for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Have you ever tried to break a bad habit on your own? You probably found that when you tried to stop it by sheer willpower, you saw improvement for a while, and then bounced back to square one. Worse, you found yourself bringing on the very thing that you were trying not to do. And your condition is worse than before you started your “I’m going to quit” program!
The changes were temporary because it was you doing it.
A church member who had been a chain-smoker used to believe that with willpower, he could quit smoking. He would tell himself, “If there is a will, there is a way!” But he discovered that with willpower, he could stop smoking for a week or two, and then he would succumb to the pull of nicotine again.
When he turned his life over to God and learnt about God’s grace, he told God, “I realize that I cannot stop smoking. I cannot, but You can break my habit, Lord.” And every time he lit up, he would say, “Lord, I am trying to stop smoking, but I cannot. I am trusting You.” He would even say, “I am still righteous because of Jesus’ blood.”
Well, in the very same year, all his cravings to smoke vanished! When asked how he succeeded, he would say, “It is entirely God and none of me! It is all by His grace.” This man lost all the desire to smoke. That is true transformation.
When you receive the grace of God to do for you what you cannot do, you will experience effortless and permanent change on the inside, which in turn changes your actions on the outside. The Bible tells us that God works in us to give us both the will and ability to perform what He desires. It is God who removes the old want to’s and gives us new ones. And He even gives us the power to carry them out!
Beloved, look to His grace to do what you cannot do. Say, “Lord, I cannot, but You can!” Then, what you experience will not merely be behavior modification, but true and lasting inward transformation!
Thought for the Week
The Bible tells us that God works in us to give us both the will and ability to perform what He desires.