bring me be fore God and yet I will still be imperfect.I am said to be Bi-polar which may explain the up and down and back and forth and yet I can use it for an excuse for my behavior in which I do not want to do. It is because I am a sinner \. Plain and simple. Just as I have been a drunk. I am now a recovering drunk.I will not sugar coat the fact and call myself an alcoholic and say that it is a disease. Now this is my way. Everyone has their own. What works for me may not work for another.We are all unique individuals. So I believe God finds a unique way of bringing about change or correction in our lives and yes someone does have a hand in it and what I read is Satan puts people in prison for correction. He is under Gods power and is only allowed to do what God allows him to do.It is my belief that the Lord loves us that much that he does use whatever means to correct us and some are corrected with the loving hand of God and yet some need a bit stricter discipline. They still make there own mind up weather they want to change or continue down the wrong path. Freedom.

  3. Deb says:

    Praying for you Pastor Greg…that you continue to preach God’s word as he leads you to do it. I pray that you stay strong in the Lord when social pressures or personal pressures or financial pressures try to change your resolve to speak the truth from God’s Holy word. God bless your ministry and protect you and your family as you continue to run the race and fight the fight!

  4. Melissa says:

    God has changed me. I am a sinner. I am building my relationship with Christ more and more each day. I love to read and sometimes I go to sleep and my eyes hurt from reading so much. But i want to learn all that i can about God. His love is love like Ive never known. Mr. Pike, a miracle happened, you submitted your comment!

  5. David Pike says:

    I dont know where to begin,first of all let me say this ,I know that I’m a sinner and I know that I need to have a personel relationship with God, I have been asking Jesus to change me for over 20 years. I believe in the Bible. Ive always been a somewhat shy individual so the thought of going to church and becoming part of a body of believers makes me fearful so I avoid church. I try to go though, but I havent been consistant so I rely on listening to kwave and watching all sorts of teachings usually by calvary chapel pastors on line. I also try reading my Bible but I usally just feel condemed when reading the Bible,'” The man I can never be”. For some reason even though I have asked Jesus to be my Lord And Savior,I feel like I’m not being sincere enough. I know I cant change myself .I listen to sermons saying that when God comes into your heart He changes you. I’m the same wicked person I’ve always been it disgusts me. Romans 7. I guess I might be expecting to much. For every passage I read that says I’m saved because I believe in Jesus Christ, I feel I find 10 that say I’m not. I dont believe in what I call easy believeism. I want to change but I’m waiting on him ,but I feel He’s waiting on me. I dont know how to surrender completely to GOD,I feel that would be a miracle. I have trouble with the word repent, like I’m capable. To end I would leave with an analogy of when I was 5 years old my Dad wanted to teach me to swim but I was frightened. At the edge of the pool I was standing as my Father was in the pool asking me to jump in his arms. i never found the courage. This is what I think about God , that even though I want everything He wants for me nothing is going to happen until I completley surrender. Revelation says ther will be no cowards in the Heaven. Is this me?
    If I actual submit this that would be a miracle.

    respectfully yours
    Dave

  6. David says:

    I know Jesus Christ saves – I am living proof. I also know there should be a warning label on my forehead that reads. I know what I should do – but I don’t do it, and the things I should not do – I do. – woe is me, struggle with laziness, and lose lips. I know he is my refuge and my strength. woe is me a sinner, wanting to please God; but oh how I fail each day. He has changed me. As I grow, I realize how I need the Lord more and more each day.

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